SINCE 2012

TALLINN, EST: MAY 21-23, 2025

Manifesto for allyship with Estonian founders and investors – as read at Latitude59 2024 by Triin Kask


Research after research shows that gender-diverse leadership teams are more efficient and profitable. A better world requires the involvement of all stakeholders. We have seen the statistic that female-only founded startups raise just 2% of all capital raised worldwide. Although it is worrisome, it is also misleading and distracts from the progress made by mixed-gender founding teams. Notably, nearly 20% of VC capital goes to startups with a female co-founder. 

In Estonia, the ratio of investments to female-only and mixed founding teams is close to 18%, proportional to the number of female founders. However, the percentage of reported female investment committee members in Baltic funds is only 8.9%. Thus, to realize the full potential of performance growth, we need to see more gender-diverse founding teams and investment boards

There are not enough women in executive positions in startups and VC funds. Therefore, we, founders and investors, commit to stepping up our game to realize the business potential that gender diversity brings along:

  1. We stand for gender diversity on our management boards and work towards spreading decision-making power equally. 

  2. We include female candidates in the shortlists for open leadership positions and encourage inviting more women as cofounders.

  3. We ask all companies to collect data on hiring, people retention, decision-making, and strategic planning and apply a gender lens to their analysis.

Committing to this manifesto doesn’t require complicated systems. You only need to do these five things consistently: 

  1. When you start a company or your VC fund, ensure you have a gender-diverse co-founding or partner team.

  2. When you hire for leadership roles, ensure your communication and hiring process is gender unbiased and serves the goal of having a gender-diverse leadership team.

  3. When you lack women candidates, take extra steps to invite women to apply.

  4. Promote women to leadership and decision-making positions in your organization. 

  5. Gather data to track the progress of your organization’s diversity actions. 

The creation of this manifesto has been a realization of true allyship. Thank you to:

  • Kaari Kink from EstVCA, 
  • Margus Uudam & Linda Võeras from Karma VC, 
  • Row Knapp from Nordic Ninja VC, 
  • Kaidi Ruusalepp from Funderbeam, 
  • Sten Tamkivi from Plural, 
  • Liisi Org from Latitude59,
  • Heleriin Adelbert, Age Petter & Triin Preem from Swedbank,
  • Cathy White from CEW Communications.

Special thanks to Megan Riley for introducing us to the concept of allyship that now serves as a strong foundation of this manifesto. And many other people have helped to bring this moment into reality. Thank you!

We invite everybody to join forces with us, take action, and make true prosperity a reality.

This manifesto was presented on the main stage at Latitude59 2024 on May 23 by Triin Kask.

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