Friday 30 July 2021 10:03 am

More IPO leaders called Steve than female led ones

Female founded IPOs have accounted for 3.6 per cent of all IPOs since 2016, according to new research.

The data, which reviewed the last five years of IPO activity, showed that out of the 276 companies that went public on the London Stock Exchange between 2016 and 2020 – just ten were led by a female CEO or founder.

The research, released this week, found that there were more men named Steve or Stephen leading IPOs, than women during the four year period.

Female founded or led IPOS also raised £10m less on average than their male counterparts. Since 2016 female CEOs were found to have raised around £59m on average compared with £69.5m raised by male headed IPOs.

While the figures were less than encouraging, the research pointed to a bleaker outlook still in the US, where there were just 12 female-led IPOs out of over 1,200 – equivalent to 1 per cent of the total IPOs between 2016 – 2020.

The latest figures for 2021 though give reason for cautious optimism. Four female founders have already been seen this year out of 37 IPOs.

IPO activity has fluctuated over the last five years with a surge in 2017 followed by sharp drops but the capital raised for each IPO has been increasing, according to the data. The average IPO fundraise for 2021 so far is around £70m, compared to £56m in 2016.

Nigel Frith, lead analyst at AskTraders – who conducted the research – said the findings brought the topic of women in business under the spotlight again: “Why aren’t more female-led businesses going public? And is there a reason why the ones that do are struggling to achieve the investment of their male counterparts? These are among the issues that the business community needs to address. But for now, it’s great to see more female founder-CEOs helping to power the increase in IPOs in 2021.”

Frith predicted a “bumper year” ahead with fintechs like Wise, Starling – a female founded company – and BrewDog garnering lots of interest and following an “unusual” last five years for IPOs.

AskTraders’s data excluded companies that went public with a female CEO who was not an original founder.

UK IPOs included in the research include all AIM and Main market listings, by UK companies, according to LSE data.