F-LANE: meet the tech start-ups working to empower women through tech

Nine start-ups focused on empowering women through technology are preparing to present and engage in an interactive session with business leaders, entrepreneurs, mentors and impact investors as the 2020 edition of Vodafone Institute’s F-LANE accelerator comes to a close in November.

F-LANE is the first start-up accelerator in Europe which focuses on supporting early-stage businesses using technology to empower women around the world. The accelerator was launched by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications in 2016 and has supported around 30 female-focused businesses in the time since.

Inger Paus, Managing Director of the Vodafone Institute said: “Our research has shown just how enormous the underrepresentation of female founders is in the tech sector worldwide and their lack of access to venture capital. We launched F-LANE to support social business models which have the potential to change the economic opportunities, wellbeing and future prospects of girls and women globally.”

F-LANE has operated virtually for the first time this year, enabling the Vodafone Institute to increase the regional scope and diversity of social businesses participating on the programme.  More than 450 social start-ups from more than 80 countries applied for a place on the accelerator.

Since the beginning of September those nine social-impact start-ups have received personalised support by dedicated Vodafone mentors and industry experts, bespoke training programmes and access to networking opportunities with impact investors.

Julia Ebert, programme lead of F-LANE Accelerator at the Vodafone Institute commented: “The virtual program structure has also shown great potential.  The set-up is even more inclusive and we have seen a broader diversity of participants, with start-ups covering a large geographical range and founders arriving with different life situations.”

On November 5, the F-LANE community will participate in a virtual closing ceremony, with interactive start-up sessions in which the participants can engage with each other and industry experts.  Lisa Witter, serial entrepreneur, co-founder of Apolitical and a member of the F-LANE advisory board will also take the virtual stage as a keynote speaker.

If you would be interesting in joining the event, you can register for a place here.

Scroll down to read our short guide to this year’s F-LANE start-ups.


Akojo Market

HQ: United Kingdom

Founder(s): Natasha Buchler and Annie Rudnick

LinkedIn: @AkojoMarket

Akojo Market is an online retailer championing African designers and independent fashion, accessories and homeware brands (mostly female-founded) which operate sustainable processes and business models.


HQ: United Kingdom

Founder(s): Inas Ismail

LinkedIn: @Autsera

Twitter: @autsera

Autsera creates affordable ed-tech tools, blending games with social skills training, to help autistic children develop the skills needed to become independent, confident and engaged adults.

Bidhaa Sasa

HQ: Kenya

Founder(s): Rocio Perez Ochoa and David Disch

LinkedIn: @BidhaaSasa

Twitter: @BidhaaSasa

Bidhaa Sasa is a last mile distribution company that makes household goods accessible and affordable to women in rural Kenya. It leverages existing social networks among women to distribute technologies such as solar lamps, clean cooking devices and agricultural equipment quickly and cheaply.


HQ: Denmark

Founder(s) by: Sofie Blakstad and Matt Mims

LinkedIn: @hiveonline

Twitter: @wearehiveonline

hiveonline is a community finance platform that enables financially excluded entrepreneurs – primarily women in rural Africa – to gain access to credit and new markets. The platform is built with blockchain technology.

Mete a Colher

HQ: Brazil

Founder(s): Renata Albertim

LinkedIn: @MeteaColher

Twitter: @appmeteacolher

Mete a Colher is a technology start-up working to tackle violence against women. Its webchat platform, Tina, enables corporate organisations to provide their employees with access to anonymous support from psychologists and social workers if they experience violence at home.

Nabta Health

HQ: United Arab Emirates

Founder(s): Sophie Smith, Saba Alzabin, PhD and Dr. Mussaad Al-Razouki

LinkedIn: @NabtaHealth Twitter: @NabtaHealth

Nabta Health is hybrid healthcare company combining digital and traditional methods to improve the health outcomes for women in the identification and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder responsible for 70% of female fertility issues. Its services include virtual medical consultations and a machine learning-driven personal assistant named Aya.

Proyecto MOMS

HQ: Chile

Founder(s): Cristina Muñoz and Belen Muñoz

LinkedIn: @ProyectoMOMS

Twitter: @ProyectoMOMS

Proyecto MOMS is a platform that helps connect women with flexible job opportunities and seeks to empower women to return to their careers after becoming a mother. The recruitment platform also uses an algorithm to help corporates quickly identify the best talent for positions they’re recruiting for.


HQ: Pakistan

Founder(s): Hira Rizvi

LinkedIn: @SheKabPakistan

Twitter: @shekabpk

She’Kab is a carpooling app designed to enable professional women to travel freely and safely in Pakistan.


HQ: Uganda

Founder(s): Sarah Atuhaire Baryaija

Twitter: @UgandaZoora

Zoora is a digital platform which provides access to training, credit and financial record keeping tools for members of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Uganda.