A new record for Europe’s largest hackathon for women
12 September 2019 - Cathy Xiao Chen

The city of Stockholm is recognized as one of the most innovative and fastest-growing regions in the world. The home of climate activist Greta Thunberg and where 94% of citizens are connected to the internet, Sweden leads the Nordic countries and the world when it comes to achieving the sustainable development goals laid out by the UN. The current Swedish government has declared itself a feminist government that is devoted to a feminist foreign policy, and gender equality policies have been adopted long throughout the country’s history. But business industries are still male-dominated and the effect of unequal representation amongst decision-makers trickles down to influence the success of new businesses that are founded by women.


Invest Stockholm is a branch of Stockholm’s local municipal government that works closely with Stockholm’s companies and the startup ecosystem. Part of their mission is to promote the city as a European hub for innovation as well as being “A Woman’s Place”. This year, to kick off Sthlm Tech Week, Stockholm and 10 companies attempted to break the world record for the largest hackathon for women. Although the world record remains undefeated, over 800 participants traveled from around the world to join the 2-day event to set a new record for Europe and to co-create solutions to the challenges set by the event partners.


At the challenge-specific hackathon managed by Stephanie Mazzotta, 4 teams dedicated themselves to tackling the challenge of gender bias that results in less than 2% of venture capital being invested toward female-led companies. At Invest Stockholm, Impact Hub Stockholm’s Head of Operations, Cathy Xiao Chen and Program Manager, Steven Luna mentored the groups together with founders Lauri Robbins EricsonNaimul Abd and Charlotte Boij. The top team was selected by Karin Ruiz, Business Coach at STING; Elisabet Ålander, Investment Manager at Bonnier Ventures; Kina Zeidler, freelance journalist and author of “Det Svenska Techundret”; and Ariane Pousette, Project Manager Startups at Invest Stockholm.


Creating a space for women to come together and solve any problem is one of the most powerful things we can do, because it acknowledges something many of us have known – women create solutions that matter. Not just for ourselves, but for the greater good – our families, our communities, our planet.

– Lauri Robbins Ericson, Founder of Lauri.co and Girls First

The solutions:

1. OddsBusters

A roleplaying game to help female entrepreneurs to level up, play big and win big. Bias leads investors to ask men how they will achieve while they ask women how they will avoid losing. This RPG teaches female entrepreneurs to level the playing field by putting a positive spin on negative questioning. It’s estimated that achieving gender equality in business will add 12 trillion US dollars to the global economy. The pilot will be tested at Impact Hub Stockholm and will then be rolled out as an online version and SAAS platform.

2. Femquity

Less than 1% of investment goes to female entrepreneurs while female entrepreneurs generate 20% more revenue with 50% less capital when compared to their male counterparts. Femquity is recruiting Venture Capitalists to mentor female founders for a period of 6 months to provide the opportunity for women to expand their business networks and increase their industry knowledge. The most committed mentors are awarded each year.

3. A Woman’s Place

A PR company with a social conscience that promotes female-founded companies to elevate women in business. The company wants to find and promote female-led unicorns with the aim of normalising successful female-led ventures.

4. FundHer

A smart AI platform where new female entrepreneurs can access online coaching to help them launch successful ventures. AI diagnostics are used to determine their knowledge stage, and coaching covers ideation and market validation. Female-founded ventures that are investment-ready are matched with investors.

Keep reading to find out more about Europe’s largest hackathon for women – Invest Stockholm



Cathy Xiao Chen is the Head of Operations at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a passion for supporting social impact, she advises and connects changemakers with collaborators to maximise impact.