Women don’t belong in tech, said my elementary school teacher when I wanted to stay in the class, playing on the computer while others went to have a break.
It was the first time I heard such a thing but after that it began to be a bit too familiar.
Women don’t belong in tech, said also my childhood friend’s mother at a school disco where I wanted to play Tomb Raider instead of dancing. And my relatives when I told them what I want to do when I grow up. And my college teacher when I (again) chose to spend my break on a computer, choosing tech instead of the people of a small town I grew up in and I didn’t really get along with. And the worker of the entrepreneurship office when I was founding my first company. And the older gentlemen on a cruise for young entrepreneurs. And the potential clients when I tried to sell the services of my first two, later failed agencies. And the investor who invited all the other (male) co-founders of my startup to spend time with him. And a handful of potential dates of the local LGBTQ+ community.
Where do I belong then?
And what if I just really feel like I belong in tech?
It took over 20 years plus taking a local startup’s revenue up to 13M€ in 2 years while employing over 800 people, building a over 1M€ agency business with 15 employees, joining a VC, purchasing a Porsche and going to therapy for 10 years to validate my self-worth after being told for years I don’t belong in somewhere where I naturally feel like I belong.
I belong in tech and so do you.
I’ve been in tech for over 20 years and I’ve seen it’s possibilities of a flexible career, self-expression and financial independence for women.
That’s why I’m on a mission to make tech more accessible for women.
So far I’ve trained 90 individuals (mostly immigrant women) with an employment rate of 92% to access tech by building a training program at the VC fund I work at.
Now is time to train and employ 100,000 women.
Herizon is an experimental innovation community aiming to launch an NFT and build a non-profit DAO to unlock inclusive real-life opportunities in tech.
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Who is Mari Luukkainen, founder of Herizon?
I'm nowadays living in Helsinki, Finland, in a 100 years-old wooden house with my partner, dog and 2 cats. Working full-time at Icebreaker.vc and as an advisor of my growth hacking agency Truly, helping early-stage startup founders to achieve their dreams to create more meaningful, inclusive jobs in tech. Coping years with the low self-worth, I've identified that helping others is one of the key drivers of my own wellbeing. I also enjoy making Neapolitan style pizza, playing FPS games on Playstation and drawing/writing fiction inspired by Cyberpunk.
More at mariluukkainen.fi