Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

Women and tech: it’s time the relationship blossoms

Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

Article by Pip Wilson, co-founder and CEO of amicable

Amazon, Zoom, Netflix and Apple – they’re not only some of the world’s most well-known brands, but they’re also major players in the tech industry. An industry that, since the dot-com bubble, has picked itself up and grown – massively.

Its growth has led to a new generation of tech entrepreneurs who’ve disrupted how people live. Payal Kadakia, founder of Classpass, changed how people exercise and Whitney Wolf Herd, founder of dating app Bumble, revolutionised the dating world.

Although these examples remain inspirational, women in the tech world remain a minority. Currently, just 26 per cent of people working in tech are women – as the industry continues to grow, focus needs to shift as to how we can encourage more to enter the sector.

Why do we need more women in the sector?

With women making up over 50 per cent of the world’s population, the tech sector would only benefit from having more women in the space. An industry that mirrors the population will be one that better meets its needs. It makes little sense for men to be solving issues that are exclusive to women – it should be women creating the solutions. Furthermore, with 80 percent of all consumer purchases being made or influenced by women, if tech companies wish to succeed, having women at the heart of tech decisions will likely drive commercial success as they’ll better understand what drives women’s decisions.

Barriers women in tech face

There are fundamental challenges from an early age that impact a women’s ability to enter the tech industry. Girls, compared to boys, are less likely to be encouraged to pursue computer science at school. This lack of encouragement and education explains why young women account for just 17 per cent of A-level entrants in IT subjects. Shockingly, this leads to just three per cent of women saying a career in tech would be their first choice.

One way to reverse this trend is through mandatory GCSE computer science. This allows women to trial the subject from an early age. It makes little sense for girls to be discouraged from computer science as any female graduate currently has her pick of jobs in the industry.

While the education system plays a part, the workplace also needs to attract more women into the sector. This could be done by widening the application requirement. Rather than insisting on specific degrees, businesses could invest in more on-the-job training and development programmes, such as coding workshops to expose women to more technical roles. Companies need to acknowledge the benefits of investing in technical training for women.

Funding Gap limiting opportunity

A crucial challenge for many female-led tech entrepreneurs is securing enough funding to continue to grow. There is currently a huge funding gap which needs to be dismantled. Only 2 per cent of funding goes to female founded companies which is incredibly dispiriting for any trailblazing women entrepreneurs in tech. Though investors are still willing to back female-led businesses – amicable recently completed a funding round rising £1.2m – challenges still remain. More female founders need to feel confident that private equity and venture capitalist firms are on their side and looking to help female entrepreneurs in the space.

While these conscious changes will all encourage more women to enter the industry, one change that isn’t needed is the tech industry’s flexibility offering. Tech allows people to work from anywhere, meaning women in tech are in a better position to balance both work and home responsibilities more effectively. Companies such as Digital Mums teach new mums technical marketing skills, allowing them to build a new flexible career in the tech industry, post-baby.

The tech sector continues to build momentum and it’s time we work to ensure women are not left behind. Whether it’s making GCSE in computer science mandatory, encouraging more investment in female founded companies or even positioning tech as the sector where women can have it all, its time women saw the tech industry as a very attractive one to be a part of.


woman in tech working on a laptop, online

How amicable is using technology to revolutionise the divorce process

Article by Pip Wilson, co-founder of amicable

woman in tech working on a laptop, onlineThe legal sector in the UK has been largely undisrupted by tech until recent years.

And whilst there’s been great strides recently, LawTech is still way behind other sectors like FinTech, FoodTech and HealthTech which have become booming areas of growth. Research from the Law Society shows that Investments into legal technology companies stand at just over $900million globally. The majority of Legal Tech companies serve business to business and in-house purposes for things like legal analysis, case and document management, but consumer facing legal technology companies, such as amicable, have started to gain rapid traction.

My co-founder and I were shocked at how little change and innovation had taken place to improve the divorce process for people. The legal system for separating in the UK is severely outdated. For years, the practice of hiring two separate divorce lawyers was the only option on the table. This route has also proven, too many times, to be financially and emotionally draining for couples, families and society as a whole. The blame game, the arduous meetings, the lengthy paperwork and paying individual lawyers all added up.

A different approach was needed; couples wanted a better way to divorce and separate that didn’t cost the earth of their subsequent relationship with each other. Our solution is amicable. amicable harnesses a unique combination of psychology (the all-important human touch) with the power of technology to take the sting out of separating.

Legal support is expensive and sadly for many people, simply unaffordable. By using technology, amicable has made  the cost of entry for customers manageable without skimping on the quality of service. Automation technology has reduced the cost to the customer and time spent on administrative tasks, this means our coaches are able to focus on guiding couples through the logistical and emotional journey of separating and transitioning from parents to co-parents.

Affordability

The financial implications of divorce are incredibly daunting. The archaic process of legal separation can add up – with couples spending up to £40,000 each to get divorced through the courts . Using technology can significantly reduce costs and easing the financial strain can alleviate anxiety and help prevent arguments from an early stage. Employing technology has also allowed us to offer customers a flat rate to support with financial and childcare arrangements, as well as legalising the split. By harnessing technology that reduces unnecessary overheads and automates what can be monotonous and expensive tasks, we’re able to offer an affordable alternative.

Accessibility

The pandemic has proven to us all that we don’t need to be together in order to make things happen.

amicable’s meetings between a customer and their Divorce Coach has always taken place online or over the phone, even before the pandemic. It has proven to be just, if not more effective, than face to face meetings. Separating is a highly emotive time and the option to log in from wherever you feel most comfortable, perhaps in a different location to your ex, can take some of the tension out of difficult conversations around separating money and childcare arrangements.

amicable’s customer dashboard was built to provide real time notifications into the status of the divorce, as well as clear next steps and estimated timeframes. This reduces uncertainty and keeps our customers in the loop, every step of the way.

Human centric

The technology/product designer mindset starts with the customer’s needs and works back from there. We adopted this approach when creating amicable’s technology as most people want to stay on good terms with their ex, sort the legalities and logistics properly and keep costs low. So, we started there and created technology and a business model that supported people with their wish to separate amicably.

Striking a careful balance between the employment of legal tech and the human touch is vital in ensuring a successful separation. After all, divorce is a complex, emotional experience which requires human input.

amicable’s tech has been built with people at its centre – it considers and understands the emotional path people embark upon when separating. Even the AI driven chatbot understands emotional readiness. If someone engages and is unsure about whether they’re ready to separate, they’ll be directed to counselling rather than being sold one of our services.

In response to our customers feedback on what technology they want and need when separating, we created the amicable co-parenting app. The app aims to reduce conflict and confusion and allow co-parents more time to focus on what's important - their children. The app combines tools and advice to make co-parenting simpler, like a shared co-parenting calendar, goal setting and a secure private messaging function. The app also allows users to book time with a co-parenting coach to troubleshoot and work through co-parenting issues.

The future of divorce

The digitalised approach to separating is becoming the norm. At amicable, our customer base has increased by 400% in just two and half years. Although we are leading the way in regards to introducing technology into the divorce process, we don’t believe it will ever fully replace the need for an amicable coach who provides the all-important human support. Both hold equal importance and make for a highly effective route to separate.

Covid-19 has been a catalyst for the uptake in couples using technology to divorce online. We have all been thrusted into the online world. This has accelerated the switch from high street lawyers to online alternatives like amicable. Legal technology and the divorce and separation process will only become more entwined as people experience the benefits of digitalising their divorce, both emotionally and financially.


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Inspirational Woman: Pip Wilson | Tech Investor, Start-Up Mentor & Co-Founder, amicable

Pip WilsonPip Wilson is a tech investor, start-up mentor and co-founder of, amicable, a lawyer free digital divorce service that facilitates harmonious separation without the extortionate legal costs.

Since its launch in 2015, amicable has become a high growth tech-start up disrupting the divorce law sector and changing the process of divorce with a method that reduces conflict and acrimony by focusing on the couple’s future and what’s best for the entire family.

Pip has a huge passion for technology and investing in businesses that want to solve social and commercial issues. She lives and breathes her ‘investment formula’ which involves only investing in businesses that have diverse boards and operate with social purpose at its core.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Since the moment I graduated from university, I knew wanted to create something new and innovative. I worked for a big company initially, then a smaller one and in my late twenties co-founded IT consultancy, Bluefin Solutions, which we finally exited six years ago.

Once I sold Bluefin in 2015, I went on to co-found lawyer-free divorce service amicable, a company that has disrupted the family law sector and helped thousands of couples to divorce, separate and co-parent in a better, kinder way that doesn’t cost the earth. Creating amicable fulfilled my desire to create something new and innovative that is improving people’s lives and helping them through one of the most stressful life moments

The traditional route to separate is for a couple to hire separate lawyers to represent each of their needs. Of course, conflict is bound to happen when you have two people fighting for their own best-case scenario. amicable exists to provide an  alternative way to divorce and separate that enables couples to avoid acrimony, extortionate legal fees. By harnessing the power of technology, removing the ‘my lawyer vs your lawyer’ approach and prioritising the emotional journey, we make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

Additionally I’ve been an active angel investor for the last six years. I’m especially interested in start-ups that have a social purpose and clear financial model with growth potential. My previous investments include mental health start-up Sanctus, Ohne, who send organic, mail-order period products and Juggle Jobs, who help businesses find diverse and flexible talent.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really, no! After studying Maths at university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, although being entrepreneurial always appealed and I knew I loved the challenge of solving problems.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I am constantly having to overcome new challenges – they keep me on my toes and excited about my career and what new opportunities are around the corner.

The biggest challenge I regularly face is being incredibly busy, and I can often build up a workload that can easily become unmanageable if I ignore it. I ask myself how I can adapt to make the situation more sustainable and have learnt to evolve, whether that’s bringing in additional talent or introducing new processes. The key is to not panic or overthink. Break it down into digestible chunks and deal with each part individually.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Seeing the people who have worked for me or alongside me to go on to do great things.

When I owned my consultancy, we set up a new graduate programme and took on around six or seven graduates a year of different genders and backgrounds as we felt this was crucial for the future growth of the company.

We were able to teach the grads how to fulfil technical roles and helped develop them into successful young professionals. Many of them have gone on to secure senior roles and done really well at their career

I really believe in the philosophy of giving people the opportunity to succeed. we’ve actively fostering this culture at amicable, where we’ve hired people at all levels who show real potential and a strong work ethic.

I feel a genuine sense of achievement knowing I have been a part of someone’s personal career journey and that I’ve contributed to their learning and development.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’ve never been afraid of decision making. This was instilled in me early on when I was put in a leadership position in my first role straight out of university. Despite having no prior managerial experience, I found myself in charge of a team of 12 who reported directly to me. It’s safe to say I quickly learnt how to be a decisive leader.

Too many people fear making mistakes when it comes to decision making. Not all my decisions have been the right ones, but in those cases, I’ve learnt invaluable lessons which I’ve carried forward in my career.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Always be curious, possess the desire to learn, and be open to new experiences. Boredom halts progression and leaves you demotivated.It’s impossible to excel if you’re comfortable with the status quo.

My advice would be to seek out ways to stretch and challenge yourself. Be eager to try something new that pushes you outside of your comfort zone and scares you a little. Be as proactive as possible and ask for ways to get involved. Very few people regret giving something a go.

It’s also important to use your voice and never assume you’re too junior to make a difference. Everyone can make a difference and good ideas are borne out of a collaborative environment.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Absolutely! Employers say they “want” women, however only 10 per cent of computer graduates are female. I think it begins at school – girls aren’t encouraged enough to explore subjects like computer sciences, and often discount them. If GCSE computer science was mandatory for all, I think we’d see an uptick in young females choosing to go on and study the subject at A Level and university.

While the number of female role models within tech has increased, there still aren’t enough of us. Young girls don’t see successful female entrepreneurs or computer scientists being championed enough in the media. We need to curate this new generation of talent and profile more inspirational females working in the tech sector to inspire the younger members of our society.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Funding. The treasury reported a few years ago that female entrepreneurs receive 157 times less funding than men. The pandemic has widened this gap even further. Moving forward, we need to channel resource into female-led start-ups and ensuring that VC firms have an equal representation of female partners to encourage investment in female-founded startups receiving more financial backing.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Unsurprisingly, I listen to the ‘She Talks Tech’ podcast by We Are Tech Women. The episode with Sonya Barlow discussing how to encourage more young girls to pursue a career in STEM is definitely worth a listen.

Angel Academy and Blooming Founders newsletters are particularly good at promoting female-backed startups, and offer advice and guidance to businesswomen who are looking to raise funding.

In terms of women working in tech, I have a lot of admiration for Emma Sinclair. She was the youngest person to IPO a company and closed a large funding round with a 50/ 50 split of male and female investors.


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