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Inspirational stories of the world’s top women investors

Successful investors such as Warren Buffett have attracted an almost fanatical following. But women are just as trailblazing as their male counterparts, despite having even more obstacles to overcome.

6 min read

As a 100% mobile bank, we know that meaningful change really happens when norms are challenged. For us, this expands beyond the banking sector and into all walks of life—including investing. Well-known investors like Warren Buffet are internationally respected, but many of us don’t know about all the successful women investors across the globe. That’s something we want to change. In this article, we’ll introduce eight women investors who wear the pants when it comes to investing. Prepare to be inspired! 

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So, what’s an investor anyway?

First things first: what exactly constitutes an investor? You’ve probably heard of investment products such as funds, stocks, and cryptocurrencies. Many individuals and companies invest in these products to earn high returns. However, money doesn’t just grow in the capital market, but also in corporate investments (Unternehmensbeteiligungen in German). Founders need capital to develop their products and successfully bring them to market. Promising startups often receive financial support from venture capital firms or from individuals—referred to as “business angels”—who are hoping to secure a high return on their investment later on. Investors put up the necessary funds and, in return, expect to collect a share of the company’s profits—if all goes well, that is. After all, there’s a reason why they call it “venture capital”! 

In this way, investors need to be gutsy enough to pin their hopes—and a huge portion of their assets—on new ideas that might become successful. Of course, as shareholders, they do have a say in what decisions the company takes. Traditionally, men have taken on these advisory and investor roles—but there are many more women investors than you may think. 

Famous women investors—past and present

It takes courage to go your own way, and these female pioneers belong to the most successful investors in the world. 

Viola Turner

Viola Turner got her start as an employee at North Carolina Mutual Insurance (NCMI) in 1920. Later, she managed the company’s investment portfolio, and in 1957, became the first woman and first African American woman to hold the role of Vice President of NCMI. Initially the subject of ridicule and scorn by her male colleagues, Viola proved that a smart investment is, above all, a well-researched investment. 

Geraldine Weiss

Geraldine Weiss knew a lot about finance, but no company would hire her as an investment consultant. Why? Simply because she was a woman. So, in 1966 in the USA, she founded the newsletter Investment Quality Trends and signed it with the initial ‘G.’ Of course, no one suspected that a woman was behind this groundbreaking, intelligent investment strategy. It was only in 1977 that the dividend specialist revealed her true identity. She continued to work until 2002 as a successful author and investor. 

Lubna Olayan

Lubna Olayan worked as a financial analyst in New York from 1979 to 1981, when she joined the family-owned investment company Olayan Financing Company (OFC). Olayan was manager of OFC until 2019. After that, she became the first Saudi-Arabian woman to run the Saudi British Bank—and those are just two of her professional milestones. It’s no wonder that this financier was named one of the most powerful women in the world by both Time Magazine and Forbes. 

Cathie Wood 

The daughter of Irish immigrants to America, Catherine Wood graduated summa cum laude in California and worked for 18 years as a portfolio manager, analyst, and manager at Jennison Associates. In 2014, she founded Cathie Wood Ark Invest and achieved massive success. Forbes named her one of the 50 most successful women under 50, and one of her mutual funds belongs to the 10 most successful women-founded funds by total net assets. 

Young women investors you need to know about

There’s no doubt that the road to gender parity is long. However, since the 1920s, there have been lots of meaningful cracks in the glass ceiling. Today, there are more young female investors than ever before, including Helena Torras, Celine Lazorthes, and Depaali Nangia. In the German-speaking world, there’s Judith Dada, Verena Pausder, Laura Grimmelmann, Conny Hörl, Christiane Holzinger, and Sophia Thomalla. Read on to learn about how these ladies become some of Europe’s most successful investors.  

Judith Dada

Judith Dada is an investor by trade. The Munich native studied at the Ludwig Maximilians University and at Oxford before working as a solutions manager at Facebook. Her original goal was to found a company of her own, until she met founder Dr. Jeanette zu Fürstenberg and joined La Famiglia, a venture capital fund for innovative, early-stage tech startups. Today, Judith Dada is the company’s co-manager and partner. 

Sophia Thomalla

For Sophia Thomalla, becoming an investor wasn’t an obvious choice. The Berlin actress and moderator was asked by the startup Schüttflix if she’d like to act as the face of their brand. But Thomalla saw great potential in the app and decided to become an investor herself, acquiring a high amount of shares for a six-figure sum.

Laura Grimmelmann

Laura Grimmelmann studied business in London, working as a model on the side.Then, she founded her own startup, eventually moving to the venture capital firm Accel—which has backed companies like Facebook, Spotify, and Dropbox. As a board member, Grimmelmann is particularly in tune with financial insights and trends. She’s also committed to inspiring other women to venture into the world of finance. 

Christiane Holzinger

Christiane Holzinger, certified accountant from Kärnten, has been the managing director of Steuerberatungskanzlei 360° Business Planner. In addition, she’s the co-partner and managing director of Start-up Stars, a company helping female founders in Austria with everything from business plans to financial consulting. Though she doesn’t invest money herself, Holzinger belongs to a large network of investors. 

How to connect with women investors

Speaking of networks, if you’re considering becoming an investor or are looking for capital for a project, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with like-minded women. There are loads of organizations dedicated to connecting women entrepreneurs, imparting knowledge, and offering support. Here are a few examples: 

  • Encourage Ventures is an investor network where women can support other women with expertise and capital.  
  • Investorinnen.com is a Vienna-based non-profit platform where founders and investors can connect and share. 
  • The Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen connects business angels, founders, and other interested parties through regular events. 

There are also many women finance experts/de-de/blog/8-spannende-finanzexpertinnen who offer fascinating facts and helpful tips for getting started in the industry. 

N26 study: women as successful investors, regardless of budget

Well-known investors often need to manage fairly large budgets. Many of us don’t have access to this kind of money, though, especially women, who are particularly disadvantaged financially due to the Gender Pay Gap. But don’t be discouraged! We surveyed thousands of women in five European countries to find out why they invest. Learn what we found here

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At N26, we want to support you in your financial goals—whatever they are. With our 100% mobile bank account, you can manage and save money with ease. Thanks to N26 Insights, you’ll always know where your money is going. Plus, you can set withdrawal and spending limits to keep tabs on your spending. 

With one of our premium accounts, you’ll also get up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts. Open a new Space in seconds—name it “investments” for example—and easily drag and drop your money. Want to automate your savings? Try Rules or Income Sorter to send a dedicated amount to your Spaces every month. And our Round-Ups feature helps you save even faster by rounding up your spare change to the nearest euro every time you spend—you’d be surprised how quickly it adds up! With all these features, you’ll be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your finances. Find the account that fits you best and get started today. 

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