WiT-ACE (Women in Technology- Accelerated Career Experiences) on Thursday announced that it has raised $1 million as part of its first seed fund led by founders of CitiusTech. Other investors including CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra; Sumita Ambasta, Founder and Executive Director, Flowering Tree Inc.; Subodh Bhargava, Independent Director Chairman at Tata Communications and Wartsila India; Vikram Chachra, Founding partner, 8i Ventures; Sonny Iqbal, Partner and Co-leader, Family Business Practice at Egon Zehnder also participated in this round. Dexter Capital also supported WiT-ACE for this fund raise.
According to the company, this investment will be used by WiT-ACE to scale-up its tech platform as well as for its expansion and strategic partnerships.
Founded in 2018 by Anuranjita Kumar, WiT-ACE is a platform focused on increasing women participation in the STEM workforce. It has commenced work with over 100 companies to engage, enable, and employ women in decision making through their digital platform and virtual products in a short span of time.
Further, through its industry-governmental-academic partnerships, WiT-ACE is working closely to ensure policy and education impact in the industry.
Speaking about the new development, Anuranjita Kumar, Founder and CEO, WiT-ACE said,
“The 100+ clients engaged with over 200k women on the platform in less than 11 months in one of the toughest years for business, gives us a good grip of industry needs and the confidence to grow this organisation to the next phase of exponential growth. We are focused on progressive and measurable impact on bridging gender gaps, through skilling and employment that will lead the transformation.
“It is humbling to have partners who are mentors and industry torch bearers themselves; and we are confident their support will be the much-required springboard towards achieving our target of impacting 20 million women by 2025,” she further added.
Anuranjita Kumar is a well-known human resource veteran with over twenty-six years of experience working across the globe managing various assignments, including Citibank and the RBS Group. She has an extremely successful track record of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives across various organisations and geographies and is a well-known advocate of action in this space.
Commenting on the investment, Jagdish Moorjani, COO, CitiusTech, said,
“WiT-ACE has multiple tracks parallelly focused at developing women as front runners to lead organisations of tomorrow. Both Rizwan Koita and I believe the ‘gender-gap’ in multiple ways holds us back as a nation to achieve our full potential and this can be achieved only through consistent efforts that deliver measurable results. We see the potential and believe industry participation could really move the needle.”
“Any effort to correct gender gap needs to be measurable and sustainable, for which we need to tackle the real issues from the root level and further nurture an inclusive growth. I believe that technology has a great role to play in ensuring this, and the initiatives led by WiT-ACE in this regard are truly inspiring. I look forward to the next phase of their efforts towards enabling a gender-equal and inclusive future,” added CP Gurnani, CEO & MD Tech Mahindra.
Sumita Ambasta, Founder and Executive Director, Flowering Tree Inc. and Founder & Trustee, Plaksha, stated, “Female workforce participation in India has been declining from an already low 35 percent in 2010 to ~20 percent in 2020. At the executive level, women make up less than one percent of C-Suite executives. These facts reveal the immense work and potential ahead of an organisation like WiT-ACE. They have shown tremendous progress and impact in just a year and I look forward to partnering with them as they catalyse a workplace diversity revolution.”
The vision of WiT-ACE is to ensure at least 50 percent women in decision making roles. To achieve this goal, the focus is to strengthen the current weak talent pipeline in the industry through focused skilling for women at all stages. Through their focused endeavours, WIT-ACE hopes to halt the declining rates of professional women in workforce (currently 20 percent from 32 percent a decade back) and elevate the numbers pan India by infusing at least one million skilled women in the workforce over next four to five years.