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10 CEE Female Partners Shaping Global VC Landscape

10 women on purple background
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In the dynamic world of Western Venture Capital, a group of women from CEE is leaving a mark. From the bustling streets of Silicon Valley to the financial hub of London, these professionals are supporting the next big tech startups. With diverse backgrounds and experiences, each woman brings a unique perspective to the table, demonstrating professionalism that transcends geographical boundaries.

From early-stage investments to corporate development, their stories reflect the valuable talent emanating from the CEE region. In alphabetical order and split between the UK and the USA, the women contributing to the change are:

The UK

🇸🇰 Andrea Zitna

Andrea is a Partner at the London office of Speedinvest, a venture capital fund with more than €1B to invest in pre-seed, Seed, and early-stage tech startups across Europe. She is a seasoned business developer turned investor at Speedinvest, focusing on Health. She’s passionate about innovative businesses that challenge taboos in healthcare.

Before Speedinvest, Andrea was the Chief Revenue Officer at Elvie, a leading Femtech brand. She played a key role in scaling the company from pre-revenue startup to a post-Series C business targeting $100 million in sales in 2021. Her vision emphasizes technology’s transformative impact on healthcare accessibility and outcomes, envisioning a future of inclusive, personalized, and preventative care anytime, anywhere.

🇷🇴 Irina Elena Haivas

Irina is a Partner at the UK-based Atomico, a VC fund investing in technology companies at the earliest stages through to IPO, with a particular focus on Europe. With a focus on investments in AI, software, and infrastructure, she is on the lookout for bold, mission-driven, and product-obsessed founders, with undeniable clarity of thought.

Before joining Atomico in 2018, she developed skills in international policy and economics and grew as a Principal at GHO Capital Partners LLP for three years. Currently, she is a board member and investor in projects like Mapillary, Kheiron Medical, Healx, accuRx, Digitail, Y42, NFTPort, and Qatalog. You can learn more about Irina in our video interview.

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🇷🇴 Luciana Lixandru

Luciana is Sequoia’s European Partner. Sequoia is an American VC firm specializing in seed-stage, early-stage, and growth-stage investments in tech startups. With vast experience within the investment sector, Luciana led Series A & B for Romania’s unicorn, UiPath, but also Miro, Deliveroo, Tessian, and others. Before Sequoia, she was a partner at the venture capital firm Accel for 8 years.

🇧🇬 Mina Mutafchieva Van Ingelgem

Mina Mutafchieva Van Ingelgem is a Partner at Dawn Capital, a London-based early-stage venture fund focusing on B2B software. As she told The Recursive in a previous interview, she has led investments of over €75M in the likes of Eigen Technologies, AccessFintech, LeanIX, and CluedIn, and manages VC and entrepreneur relationships in the Nordic markets. Her targets have been data analytics, fintech, and the future of work sectors.

Mina brings 10 years of experience from strategy consulting at McKinsey and growth private equity at Palamon Capital and specializes in enterprise sales and strategy.

USA

🇧🇬 Dafina Toncheva

Dafina is a General Partner in the U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. She focuses on emerging technologies in the enterprise, especially Enterprise SaaS applications, and security. 

She leads investments and sits on the boards of various early-stage software companies, including Arkose Labs, Carrot Fertility, Luma Health, Percepto, Raken, and Xant. Dafina previously worked at Microsoft in development and product management, focusing on authentication systems, digital signatures, and business workflow. 

🇸🇰 Jana Iris 

Jana is an investor at the US-based TQ Ventures, an investment firm that focuses on early-stage and growth-stage companies and is industry agnostic. She’s a pro at building communities and has done this at six early-stage startups including Engine Yard, New Relic, and HashiCorp. In early 2023 she made the switch to investing full-time at TQ Ventures and advising companies including Spacelift, Charm, Fermyon Technologies, and CloudQuery. 

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🇺🇦 Marianna Bonechi 

Mariana is the Managing Partner of Slava Venture, a Silicon Valley-based pre-seed and seed stage fund investing in Ukrainian teams, but also of Avy Ventures. Marianna brings over 14 years of corporate development and M&A experience in the TMT sector across New York, Vienna, and CEE. Transitioning to Silicon Valley, she became a founder and an early-stage investor in Ukrainian AI and deep tech companies.

🇧🇬 Milena Bogdanova Bursztyn

Milena is a versatile venture investor and startup advisor based in Los Angeles. With Portfolia, she invests in tech-driven companies to improve how America’s food is created, produced, packaged, delivered, and shared. With Newtype Ventures, she invests at Pre-Seed and Seed in founding teams with at least one underrepresented minority founder.

Milena has extensive experience driving growth for digital platforms across food and non-food technology verticals. She has held executive roles at a variety of technology companies including Spotify, ScoreBeyond (acquired by LinkedIn), and SideChef, a smart kitchen mobile app. Milena began her career as an entrepreneur, having successfully launched a CPG brand.

🇷🇴 Oana Olteanu

Oana is a Partner at Signal Fire, a venture capital firm that invests in AI companies. As an ML engineer with experience in enterprise software and a background in early-stage investments, she invests in developer tools, open source, and AI, from Pre-Seed to Series B. Before SignalFire, Oana worked with Scale Venture Partners. In her free time, she works on her project, https://www.ready2.build/, dedicated to promoting women in tech. 

🇧🇬 Tina Dimitrova

Tina is a Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, a US-based fund that invests in B2B software startups from seed to growth across our four domains of Fintech, Commerce, Apps, and Infrastructure. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Finance from The University of Texas at Dallas, Tina immersed herself in the venture capital world, looking to back exceptional founders disrupting and creating categories across North America and Europe.

 

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https://therecursive.com/author/elenaghinita/

Elena is a Startup Community Editor at The Recursive. In other words, she keeps close to the startup ecosystem in CEE and makes their stories heard. She creates educational and informational content about innovation, funding and startup growth.