Biotech, climate finance and robotics are among the top five fastest-growing female-founded firms in the UK, a study has found.

Loop Technology, an automation company, NovaBiotics, which develops drugs for rare diseases, and Opna, which finances net zero projects, all took a slot in the top five.

Breast pump firm Elvie and sustainable menstrual company Mooncup made up the remainder of the group, according to the study by SpareMyTime, a virtual assistant platform.

Melissa Gauge, SpareMyTime founder, said the firm’s success was a “testament to the growing strength of UK tech and the increasing importance of diversity and inclusion”.

She added: “We are particularly excited to see so many companies focused on solving real-world problems, which means UK female founders are committed to making a positive impact in the world.”

It follows the Alan Turing Institute last month unveiling gender inequality in artificial intelligence (AI) funding, with female-founded firms just two per cent of start-up deals since 2014, and raising just £1.3m on average per deal compared to £8.6m for all-male teams.

The SpareMyTime study put London-based Elvie, founded by Tania Boler, in the top spot, with £124m in total funding over the firm’s lifetime, while Samantha Reece’s Dorset-located Loop Technology — which is creating an artificial pancreas for people with diabetes — was second with £12.7m.

Aberdeen’s NovaBiotics, led by Deborah O’Neil, which is developing new antibiotics to combat drug-resistant bacteria, came in third with £10.9m, and Su Hardy’s Mooncup, from the Wirral, was close behind with £10m.

And Shilpika Gautam’s climate fintech Opna, also based in London, ranked fifth with £5.2m.

It comes as the study also revealed the number of female CEOs and women on boards across the whole of the UK’s FTSE has increased by 83 per cent since 2018.

While London is leading the way with the highest number — 174 — of female founders, followed by Scotland with 43, and Yorkshire and the Humber with 39.

Completing the top five were the South East with 23 and Greater Manchester with 20.

However, when it comes to funding, female entrepreneurs still only secure a small fraction compared to male founders.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) found that in 2021 women received just one per cent of venture capital investment, while in the US, the figure was just two per cent that year, the smallest share in half a decade.