The role of women in investing, venture capital, and startup culture has been big in the news this week. Unsurprisingly, women still have a long way to go before they achieve true equality with men, whether it’s in the financial halls of Wall Street or the tech centric hills of Silicon Valley. However, some progress is being made. Even more importantly, we are having this conversation in the media, drawing attention to how necessary it is to bring more women to the table.
First off, Bloomsberg Business Week covered Ben Horowitz’s new book The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which featured all of three women “in the first 90% of the book.” As reviewer Diane Brady points out, “In Silicon Valley, “her” is more likely to refer to your operating system than to your business partner. [Horowitz] doesn’t present a real-life female peer until four pages from the end, when he hires Margit Wennmachers, a marketing guru-turned-venture capitalist.” Ouch. She also goes on to suggest that “Horowitz’s persistent use of “she” comes off as social satire in a world with so few actual women.”
From there we can jump to the article “Your Startup Is More Likely To Get Funding If You’re A Man” which ran recently on Fast Company. They offer up the unsettling statistic that “Women-led companies have received only 7% of all venture capital funding in the United States.” Just 7%! Not only that, but the article goes on to explain a test in which “researchers analyzed video recordings of three years of actual entrepreneurial pitch competitions–where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to angel investors, who then award the most promising ideas in the competition startup capital. Men were 60% more likely to be awarded funding than women.” Color us glad all over again that we started The Jump Fund!
Statistics like those are exactly why we were so glad to see the piece “Tipping the Scales: Women Angel Investing Reaches All-Time High” on Forbes. The headline says it all, but we couldn’t be more thrilled. The article quotes Angela Lee of 37 Angels, who said “Currently only 13% of angel investors in the United States are women. I want that number to be 50.” As author Meghan Casserly explains, Angela sees “the remaining 37%, as a gap that can be overcome by organizations like her own.” Amen. We are excited to be a part of that good cause.
By increasing the number of angel funds investing in women and giving women a greater slice of the capital pie, we can increase the number of women in male dominated industries like those found in Silicon Valley. These three articles offer an illuminating picture of where females entrepreneurs and investors sit in the big picture. However the good news is that that picture is constantly changing for the better. Together we can change these statistics, and create a stronger future for women in business.