Pactio Project

Why do investors in Silicon Valley not fund women entrepreneurs?

By November 15, 2018 December 11th, 2018 No Comments
(Photo by William Iven on Unsplash)

It’s reported that women-only founding teams received about 2 percent of venture capital money in 2017, and teams with at least one women founder received about 17 percent. A study by Harvard Business School’s Alison Wood Brooks found that U.S. women-founded companies have received only 7 percent of all venture funding.

The report reads: “Investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches presented by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch is the same.” Unfortunately, there is not much hard data available on investments by gender and age.

On the other side of the table are investors, who are typically men. Only 9 percent of venture capital firms have women in decision-making roles. All Raise is trying to change this. The group launched earlier this year under the leadership of well-known Silicon Valley investor and founder of Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee. Their goal, according to a Forbes profile on the venture, is “to double the percentage of women in VC partner roles over the next ten years and increase total VC funding to female founders from 15% to 25% in five years.”

“Women are an undercapitalized opportunity,” says Maren Bannon, co-founder of Jane, a new fund investing in women entrepreneurs that launched in November. Bannon and her co-founder Jennifer Neundorfer met at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business a decade ago. “All the men in our business school class were investing in each other. But it wasn’t this social norm for women to invest in each other,” Bannon said.

Jane is committed to being more transparent in their investment process and investing in companies beyond the Bay Area. “Being an entrepreneur isn’t a geographic distinction,” said Bannon, who is based out of London. Neundorfer is based in the Midwest. Jane is not the only fund dedicated to supporting female founders. Two others to check out are:

Backstage Capital invests in startup founders who identify as a woman, person of color, and/or LGBTQ. Investment associate Chacho Valadez told Quartz this week that “If I’m evaluating a company that has an all-male team of four, I ask them why they haven’t hired a woman.”

Women’s Start Up Lab is a Menlo Park-based community and accelerator investing in women at all stages of life.

Because of the $50 funding, our team was able to spend 2.5 hours reporting and writing this story. We are now left with these two questions:

  1. Are there other cities or regions in the U.S. that fund more women-founded companies than Silicon Valley?
  2. What is All Raise’s strategy to reach its goal of doubling the percentage of female venture partners in the next decade?

This answer was produced by Pactio and journalist JulieAnn McKellogg. Now, it’s time for you to ask your question.

Incubated at Stanford University, Pactio reinvents the way local journalism is created by bringing together readers and journalists to discover and fund the stories they need and want to know about their community.