Say it with… 8%

Only 8% of partners at the top 100 Venture Capital (VC) firms are women. This number was published in the Crunchbase Women in Venture Report conducted by Techcrunch last year. Although this is an improvement to 2016, where only 7% of the partners in VC firms were female, they still seem to be dominated by male investors. And while the number of female-led ventures has increased in the past years only 9% of all VC deals involved ventures with a female CEO.

When discussing the reasons for the low participation and funding chances for female-led ventures, we need to take into account their financial supporters and the current financial landscape. Many VC firms still base financial venture support on gender stereotypes and missed the transformation from a boy’s club-culture to a diversity-oriented and inclusive organization.

To this day, female entrepreneurs are confronted with prevention-focused questions while male entrepreneurs are asked promotion-focused questions about plans for growth when trying to secure investment from VC firms. No need to discuss the cases of inappropriate behavior, sexist statements or ignorance of investors towards female founders.

In order to give female-led ventures a chance to succeed in the startup ecosystem and treat them with respect VC firms need to adapt a gender-considerate position.

VC firms must accept that unless they start addressing their own gender-specific biases on male dominated advisory boards their behavioral patterns towards female-led ventures will not change. In order to decide on how to support women through investments and how to include them in due diligence we need to ensure that female leadership is recognized within the VC firms.

With only 8% being female partners at the top 100 VC firms we still have quite a journey ahead of us. All this really means is that both, men and women, must be represented at the table.

While the probability of a successful exit rapidly drops for female entrepreneurs if they secured investment from an all-male VC firm, when being supported by a VC firm with female partners on the board the chances for a successful performance (in terms of financing via acquisition & IPO) increase. This means that the structure of VC firms can actually impact the performance of a female-led venture.

To promote diversity and opportunities for female-led ventures, the VC landscape needs to change. If we want to have more successful female-led ventures, it is not enough to simply encourage more female entrepreneurs to start their own venture. It is crucial to have more women join VC firms in order to help more female entrepreneurs succeed.

Check out these VC firms, who are pioneers in gender-balanced placements of investing partners:

Horizon Ventures:

Scale Venture Partners:

GSR Ventures:

Social Capital:

Canaan Parters:

Article by Christina Leonhart