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Venture capital’s agonizingly slow progress toward gender balance

Fog envelops the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
  • Dave Edwards
By Dave Edwards

Founder of Sonder Scheme


In 2010, only 3.6% of venture investments were made into companies that were founded by all-women teams. Those investments were about half the size of the average venture deal, so all-women teams only received 1.8% of total capital invested. Both of those numbers have increased, but not by much. In 2019, 6.9% of deals and 2.9% of invested capital went to all-women founding teams. Clearly, the venture industry has a long way to go.

VC firms are under pressure to improve diversity internally and in their portfolios, in order to preserve their reputations, to ensure continued returns, and because it’s the right thing to do. Diversity takes many forms, but in the wake of #MeToo many investors and advocates are focused on improving venture’s gender balance.

The number of female decision-makers at venture firms has nearly doubled since 2016 but it is still at a paltry 10%, and 71% of US VC firms don’t have a female partner.

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