Women Get Less VC Money

Colleague and friend Kirsten Osolind over at re:invention (company) (blog) teamed up with Growthink Research to release a pioneering report, Venture Funding for Women Entrepreneurs.

The report analyzed 1,860 companies that raised over $19 billion of venture capital in 2003 in the United States.

In some ways the report is depressingly predictable. For one thing, the report demonstrates the stark disparity between men and women entrepreneurs when raising venture funding. Key findings:

  • Women headed a mere 4.5% of all funded firms and received 4.2% of the capital. This amounts to just 84 women-led companies in the U.S., raising $783.8 million.
  • Of those women receiving funding, the largest concentration (44%) was in health care.
  • The next highest concentration (30%) was in business software and services, followed by 14% in the connectivity sector.
  • Only 217 investors provided venture capital to women-led companies. (It comes to more than the total of 84 firms because investors partner up on investments.)
  • Women are not well represented in other key roles in VC-funded firms. Over 1,150 VC funded companies headed by male CEOs did not employ any women executives.

On the other hand, there was an encouraging note. The report shows that women support other women. More than 45% of the women-led firms employed other women in management roles.

Also, this report is unique in that it captures data not just on women CEOs, but also on other executive women, by type of position. It has some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date data on the role of women in venture backed startups.

The report can be downloaded from Growthink Research.

If you are a woman entrepreneur who has successfully raised venture funding, you are a very rare breed, indeed. When I raised funding and equity partners for a startup several years ago, I didn’t realize how rare it was. I never stopped to think about gender, and I am glad I didn’t. If I had, I might have been too intimidated by the statistics to try.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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