In response to several sexual harassment allegations and the massive diversity gaps throughout the tech industry, there’s been a lot of attention on directing more investment capital to women-led startups.
But as Recode detailed this week, the numbers haven’t moved much, if it all, in the past few years.
The percentage of venture capital funding going to startups with at least one woman founder has stayed around 10 percent since 2016 based on a three-month rolling average, according to the Recode report. And the much-cited number of 2.2 percent — the percentage of venture capital going to all-female founding teams, or startups with a solo female founder — stayed the same in 2018, TechCrunch reported.
Those percentages are even more glaring given that VC funding to U.S. startups was expected to surpass $100 billion in 2018, a potential record.
Recode noted that VC firms hired 30 new female senior investing partners in the past 10 months, but they also added 68 new male partners. The percentage of women leadership roles in venture capital only moved from 8.9 percent to 9.5 percent, according to data from All Raise.
Aileen Lee, a longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist and managing partner at Cowboy Ventures, this year helped launched All Raise, a nonprofit that aims to get more female founders funded. She told Recode that “there is no one-year-in high-five,” in regard to progress made thus far.
That being said, this past year brought a noticeable acceleration of efforts to address the funding gap and other challenges faced by women and minority startup founders.
In the Seattle region, the Female Founders Alliance launched a new accelerator program called Ready, Set, Raise for early stage startups led by women. The Riveter, a network of women-oriented co-working spaces that started in Seattle, raised a total of nearly $20 million in two financing rounds this year to fuel its national growth.
“The tides are turning in general,” said venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital, during an April appearance with Riveter CEO Amy Nelson in Seattle. Hamilton’s firm invests in startups led by women, minority and LGBT founders, as featured in a recent episode of our Numbers Geek podcast.
“This year seemed very different,” Hamilton said at the time. “So maybe that means 2019 looks really different. That’s what I have to hope.”
Some point to the investor community as one reason for the gaps and the Recode report examines how venture capital firms are responding to the diversity issues. Evidence suggests that the lack of female partners makes firms less likely to invest in female-led startups.
Earlier this year, GeekWire compiled a living document that lists women VCs and angel investors across the Seattle and Portland regions — check that out here.