Book of lists: Female-owned firms closing the VC gender gap

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With the tech field still predominantly male, the 2018 list of Crain’s top venture capital firms is marked by a noteworthy development: three companies run by women took spots in the ranking. The Female Founders Fund, BBG Ventures and Forerunner Ventures each made at least nine investments in New York metro area startups in 2017.

“There’s been a massive increase in awareness of how challenging it is for female founders to be funded,” said Vicki Saunders, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and the founder of SheEO, a crowdfunding platform that supports women’s startups. “Women see the world through a different lens than men, which informs how they come up with their ideas. It’s harder for men to see the same opportunities. That’s a problem because many venture capitalists make their choices based on their experiences.”

Just 4.4% of all venture capital deals went to women-owned companies in 2017, according to PitchBook, a financial data and software company. And the share of total venture funding obtained by women was even slimmer, at a mere 2.2%.

Firms like the trio on Crain’s list are striving to fix the imbalance. The Female Founders Fund and BBG Ventures, both established within the past decade, devote all of their funding activities to early stage startups led by women. And though Forerunner Ventures doesn’t exclusively invest in women’s businesses—it previously funded once-small New York operations Bonobos and Warby Parker—founder Kirsten Green has made a point of supporting them. This year that included Away, a smart-luggage company in NoHo started by two women in 2015. Still, evening out the statistics will take many years.

“I think it’s going to take a generation to shift this,” Saunders said. “I expect hundreds and thousands of female-run funds to spring up worldwide.”

SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.