The growth of female VCs is happening, and it’s not going to stop

For more on trends around female led innovation along with all else Venture Capital, please follow me @hanayang

Photo Source: eCorner Stanford University

As I discussed in my last blog, a key passion of mine is finding ways to help foster continued diversity in the innovation sector, specifically by helping the great community of female entrepreneurs and investors.

First, we wanted to map out what the scope of the female investing community looks like today.

So, I took and compiled data from sources such as the Kauffman Fellows program, CB Insights, Medium blogposts, Pitchbook, TechCrunch, etc., and compiled a raw list of roughly 1,224 women globally that include investing professionals at all career levels.

Here are some summary level observations:

  • I completely underestimated the number of women currently working in the Venture Capital industry.
  • The United States by far exceeds the number of women investors with 817 names (see list here)
  • East Coast — 261
  • SoCal — 48
  • San Francisco Bay Area — 355
  • Rest of the country — 153

While innovation and innovation investing is clearly a global undertaking, we’re currently focused on the domestic market and such, I spent much of my time thinking through some of the key themes I’ve ran across when analyzing female fund managers.

  • They’re far more likely to invest against traditional momentum areas, largely a function of understanding certain areas better than the broader venture market (great example is Kirsten Green at Forerunner in eCommerce).
  • Deep focus on personal values and creating a firm with culture in mind.
  • Wanting to do things differently from how they’ve been traditionally done and launching their own funds and building their own firm franchises with authenticity.
  • There’s uncertainty around historic return data for female versus male counterparts, especially given fuzziness around attributions at big firms. Now that we have clear female-led firms, we’ll have a good sense of relevant attribution data within 3–5 years.
  • There have been many experienced female fund managers that have rolled of other platforms to create their own franchises (often Micro-VC’s). Examples include Aileen Lee (Cowboy), Theresa Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad (Aspect Ventures), and Jodi Sherman and Susan Mason (Aligned). We expect significantly more female led franchises to form in 2017.
  • Many large firms (Sequoia/Founders Fund) have strategically added female leadership to help broaden the diversity of thought within the partner ranks.

At the end of the day, with respect to venture investing, female investors are no different than male counterparts in nearly every tangible way. However, it goes without question that the proliferation of great female investors serves as a huge driver of bringing diversity to the investment class, something that should be rejoiced by entrepreneurs and LPs alike.

The good news is that it’s not a secret anymore. Diversity in venture is here to stay. We’re just excited to play a small part in helping.

Thank you Samir Kaji for your collaboration on this blogpost!