EQT Ventures to help bridge funding gap for female founders via partnership with M12 and SVB Financial Group
It’s well-documented that female founders receive a disproportionately small amount of venture funding versus their male counterparts. Last year, all-women founding teams secured just 2.2% of total VC funding while all-male teams secured about 79%. Clearly, there’s a big gap — or rather chasm — to bridge. There are, however, some small silver linings starting to appear. This 2.2% was a slight increase over the 1.9% raised in 2016 and, in Q3 of this year alone, 4.6% of US VC funding has gone to startups with exclusively female founders. This is up from 2.9% in Q2 and almost 2% over all of 2017. For companies with at least one female founder, the figures increase with 29% of US venture funding going to them in Q3 2018.
While positive, these increases don’t warrant celebrations and marching bands. There’s a lot more to be done. The tech and VC ecosystems need to work harder on closing the gender gap — we need to see more women entrepreneurs, more female investors, and more investment in female-founded companies. Just as the lack of funding into female-founded organizations is well-documented, so too is the fact diverse teams deliver higher than market average returns. And while large societal shifts don’t happen overnight, they need to start somewhere.
Today, Microsoft’s venture fund, M12, announced its $4m global competition for women entrepreneurs in partnership with EQT Ventures and SVB Financial Group. The Female Founders competition seeks to accelerate funding for top women-led startups focused on enterprise technology solutions. Two winners will share $4 million in venture funding, as well as access to technology resources, mentoring and more. At EQT Ventures, the team is passionate about supporting founders with the ambition, drive and vision to build a global success story and we believe this competition reflects this. The competition offers women entrepreneurs a great launchpad for their business and helps raise awareness of the funding gap between male and female founders.
Submissions will be accepted from July 26, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2018, and open across three regions: Europe, Israel, and North America (U.S., Canada and Mexico). Companies will be eligible to apply if they have at least one woman founder, have raised less than $4 million in combined equity funding and/or loans at day of application, and offer or intend to release a product, service or platform that addresses a critical business problem. Full guidelines and contest information can be found on M12’s application page.