This is what gender diversity in the Dutch startup ecosystem looks like

Thomas Mensink
Mar 19 · 5 min read

Hi there, we’re Golden Egg Check and we are startup analysts. We help startups to become investor ready and we help investors and corporates to get in touch with relevant scale-ups.

Last year, some Dutch VCs launched a 'diversity statement', called #FundRight. The aim of this movement is to bridge the gender funding gap and achieving a divers startup ecosystem.

And it was badly needed; 13% of funding rounds in 2018 went to mixed- and female-founded startups, yet they received only 3.5% of the funding, according to TechLeap's Gender Diversity Report.

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Diversity goals: more investments in women

The VCs and TechLeap that undersigned #FundRight committed to a number of goals, including:

  • Within 3 years of this statement, all participating VC companies and the management teams of their current portfolio companies will have a diverse mix including 35% women.
  • A considerable percentage of the companies (co-)invested in are (co-)founded by a woman. (what's a "considerable percentage" though?)

No measurable progress in bridging the gender funding gap

Since we collected data about venture capital investments in Dutch startups anyway, we thought it would be a relatively minor effort to see if we could already see some improvements. How are the VCs doing in terms of reaching their own gender diversity goals?

Well, it's still "om te janken":

Did you even see that little square on the right-hand sight? That represents the almost €46 million that the companies raised with at least one female founder or CxO (so not all-female teams but also it also includes mixed teams).

All-male teams raised €1.36 billion (97%) versus almost €46 million for mixed teams, which equals 3% of total funding. This 3% is even below the 3.5% that was found in 2018.

In terms of number of deals, female-led teams accounted for 12.9% of deals (36 of the 280 for which we could track the team). This is similar to last year, according again to TechLeap's analysis. Attentive readers will have noticed that the average amount that female-led teams raised is much lower than of their male counterparts: €1.3M versus €5.6M. All-male team thus raise 4.7x more on average per round.

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Zoom-in on the female-led companies that raised 3% of total funding in 2019 (and had a team picture with their press release).

In other words; despite the #FundRight initiative, the deals and funding amount that involved female founders and CxO's didn't improve.

No measurable progress in bridging the gender funding gap in 2019 unfortunately. Also in other aspects of diversity; the group of entrepreneurs that raised funding couldn't be more homogeneous.

(I do have to say here that the Dutch VCs that are committed to #FundRight invested in 2/3 of the female-led teams. At the same time, there were some #FundRight investors that invested sub-par in female-led companies. But, of course, #FundRight has only been around for half a year and there might be more female-led startups lined up in the funnel.)

How can the ecosystem improve?

I won't go into detail why it is that female teams raise less and lower amounts, because I don't have the data for this.

There are probably many different reasons and explanations, including less female entrepreneurs in the first place (17% according to TechLeap), perhaps they have businesses and business models that are less compatible with the VC model, and gender bias from the investors' side. Or a combination of these things.

I don't blame anyone, I'm just curious to know why women (and other minorities) are so underrepresented in this funding overview. And I hope we'll get to see the results of the #FundRight initiative in 2020 and beyond. We’ll keep an eye on you, investors.

Ideas to make the Dutch startup scene more inclusive? Suggestions for e.g. TechLeap or #FundRight? Let us know in the comments or on LinkedIn!

If you liked this analysis then please ‘clap’ (or share on LinkedIn) so others can find it too. Thank you! ❤

We made this analysis by reading all press releases announcing the investments and looking at the pictures that accompanied these press release. We only included pictures of the founder(s) or management team, so not of the entire team/ workforce, the product or a random person that uses the product.

Consider following this Medium blog, or Golden Egg Check on LinkedIn to get heads up when we publish our new blogs about the (Dutch) startup and venture capital ecosystem. And, if you’re feeling really excited, you can get access to our comprehensive dataset and report via our webshop. With this dataset you can see for yourself the startups with female leadership that raised funding (and you support our efforts).

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Golden Egg Check

We are startup analysts.

Thomas Mensink

Written by

Startup analyst at Golden Egg Check (@goldeneggcheck). Bridging the gap between tech startups and VCs.

Golden Egg Check

We are startup analysts. This is our blog with thoughts about innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Thomas Mensink

Written by

Startup analyst at Golden Egg Check (@goldeneggcheck). Bridging the gap between tech startups and VCs.

Golden Egg Check

We are startup analysts. This is our blog with thoughts about innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.

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