By Justin Biel, trends editor at Grow Wire
- While men heavily dominate the venture capital landscape, a group of respected female VCs is working to bring more women and diversity.
- A recently-published list of the country’s top-performing VCs has a seen a spike in the number of female honorees.
- Female tech VCs have joined forces to create an organization called All Raise, whose mission is to “accelerate the success of female funders and founders.”
Men aren’t the only ones doing huge deals in the tech venture capital world. A list of the year’s top-performing VCs proves a group of badass women are making a serious impact on the industry.
And this first wave of female dealmakers is only the tip of the iceberg.
Forbes’s annual Midas List is a yearly ranking of the top tech VCs, based on the number and size of exits for VC firms over a five-year period. Established in 2011, it’s a powerful indicator of who’s pulling the investment strings in tech. Although the list remains highly male-dominated, this year’s roundup features nine female investors out of 100 honorees, as opposed to last year’s six women.
The Midas List evaluates VCs on a range of factors, including size and stage of investments, how much money the VC made through an acquisition or IPO, and their number of total deals. For a deal to even qualify for the list, the VC must make more than $200 million on the deal, and the company must be valued at over $400 million.
That’s a serious feat. And the women on the 2018 Midas List have worked harder than most, paving a path in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
Ceiling-breakers from the 2018 Midas List
The highest-ranked female on the 2018 list is Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Coming in at number six, Meeker is a powerhouse known for her investments in companies like Facebook, Spotify, and Airbnb. A former managing director at Morgan Stanley, Meeker started her career as a stockbroker and went on to pen “the bible” for investors during the dotcom boom. With a data-driven approach to trending markets and a personal ethos of constant learning, Meeker has grown her successful career.
In the number 31 spot is Rebecca Lynn, who made her name with smart investments in Lending Club, FutureAdviser and Roofstock. With a focus on consumer products, technology and consulting, Lynn succeeds with a diversified skill-set and an unstoppably curious nature.
The remaining seven female investors on the Midas list include Ann Miura-Ko, Beth Seidenberg, Kirsten Green, Jenny Lee, Theresia Guow, Sonali De Rycker and Aileen Lee.
As some have called the VC industry an "old boy's club," the women on this list are outliers. The stats below clearly show the lack of gender equality in the VC world:
- 91 percent of decision makers at U.S. VC firms are men.
- 74 percent of U.S.-based VC firms have no female investors.
- More than half of the top 72 firms are all male.
- In 2017, female founders only received 15 percent of the total VC distributed.
- Only 5 - 7 percent of VC partners are female.
Taking a stand, with solutions
To halt this trend, a group of women, headed by Midas List honoree Aileen Lee, created an organization to bring more diversity to the VC world.
It started with Lee sending a single email -- a call to arms of sorts -- to the top women in VC last summer. Since then, the group has evolved into an organization called All Raise who, according to its website, aims to "accelerate the success of female funders and founders… We believe that by improving the success of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem, we can build a more accessible community that reflects the diversity of the world around us.”
All Raise has committed to two tangible goals:
1. Double the presence of female VC partners from 9 percent - 18 percent in 10 years.
2. Increase funding to female founders from 15 percent to 25 percent in 5 years.
To accomplish these, they’ve created programs that help both entrepreneurs looking for funding and businesspeople looking to understand more about the VC flow.
Female Founder Office Hours is a joint effort from more than 120 female founders and over 30 female VCs, offering one-on-one mentoring and community opportunities for women in business. The aims to create “a safe space for female founders to get fundraising advice, mentorship, and support,” according to its site.
Founders For Change, meanwhile, tackles the lack of diversity in tech, especially in the VC community. Walking the talk, each member of Founders For Change has made a public commitment to hiring diverse teams and boards, per the pledge below:
“I believe in a more diverse and inclusive tech industry. I am dedicated to having a diverse team and board, and when I have a choice of investment partners in the future, the diversity of their firms will be an important consideration.”
All Raise’s Women In Venture program offers a forum for women in VC to connect and educates women who are interested in learning about VC. The group has a “Diverse Candidate Database System,” essentially playing matchmaker between companies who seek diversity and available candidates.
Finally, All Raise has developed a secure network of partners across industries including nonprofit, technology and venture capital, all of which are working together to support their mission.
THIS is how genuinely successful people behave. They achieve their goals, but they are also others-oriented. They uplift the people around them and care about the community and world in which they live.
Achieving personal and career goals is a job you’ll never truly finish. Instead, it remains an ongoing task. But if you want to reach your goals faster, take a hint from these female VCs and commit yourself to both personal success and also the success of others.
You can learn more about All Raise or make a donation on AllRaise.org.
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