Venture Capital: Female-led startups reach record funding of 2%

Very little progress has been made by women founders as male-led startups win 79% of investments made in 2017
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Jennifer Hyman (center) CEO of Rent the Runway at Project Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.

Venture capital funding for female founders of startups edged up by a tiny amount in 2017 with 2.2% of a total of $85 billion invested compared with all-male teams receiving 79% according to a report by Fortune.

The number of deals edged up to 4.4%, a record number of 368 compared with 5,588 for all-male startup teams.

Valentina Zarya reports,

The size of the gap is staggering, but there is a sliver of a silver lining: It's smaller than last year's. In 2016, female founders raised just $1.4 billion--or 1.9% of total VC funding. In fact, with the exception of 2014, 2017 marks the largest percentage of total venture dollars that has gone to female founders since PitchBook started tracking the data in 2006.

Mixed gender teams represented 12% of total funds and the remaining 7% of startups were undefined. The average deal size for all-female teams was about $5 million compared to $12 million for men.

What was not calculated was how many female-led startups applied for funding and were rejected.

While the largest round invested in a woman-led startup was $165 million (Moda Operandi's Series G), the largest that went to a male-led company (WeWork, also a Series G) was $3 billion. And the co-working space is not an outlier. Even the tenth-largest deal on the list comes in at half a billion dollars, or more than four times larger than the largest round raised by a women-led company.

Fortune reported on the gender funding difference a year ago. In that story female founders pointed to the lack of women VCs, which represent about 8% of VC partners.

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