Women-led VC funds are on the rise — but they face significant challenges

A new report from Women in VC shows progress for female investors. But there’s a long way to go.


October 23, 2020

The VC world has been appropriately ridiculed for its comical monoculture. In the US, the industry is:

  • 70% white
  • 80% male
  • 40% of Harvard or Stanford stock

A new report from Women in VC shows that there is some movement on gender diversity, at least.

There are 320 female partners across 275 VC firms

But the key stat here is that 49% of these women are “founding partners” — meaning they had to literally start their own firm to get the top seat.

Across the entire VC industry, only 5% of partners are female (congrats to Terri Burns, who recently became the first black female partner at Google’s venture arm, GV).

With this reality, more women have taken destiny into their own hands. Across women-led VC firms, 73% were launched in the last 5 years.

Founding a firm is not easy, though

According to Fast Company, 90% of women-led firms are labeled “emerging,” meaning their track record (portfolio, exits, returns) is lacking.

Without a track record, funds are smaller (<$10m) and the traditional 2% management fee ($200k) is hardly enough to cover salaries, rent, legal, and admin.

It’s progress but not enough to puncture the monoculture joke (which, admittedly, really isn’t that funny… except for the Patagonia vest jokes, that’s funny AF).

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