Make Way for Female Investors and Entrepreneurs

Insight provided by Sophia Koziell, originally published on March 8th, 2022.

In 2021, female-only startups raised $6.4 billion in late-stage deal funding. The money raised funded a record amount of 217 deals. This is a huge accomplishment for female founders and a step in the right direction for gender equity in the workforce. Unfortunately, their total funding only accounted for 2% of the total late-stage deal funding that year, which totaled $330 billion. While growth is great, venture capitalism is still not as diversified as it should be.

The 2% statistic was recently discussed when Serena Williams, a 23 Grand Slam tennis titleholder, announced Serena Ventures has started an early-stage venture capital fund that has raised $111 million to date. Williams said, “the reason I started Serena Ventures is because I feel like the venture capital ecosystem really needs an inclusive player, and a player with a platform to make the necessary intact change at scale” (Ross Sorkin & Hirsch, 2022). Williams plans to invest in industry agnostic startups and founders that have more diverse backgrounds, despite her strong interest in technology.

Jenny Lefcourt, a general partner at Freestyle Capital, said it best: “data shows women are more likely to fund women.” Regrettably, there are not enough women to fund women. How can this be fixed, when only 12% of venture capitalist firm decision makers are women? The simple answer is education and empowerment. Before joining the Rines Angel Fund six months ago, I had no knowledge of venture capitalism and all the career opportunities within the industry. Since joining, I have pushed myself to take on new positions and forced myself outside of my comfort zone, thanks to the support of the group’s female leadership team. To increase exposure to venture capitalism, more college campuses should develop a group like the Rines Angel Fund to educate more students of differing backgrounds. These groups can lead to more women feeling comfortable entering the industry, and showing them the potential career opportunities that venture capitalism offers. With more women working at venture capitalist firms, hopefully, more women-run startups will see investments from firms. Venture capitalist firms will benefit from these investments because women who run startups have higher revenues compared to other startup teams. Women-run startups are also hiring more women for their team and ensuring they have strong relationships with employees and the communities.

With people demanding change within the venture capital community and high profile individuals like Serena Williams actively trying to change the culture, it is a promising assumption that soon there will be more female investors and entrepreneurs, as data shows women are worth investing in.

Sources:

Chapman, L. (2022, January 11). Female Founders Raised Just 2% of Venture Capital Money in 2021. Retrieved from Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-11/women-founders-raised-just-2-of-venture-capital-money-last-year

Ross Sorkin, A. & Hirsch, L. (2022, March 1). Serena Williams raises $111 million for new venture fund. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/01/business/serena-williams-venture-fund.html

Bittner, A. & Lau, B. (2021, February 25). Women-Led Startups Received Just 2.3% of VC Funding in 2020. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review : https://hbr.org/2021/02/women-led-startups-received-just-2-3-of-vc-funding-in-2020

SHAH, V. (2022, March 1). ‘Venture Capital Ecosystem Really Needs an Inclusive Player’ — Serena Williams Reveals the Reason Why She Started ‘Serena Ventures’. Retrieved from Essentially Sports: https://www.essentiallysports.com/wta-tennis-news-venture-capital-ecosystem-really-needs-an-inclusive-player-serena-williams-reveals-the-reason-why-she-started-serena-ventures/

Thank you for reading this insight written by Sophia Koziell, a Principal in the Mel Rines Angel Investment Fund. To learn more about The Fund, please visit https://www.rinesfund.com/

Sophia is a junior from Scarborough, Maine with a dual major in Finance and Information Systems & Business Analytics. This is her first semester in the Fund, and she looks forward to networking and learning about different start-up companies. Outside of the Fund, Sophia is a Rutman Fellow, a member of Women in Business, part of the Financial Partners program, and a Peer Advisor for FIRE. She is excited to meet all the members and eager to learn more about angel investing.

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We are a seed-stage venture Fund backing exceptional New England entrepreneurs.

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