Let’s Do Better Than 3%
In 2013, only 3% of women-led companies received venture capital funding. Like I, many angel investors were shocked when they learned of this appallingly low statistic. Based on a decade of progress female founders had made receiving more angel capital, we assumed that they had made similar gains in venture capital. Boy, were we wrong. So, more than any other number, “3%” became a rallying cry for what was wrong with VC when it comes to gender. It’s a number that has galvanized some women investors to take action.
For example, last week’s guest, impact investor Fran Seegull, noted that when she was a Harvard MBA student back in 1998, she had been startled to learn that only 2.5% of venture capital went to women-led businesses. So for her to learn that fifteen years later, this number had improved by only 0.5%, made her more committed than ever to do something about it. Recognizing that this disparity in funding still exists, Seegull has made gender lens investing -directing capital to socially responsible businesses that benefit women – one of the central themes of her career in social impact investing.
This week’s featured guest, Susan Lyne saw opportunity in the “3%.” In 2014, Lyne founded BBG Ventures, an early stage fund focused on consumer internet and mobile startups with at least one female founder. Knowing that women dominate on social media, and are highly engaged with brands on mobile platforms, she concluded that women have some of the very best insights into what products should be built for consumers. In her words, “We are the person you should be speaking to if you are building a consumer tech company.”
As a 19 year veteran of angel investing, with over half my portfolio invested in female founders, I wanted to spotlight the many accomplished entrepreneurs I knew who just happen to be women. I heeded the rallying cry by founding BroadMic, the antithesis to your typical “bro-cast.”
Susan Lyne and Fran Seegull are just two of the women who were galvanized by the 3% number.
Today, it’s 7%.
Let’s do better!
Even the Pope is talking about it, but what exactly is impact investing? Meet Fran Seegull, Executive Director of the U.S Impact Investing Alliance, a project of the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Network. Fran is also an Adjunct Professor at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Senior Fellow at the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, both at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Kelly Hoey and Fran chat about impact investing, the drivers behind this growing market, and how social entrepreneurs can find investors.
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INTRODUCING SEASON 3!
- 10/27 – Alicia Thomas, CEO, Dibs Technology Inc.