In the first Crunchbase Women in Venture report (April 2016), our goal was to establish a well-defined baseline against which to measure future progress of women in the venture business. The key finding at the time was that 7 percent of the investing partners at the top 100 venture firms were women.
In the 18 months since that report, Silicon Valley has witnessed unprecedented turmoil following a string of public disclosures on sexism, pay discrimination and sexual harassment of women. In response, many investing firms as well as startups have taken steps to improve behavior as well as the diversity of their work forces.
As 2017 draws to a close, Crunchbase decided to re-apply the methodology from the 2016 report to see what progress, if any, might be measurable. What follows are the somewhat encouraging results from that updated analysis, as well as a detailed analysis of the firms that are making the biggest impact on the women in venture equation.
Here are some of the most notable takeaways:
Among the top 100 venture firms, the percentage of women partners edged up to 8 percent from 7 percent, an increase of 17 percent.
Eight firms in the top 100 added a female partner for the first time.
Women now hold 15 percent of the partner roles at accelerators and corporate venture firms, a 25 percent improvement in 18 months.
Women founded 16 micro-venture funds in the last three years, 21 percent of all the new firms in that category.
Ten percent of venture dollars globally between 2012 and Q3 2017 went to startups with at least one woman founder.
Sixteen percent of seed dollars globally between 2012 and Q3 2017 went to startups with at least one woman founder.
Seed investments in female-led startups
Firms that index over 30 percent include Vegas-based VTF Capital at 38 percent (45 portfolio companies), SOSV at 37 percent (174), Sydney-based Artesian VC at 34 percent (28) and New York-based Collaborative Fund at 32 percent (24). Firms that index over 25 percent include Slow Ventures at 29 percent (49), Rock Health at 29 percent (18), Entrepreneurs Round Table at 28 percent (32), Marc Bell Ventures at 27 percent (36), Great Oaks Venture Partners at 26 percent (50), LaunchCapital at 25 percent (23), Wayra at 25 percent (74) and Right Side Capital Management at 25 percent (49). The majority of these active seed investors do not have female investing partners as noted in the chart below.
Firms with the highest count include 500 Startups with 254 companies, Y Combinator with 187, SOSV with 174, Start-up Chile with 94, Wayra with 74 and Startupbootcamp with 54.
Two of the three highest in terms of percentage of total rounds in startups with a female founder — Artesian VC and Collaborative Fund — have female partners. On the other hand, the five most active seed investors by round — 500 Startups, Y Combinator, Start-up Chile, Wayra, and Startupbootcamp — each have at least one female investing partner.
The charts below rank top seed firms’ investments, by percentage and round, in startups with a female founder. The firms listed made 60 or more investments between 2012 and Q3 2017.