Diversity Venture

The Slow Progress Of Women In Venture

Morning Markets: Axios has new data on the percentage of venture capital “decision-makers” who are women. Let’s chart it.

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The venture capital industry is slowly changing, according to data released by Axios. The media company’s recent survey of more than 280 venture capital shops shows that the percentage of “decision-makers” at VC companies who are women has steadily risen, if slowly.

Here’s what the publication’s four years of data looks like in chart form:

The focus on “decision-makers” matters as the world of venture revolves around who can make investment decisions. So when we think about women in venture, we care most about how many women can make investment choices—not merely whether venture firms have more total women on staff (though that’s good, too).

As the chart shows, there’s a lot of work ahead of the venture world to diversify its ranks. Why track the ratio? Diversity of investment professionals in the venture space may encourage more even distribution of capital (and, thus, opportunity).

And while rising diversity in the world of venture capital is good in and of itself, companies that are more diverse tend to be more innovative, according to a Harvard Business Review study (you can find any number of other studies with similar results). Venture capital shops are in the business of capital management, but the prism through which they look at the market is the cut glass of what’s next. I suspect that more diverse teams in venture will likely post stronger results on average than non-diverse firms over time.

The growth of decision-making women in venture is too slow. So is the growth of venture capital invested into startups with at least one woman on the founding team. There’s more to do in 2019.

Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias.

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