Mar 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

2019 saw record number of female-founded startups raise venture capital

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A record number of female-founded startups raised venture capital in 2019, representing more than a 500% increase from 2010, based on new data from PitchBook and All Raise. Median valuations also hit all-time highs.

Background: The bump in global deal numbers comes amidst a (slow) increase in female venture capitalists, including those with actual checkbooks, and against the backdrop of increased exits for mixed-gender founding teams (+7% in 2019, compared to a 4% year-over-year decrease for all-male founding teams).

Yes, but: Not all the new numbers were positive, particularly when it came to actual money raised. Only 16% of all venture investment dollars invested in 2019 went to startups with at least one female founder, down from 18% in 2018. So far in 2020, the figure is just 13%.

  • In terms of deal number, 21% of all funded startups in 2019 had at least one female founder.

The bottom line: Venture capital should briefly celebrate its progress, and then get back to work doing much, much better.

Go deeper

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The big picture: Axios yesterday spoke or emailed with 40 different U.S. firms, and every single one of them reports that they are still actively doing deals — several signing term sheets within the past week.

Why venture capital might avoid "fund size cuts" during coronavirus crisis

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The big picture: There wasn't a widespread push for "fund size cuts" in 2008, save for a few efforts tied to funds that had closed just before Lehman went under. While it's too soon to know for sure which path LPs will take this time around, odds are that it will look similar — with already-raised fund sizes remaining static.

Slow progress for female world leaders

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The big picture: That year, former Sri Lankan prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the modern world's first female head of state. Finland and New Zealand have led the way in electing women since, with three women leaders each.