Venture capital is still very much a boys' club

Icons by Gan Khoon Lay via the Noun Project; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Venture capital is still very much a boys' club, according to a new Axios analysis.

By the numbers: Only 9.65% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women. The breakdown was 105 female decision-makers out of an industry total of 1,088. That's up from 8.93% in a similar analysis last year, and 7% in 2017. The 2016 mark was 5.7%.

  • We defined "decision-makers" as the top level of a firm's investment management, and we excluded administrative positions like CFOs and heads of investor relations. In other words, people with checkbooks.
  • As in the past, we only included firms that had raised at least one fund of $100 million over the past 5 years (in this case, 2014–2018). That means the sample changes slightly each time. This year it included 284 firms. We also exclude corporate VC funds, since it's often unclear who makes final decisions.

Yes, progress is still very slow, even in a year that saw brand-name firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, Redpoint Ventures and Union Square Ventures add their first-ever female general partners.

  • VC partnerships simply don't turn over too often, regardless of gender. But, that said, only 19% of the "added" decision-maker spots last year went to women.
  • Firms are clearly concerned about the optics, with more and more obfuscating job titles on their websites — including several who position junior-level women (including EAs) above the male general partners on their team pages.

The bottom line: Do better.

Go deeper: Tech's diversity crisis: 40% of VCs went to Harvard or Stanford