Consider this stat: 74% of venture capital firms in America have zero female partners. It’s a staggering figure. Here’s another one: only 15% of venture funding in America in 2017 went to companies with a female founder.
The stats come from AllRaise.org, a nonprofit that launched in April from a group of 34 female investors. Its mission is two-fold: stoke more investment in female-led startups, and get more women at the VC partner level.
Nov. 19 is the United Nations’ Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and it follows a two-day summit at U.N. headquarters in New York, though the very existence of an official day to focus on female entrepreneurs is itself a reminder of the imbalance that still exists in corporate America.
In the same vein as AllRaise’s mission, BBG Ventures invests in consumer startups with at least one female founder. “Women drive or influence 85% of consumer purchasing decisions, they are increasingly the power user of every single mobile, social, and internet platform, and when a woman is on the team, the data shows they drive higher returns,” BBG Ventures partner Nisha Dua said on Yahoo Finance’s Morning Meeting live show on Friday. “So, call me crazy, but I actually think that’s a huge business opportunity.”
The BBG Ventures portfolio includes companies like wedding registry business Zola and women-only co-working space The Wing.
BBG Ventures is hardly alone in the space—there are a number of other relatively new VC firms focused on funding women-led startups, including AmplifyHer Ventures, Female Founders Fund, and Halogen Ventures, to name just a few.
“I’m still looking for the best companies, I don’t think that changes when you’re looking for women,” says Halogen Ventures founding partner Jesse Draper on Yahoo Finance’s Midday Movers live show this week. “For us, just because we’ve started looking for women, we now have over 50% minority-led companies… and it’s because we went off the traditional path of looking on Sand Hill Road and Silicon Valley for companies.”
And there’s room for even more of these types of VC firms, Dua argues. “There is room in this market for 10 or 15 funds that are focused on the female consumer,” she says. “Men have been investing in men for the last 20, 30 years. There’s heaps of room.”
Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.