Today, Women Get Only 2% of VC Dollars. These 16 VCs Explain Why, And How This Can Be Solved
A recent Fortune Magazine article reported that in 2017, only 2% of Venture Capital dollars went to female founders.
Thrive Global spoke to more than 15 prominent VCs to explain how these numbers are possible, what can be done in general to remedy this, and what they specifically can do to remedy these numbers.
Here are our Managing Partner's thoughts:
My Venture Capital Background
Dr. Oksana Malysheva is an investor, entrepreneur and business executive based in Austin, TX. She is the Managing Partner/CEO of Sputnik ATX, an accelerator that funds maker-founders with ideas to create positive change. She is also the Managing Partner/President of Linden Venture Fund. Dr. Malysheva champions the development of innovative, sustainable, world-changing companies. Committed to igniting and fueling social innovation solutions, her mission is creating positive social change through education, technology and innovation. Dr. Oksana Malysheva was born and raised in Soviet Union, Ukraine. Seeking educational opportunities, she moved to the United States with her husband and only $100 to their name. She earned her PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and soon after, pivoted her focus to business and marketing. Dr. Malysheva previously held top strategic roles at McKinsey and Motorola. Trained as a PhD physicist, Dr. Malysheva brings scientific inquisitiveness, lateral thinking and mastery of insight through data to all of her business endeavors.
What I Believe Is The Root Of This Problem I feel that this issue is somewhat more nuanced than is portrayed in the media. Discrimination and bias have certainly happened in the past, and may still be happening now. But equally there is a lack of understanding how women and men might think, communicate, and present ideas in a different way. The female approach is at least as effective, revolutionary and life changing, but it may come across in a softer voice. As a society we need to recognize and celebrate these differences. Statistics have proven that diverse teams deliver far superior results, and we would be fools not to embrace this. Ultimately, there could be many theories as to what caused the past to be as dismal as it is — I’d rather spend my time thinking about what I can do today to clear the path for women. Focusing on solutions is a more productive use of my time. And the fundamental shift we see in the society now will provide more wind behind the sail.
What We Can Do To Solve This Problem
VC and entrepreneurship fundamentally makeup an apprenticeship industry, so there is a simple thing anyone senior can do today: identify a talented woman, clear a path for her, and recognize differences in leadership styles that are equally effective but can look and sound differently. Do it today. Then find another one, and repeat. I believe that it comes down to the choices that each of us make in our daily lives to promote equality. At Sputnik ATX, we have identified a promising female associate. She is a young, recent college graduate but she has proven herself to be talented. She has helped us to find several smart female interns that in turn, get visibility to the VC process. I guarantee they will crush quite a few gender barriers because they have seen it done, and felt nurtured and supported along the way. The more we take steps like this, and the more positive stories that make it to the news, the more other women will be encouraged to join our cause. The time to show up, speak up and stand out is now. These past stats are pitiful, but the future doesn’t have to be. The choices we make every day will shape the future.