By Ellen McGirt
March 14, 2017

I’m traveling with family for the next few days, so the extraordinary Valentina Zarya will be subbing in for me starting tomorrow.

In one of her latest pieces, she takes a deep dive into the troubles that female-founded companies are having in getting the funding they need. The news is grim. “It’s a well-documented fact that female founders receive less venture capital funding than their male counterparts. What is perhaps more surprising is that things haven’t improved—and have actually worsened—over the past year.” Click through for her full analysis, but this section helps explain some of the reasons why:

Currently, about 7% of partners at top VC firms are women, according to an analysis by TechCrunch. One female VC partner, Aspect Ventures’ Jennifer Fonstad, says that much of the problem comes down to a lack of access: Women entrepreneurs simply aren’t part of the (predominantly male) network of VCs. That venture capital is a boys’ club “hasn’t changed and I don’t think that will change,” she says.

There’s also the dreaded “I’ll ask my wife” response, which Thinx founder Miki Agrawal calls “the kiss of death.” A serial entrepreneur—she owns four restaurants and has founded two companies in addition to Thinx—Agrawal says that the danger of male investors asking the women in their lives for advice is that, more often than not, those women are not their target customers.

This is the kind of unwelcome surprise that should provoke an immediate response from powerful people, including customers. If we’re ever going to solve the problem of diversity in tech, we’re going to need to follow the money – specifically to make sure they’re getting the “advice” they need to make better investing decisions.

Good luck to anyone afflicted by the great snow of 2017. I’ll be back next Monday, March 20th.

 

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