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The Democratization of Fundraising Means More Female Founders

December 2, 2015, 10:19 PM UTC
Stuart Isett—Fortune Most Powerful Women

Today’s financial industry today looks nothing like it did 20, 10, or even five years ago. “Fintech” is a word you hear thrown around more and more frequently, and the types of investment opportunities that exist now—so-called startup incubators and crowdfunding platforms—mean founders have greater access to capital than ever before.

All this has culminated in the democratization of fundraising, said Stacey Bishop, a partner at venture capital firm Scale Venture Partners, speaking on a panel at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit on Wednesday morning. “There are so many more opportunities now to to get funding,” she says. “There are incubators, and places like AngelList—which is a matching system to match investors with early stage companies—that have democratized the fundraising process and opened up the door to create more companies.”

Michal Katz, the co-head of technology investment banking at RBC Capital Markets agreed, adding that there are plenty of investment opportunities available. “I don’t think money is the differentiator,” she said. “The funding is there.”

The increased access to capital means that women are being “boxed out” of the conversation less and less, said Ali Rosenthal, VP of strategic partnerships at automated investment service Wealthfront. “More often than not, women bootstrap their businesses,” she said. And that’s something of an understatement: Currently, only 3% of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only about 4% percent of US-based venture capital investors are women, according to the White House.

But recent innovations mean those numbers are likely to shift—and soon, said Bishop. “Now that there are more [investment] platforms out there I think women can rise up.”

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