As we reflect on the status of women in the technology community, we see both progress and continued challenges. The ranks of great women entrepreneurs continue to swell and those bright lights play a crucial role in serving as role models for future entrepreneurs. Women like Julia Hartz from Eventbrite and Katrina Lake from Stitch Fix
, whose companies are now traded publicly, as well as others like Julie Wainwright of the Real Real illustrate to the next generation what is possible.
And the ranks of women entrepreneurs is growing. For Aspect’s first fund, though we are gender-neutral in evaluating opportunities, 40% of our companies had a woman founder. As we invest our second fund, that number is 43% and growing. Industry-wide, we are seeing the number of women founders reaching 17-20% of startups (depending on which data set you consider) and on an absolute basis, the number of companies with a female founder grew five times. Yet the total amount of dollars going to women is more challenging with only $1.9 billion of a total of $85 billion in 2017.
What does this mean? For us, it means more opportunity – more women and non-traditional entrepreneurs are seeing what is possible and next-generation firms like ours are investing. It means that traditional funds don’t want to miss out on good deals and work with Aspect and other diverse funds as well as expanding their ranks. It means that smart LPs, like Melinda Gates and others, are getting access to new deals. While change takes time and dollars continue to follow old models, the smart money is on this new breed of entrepreneurs, women who are building great companies, creating jobs for the economy, and serving as a bright light for the next generation.
While the numbers are still too small, the future is bright.