Still too often, female founders and their innovative ideas simply get filtered out of the funding process because of these biases, and I’ve seen it firsthand. There’s a fairly prescribed formula for how to pitch and get funded in Silicon Valley, and it’s based largely on an approach that today’s successful founders used – almost all of whom are men. In fact, a whole cottage industry has sprung up to teach women how to pitch (spoiler alert: students aren’t encouraged to “be themselves”).
It’s clear that women are being left out of the funding proces. In recent years, only about 2% of venture funding went to companies founded by women
. Funding for women of color is essentially a rounding error – less than 1%. Oftentimes VCs rely on referrals from the same insular, homogenous networks they have for years, and it shows in the numbers. So if you’re a woman who makes it far enough to get criticized for how you pitch, you’ve already beaten the odds.
This year, the topline number ticked up slightly to nearly 3%. But again, that’s not the whole picture. If you dig into the data behind it, another pattern emerges: VCs prefer to invest in women when their businesses specifically cater to other women.