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PitchBook-All Raise Report on Venture Financing in Female-Founded Startups Shows Progress, Yet Continued Gender Inequity

November 12, 2019

SEATTLE, Nov. 12, 2019  -- PitchBook, the premier data provider for the private and public equity markets, today released a new report, All In: Women in the VC Ecosystem, which examines global venture capital (VC) investment in female-founded startups. The report is released in partnership with All Raise, a non-profit organization accelerating the success of female founders and funders, along with support from Goldman Sachs' Launch with GS and Microsoft for Startups.

According to the findings, VC investment in startups with at least one female founder reached $46 billion in 2018, representing almost 20% of total VC investment and more than doubling the total from 2017 ($21.9 billion). Similarly, deal count reached a record high of 3,477 in 2018 and shows no signs of slowing in 2019. The key drivers of investment in startups with at least one female founder can be attributed to growing market awareness of gender inequity, an increase in mentorship networks and a rise in female general partners. Notably, companies with women on their founding teams are more likely to exit one year faster compared to the rest of the market. What's more, the number of exits for companies with at least one female founder is growing at a faster rate year-over-year than companies with male founders.

To download the full report and data packs, please click here.

"This report shines a spotlight on the undeniable need for more diversity on both sides of the table. Without more women in leadership founding and funding innovative companies, we are leaving money on the table instead of expanding the pie for everyone," said Pam Kostka, CEO of All Raise. "By enabling more female founders to raise funding and female funders to make investment decisions, we can build a more prosperous, equitable future."

"As our data shows, women have long been underrepresented in the VC ecosystem, both as investors and company founders, even despite clear examples of stronger performance and revenue growth of diverse teams," said Adley Bowden, VP of Research and Analysis at PitchBook. "By shedding light on performance of female-founded startups, as well as the VC financing differences across geography and sector, entrepreneurs and funders can more readily identify the best VC ecosystems for women in leadership. Additionally, bringing greater awareness to the issue puts a spotlight on LPs and GPs, the institutional investors that propel the entire industry, and the changes that can be made to create a more inclusive VC ecosystem."

Investment Activity
Investment in startups with at least one female founder continues to accelerate, making up 18% of total VC deal value and 20% of deal count in 2018. Among the drivers of investment in startups with female founders is geography, which can offer increased access to capital, talent and mentorship resources. By the end of 2018, startups with at least one female founder secured 19% of total VC investment in the Bay Area, compared to 28% in Los Angeles and 27% in New York. Likewise, investment by sector revealed pharma and biotech as promising industries for female founders, with over $5 billion invested in companies with at least one female founder in 2018, or 25% of overall investment in the category. In the technology sector, tech startups with at least one female founder secured nearly 20% of overall VC investment and are generally valued $1 to $2 million less at the early stage compared to the overall tech market.

Exit Activity
By the end of 2018, startups with at least one female founder exited $26 billion, up from $18 billion in 2017 and a decade-high for exit value. What's more, 2018 represented the fourth consecutive year with at least 200 exits, and 2019 is pacing as the fifth straight year. Overall, exits for companies with at least one female founder have slowly gained market share year-over-year with 14% of total exit count in 2018. It's worth noting, companies with at least one female founder have proven to exit faster than the broader market, exiting in 6.4 years, compared to 7.4 years for all companies.

Investor Activity
As multiple studies have shown, female VC partners are twice as likely to invest in startups with at least one female founder and more than three times as likely to invest in startups with female CEOs. As of August 2019, just 12% of venture firms and angel groups had women in investment decision-making roles. However, PitchBook fund performance data shows that 69% of venture firms that scored a top-quartile fund between 2009 and 2018 had women in decision-making roles. This indicates a strong correlation between hiring female investors and generating strong returns.

The full report will include the following components:

  • Progress and barriers
  • Take the call from women
  • By the numbers
  • Invest in multiplicity
  • Does location matter?
    • Silicon Valley
    • New York
    • Los Angeles
    • Boston
  • Spotlight: Technology
  • Beyond tech
  • Behind the stats
  • The importance of women investors
  • Key takeaways
  • Methodology

To download the full report, click here.

About PitchBook
PitchBook is a financial data and software company that provides transparency into the capital markets to help professionals discover and execute opportunities with confidence and efficiency. PitchBook collects and analyzes detailed data on the entire venture capital, private equity and M&A landscape—including public and private companies, investors, funds, investments, exits and people. The company's data and analysis are available through the PitchBook Platform, industry news and in-depth reports. Founded in 2007, PitchBook has offices in Seattle, San Francisco, New York and London and serves over 32,500 professionals around the world. In 2016, Morningstar acquired PitchBook, which now operates as an independent subsidiary.

About All Raise
All Raise is on a mission to accelerate the success of female founders and funders to build a more prosperous, equitable future. Born out of a grassroots movement in 2017, our programs arm women with access, guidance, and support to advance their professional growth. When the architects of tomorrow better reflect the world, our world is better served. Learn more at

Quote Sheet
"We believe that large corporate organizations can move the needle on diversity and inclusion when they recognize the alpha proposition women-led companies offer, help strengthen founder and investor networks through community, and partner with others aligned with this thesis," said Stephanie Cohen, chief strategy officer at Goldman Sachs. "Launch with GS is core to our business strategy, and we are excited to partner with PitchBook, All Raise and Microsoft for Startups to increase the availability of data demonstrating the case for making this a priority."

"At Microsoft, we believe in a diverse and inclusive community – one that empowers every startup and every founder to achieve more," said Jeana Jorgensen, General Manager, Cloud and AI at Microsoft. "Research like this helps us move beyond the common refrain of "pipeline shortages" toward a data-driven approach to addressing these challenges."

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