Why VCs Shouldn’t Wait Around for Female Founders to Come to Them

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Sure, the dismal statistics on how many female founders are funded by VCs may be down to how few women entrepreneurs ask for meetings, but that’s no excuse, writes Kat Gordon.

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

The statistics on the amount of VC money flowing to women-led businesses are well publicized and pretty dismal — female founders get under 5% of funding. Possible reasons for this gap are trotted out just as regularly.

Chief among them: women don’t ask at anywhere near the rate of men. Take VC George Zachary’s response to a question about the low proportion of women getting funded  at a Fireside Chat at Startup Grind in February, for example: “I see female founders one out of 20 times,” he said, adding, “I don’t care if the person’s male or female–I seek a founder living out a passion.”

That sort of thinking might sound reasonable but don’t let yourself be misled, responds Kat Gordon, founder of Maternal Instinct and of the 3% Conference, on Inc.com yesterday. The ‘sit around and wait for women to come to us’ approach Zachary’s answer implies is not only weirdly passive, it’s also bad business, she writes, for these three reasons:

  1. Women are amassing wealth, influencing spending, and driving tech usage at rates well beyond men. By 2030, women will control two-thirds of the nation’s wealth.
  2. Founders are most likely passionate about something that meets a need or interest that originates from their own life experience.

  3. If 19 out of 20 meetings are with male founders, how do VCs hope to meet the needs of the true market: women?

Female founders, she concludes, “have something men don’t have: insight into the pain points of a woman’s life and into what may motivate a female-driven marketplace. How will you meet the needs of the largest economic force in the world–beyond China or India–by taking one meeting out of 20 with a female founder?” Interested in learning more about her objections to VC passivity when it comes to female founders? Check out the complete article.

Women 2.0 readers: Do you agree VCs should be more aggressive about finding female founders to invest in?

Jessica Stillman is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: dr.coop via Flickr.