The Clear Link Between VC Diversity And Success For Female Founders
A Lack of Women VCs Is One Reason Why Female CEOs Face Funding Barriers

Much of the coverage of Silicon Valley lately has focused on the gender gap in technology, and for good reason: The gap is growing, not shrinking, despite very public support of the issue by giants such as Intel.

Hiring practices are part of bridging this gap, but in an entrepreneur-driven industry, funding is another key part of the solution. According to Sahil Raina, assistant professor of finance at the University of Alberta School of Business, a deep-dive into the history of startup successes and failures reveals something of a surprise: The likelihood of female-led startups enjoying the same exit rates as that of male-led businesses is the same, but only when the female-led startup has been funded and guided by a VC with a female partner.

This isn’t news to Karla Friede, CEO of, who recommends that fellow women entrepreneurs look for VCs with female partners: “The men at these firms are probably more comfortable working alongside women and their expectations for women’s roles are likely different,” she says. But Friede points out that women can tip the balance in their favour through other tactics too: 

  • Make confident, not cautious statements in pitches
  • Talk to VCs that already understand your niche
  • Up the emotional connection by showing happy customers
  • Show quantifiable results

The good news is that despite the ongoing gender gap problem, there are more supports for women-led tech companies than ever. “Nearly every week, there seems to be a new fund, a new network of innovative women, a new effort convening smart people to bring the venture world much needed diversity of thought,” says Joshua Henderson, an outspoken champion of women in the tech world. He has identified over 100 VCs, networks, and dedicated programs that exist specifically to help women entrepreneurs succeed.