Tracy Lawrence

VC $$ raised by female founders doubled in 4 years

Published about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Let’s step backwards in time 7 years. News had broken out about a few famous VCs who were accused of sexually harassing several female founders.

Needless to say, the environment was tense.

I’m at a friend’s house for brunch where she gathered 25 female founders. A smaller group was huddled conspiratorially around a table. I overheard one of them say, “Let’s out every male VC who’s a jerk. Now’s the time, we should publish their names.”

I remember feeling both the desire for justice but also a sickness in my stomach. It was a complicated time.

The #MeToo movement kicked off surfacing the unique journey of the female founder. Our challenges of fundraising, recruiting, and even our intriguing relationship with imposter syndrome.

The Infamous 2% Stat

One powerful stat that would live on for years was the headline that “Female founders receive less than 2% of venture funding.” It’s so powerful, I heard it repeated just a few months ago.

Whenever I’ve heard the stat, it comes with a lot of fears:

  • Being a woman puts us at a disadvantage for fundraising
  • We aren’t the best stewards for our ideas because of our gender.
  • Because we’re viewed as the weaker sex, we can’t be CEO

This story breaks my heart for so many reasons. At its core, it rejects the unique contributions that women offer to the tech industry. Especially our human-focused leadership, our warmth, and our empathy for the user and teams.

It breaks my heart because I know women who live in the shadow of this story. It lurks over their shoulder to suffocate them when fundraises are going downhill or investors ask if their male cofounder is the CEO.

The quiet question sits in the background:
Why am I doing this if I don’t belong?”

I’ll spend my career tackling this question on behalf of outsider founders and myself.

The Real Data Story

Let’s start with the story that women only get 2% of financing. There is a big asterisk here – they (Pitchbook) define female founders as “female founders only.” That means that mixed-gender teams (like myself and my male co-founder) are excluded from this 2%.

I shot an email to Pitchbook a few months ago looking at their statistics, since they conveniently withheld the mixed-gender data. Instead they compared female founder only teams with male only teams, which made the story look dark.

I never got a response back, but I checked back today and I was delighted to find an update as of last week to their data:

As of 2024, female founder only teams received 1.5% of VC funding, but mixed gender teams received 26.1%. From 2020 to 2024, teams with at least one female founder receiving VC investment jumped from 15.3% to 27.6%.

In the last four years, female founder representation in VC funding nearly doubled.

If you look at the percentage of female founders (only women and mixed teams) by deal count, you’re looking at 24.7% of deals having a woman on the founding team (with deal count percentage holding steadier over time than funding amount).

Let’s elevate the story for women.

It’s time for us to soften the stories we have of being alone. 1 in 4 companies receiving investment in 2024 have a female founder. While that’s a far cry away from 50/50, it’s a huge milestone for women in tech.

I can feel it. I sat at a beautiful female founder dinner hosted by the lovely Mada Seghete last week with 41 women on the list. Pear VC’s Female Founder Retreat had almost 100 women in attendance. Female focused and managed VCs have popped up like Female Founders Fund, Gingerbread Capital (who were Chewse investors!), and BBG Ventures.

The movement is building. I’m meeting young women getting ready to start companies fresh out of college. They are studying computer science and ML, medicine and psychology. They’re eager, nervous, but ready to break glass ceilings. They buzz with enthusiasm and vision.

Let’s elevate the story for them -- for you, since that’s many of my readers!

The journey of being a founder will always be plagued with hardships. I would never paint the rosy, perfect picture for a female founder. Fundraising will still be a rocky road, early stage pivots are gnarly, and building your first team can feel like a complete mystery.

But let’s be honest about the trendlines: the tech world is opening up to women. And the ones who see this are grabbing opportunities younger and younger. Huzzah!

Hey friends, I want to hear from you! What did you think of this?This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and sending this as a broadcast into the ether feels a little scary :)

Note: You might lament the reduction of funding going to female only teams. My next hunt there is to see if the overall landscape of female only teams is changing to be more mixed teams.

Chat with Me 1:1

If you resonate with the desire to elevate the story as a female or outsider founder, then you might enjoy working with me 1:1 for founder coaching!

113 Cherry St #92768, Seattle, WA 98104-2205
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Tracy Lawrence


I help entrepreneurs and leaders find simplicity and joy at work through mindful, emotional intelligence, and culture hacks. Use techniques I've trained top CEOs to do in the amount of time it takes to order a coffee ⭐️ Exited Founder turned Executive Coach 📈 Raised $40M and managed 100s of employees 🧘‍♀️

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