The origins of the global directory of women in venture capital is relatively straightforward: two New York City based venture capitalists wanted to gather together other women in the industry so they could get to know each other. As numerous networking studies have revealed, it is only by getting to know each other that individuals build trust and with trust, comes helpfulness – in the venture industry, helpfulness is defined primarily by deal flow. The community launched with an invite-only dinner back in 2015by Sutian Dong, partner at Female Founders Fund and Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, partner at MDC Ventures. One dinner turned into bi-monthly dinners. Not surprisingly, the bi-monthly dinners in New York proved immensely popular, leading to a demand for dinners in other cities and requests to participate in the community from far flung locations across the globe. So the dinner invite list created by Dong and Peltz-Zatulove expanded to a spreadsheet (along with a quarterly email seeking updated contact information) and today, is the largest self-reported directory of women investors at institutional, corporate, and family offices. The directory spans more than 900+ women, across 600+ funds from more than 25 countries .
Why is this database important? By paying so much attention to the absence of women in venture capital, there is the possibility of perpetuating the problem by not shining a light on who is in the profession. The data – overwhelmingly (86%) – is self-reported plus busts stereotypes and questions concerning what women investors are investing in. “Our intention is to give the community more tools to effectively access and reach out to each other as a support network” says Peltz-Zatulove. The database provides these women with online community – for support, information, research, job openings and deal flow. The efforts of Dong and Peltz-Zatulove reveal a clear appetite in the venture community for women to learn from each other, and as Dong tells me, “ultimately there’s a shared mission of promoting success, diversity, and improving the gender balance in the tech community”. To achieve these outcomes, women in venture need to see who is already at the investment table. The global directory of women in venture capital initiative facilitates the discovery process by uncovering other relevant investors who might make sense to collaborate with – either through co-investing, or even exposure to new job opportunities at different funds.
Dong and Peltz-Zatulove reviewed the data through the lens of these four main questions:
Here’s a little of what the data indicates:
Intriguingly, Dong and Peltz-Zatulove highlight Toronto, LA, DC, Sydney, Berlin, Singapore, St. Louis, Amsterdam, Bangkok and Tel Aviv as cities to watch for emerging female talent in venture capital .
The data shows that approximately a fifth of women investors are in either Principal, VP, Investment Director/Manager roles, demonstrating according to Dong and Peltz-Zatulove “a clear pipeline for a Partner track with the right mentoring and opportunities”. More women in partner roles means more women writing checks. The data also indicates women in venture are investing in deeply technical business across a wide range of markets. “ The most common sectors women are investing in is Healthcare, Fintech, and Enterprise – not commerce and consumer which is a frequent misconception” Dong and Peltz-Zatulove point out. They also emphasize that the data shows women are predominately investing at the seed and Series A stage. That drop off when it comes to women investing at the Series B and growth stage is very significant: it is the precise stage in the investment cycle where the venture industry sees a dearth of funding for female founders.
But enough of a focus on just the data. The real intention behind elevating regular, informal dinner gatherings into a global, searchable database is, according to Dong and Peltz-Zatulove community. An insiders’ online community of women actively investing? How incredibly powerful (and necessary) to build a tool to enable these women to better connect with each other to facilitate collaboration, promote deal flow, and yes, expand the community.
To read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyhoey/2019/03/25/a-global-directory-aims-to-connect-women-in-venture-capital/#1dc87239a5ef