For International Women's Day, #StartWithEight
#StartWithEight: Celebrating International Women’s Day with Action
To add your firm or company’s voice as a committed signatory, contact us at email@example.com
The statistics about women and venture capital have been widely documented. Only 2% of venture capital funding went to female founders in 2017. Just 8% of partners at the top venture capital firms are women. Only 18 black female founders have raised more than $1M of venture capital for their startups (ever).(1) The data highlight a critical issue, but so far solutions and tangible action have been insufficient.
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we, the undersigned, commit to doing something about these statistics through action. Blog posts about the importance of diversity are a step in the right direction, but don’t do enough to drive progress or change the ratios in a world driven by money and power. The dynamics will change when capital flows equally to any talented founder, no matter his or her gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic. Investing in female-led companies, hiring women for decision-making positions in funds, ensuring diversity on boards, and co-investing with women on cap tables are some of the high impact ways to make a difference.
Startup land is a network-driven place. Raising capital and recruiting talent all start with a meeting, and an opportunity to build a relationship. Access shouldn’t still be a reason for disparity in ratios, but it is. When most of the meetings venture capitalists take are with men, it is no surprise they don’t invest in many female-led companies, appoint many women to boards, push to hire women into C-level positions, or chose female coinvestors. Venture capitalists, founders, executives, and advisors are in a position to make a difference just by acknowledging that networks can be insular and making the conscious decision to broaden their own. Check how many meetings you took in the first two months of 2018 with men versus women. How did you do?
In celebration of IWD, we, the undersigned, commit to action and to taking an important step towards changing the ratios: we will take meetings with 8 women from outside our networks in the month of March. Our long term goal is parity across the ecosystem but meetings to build relationships are a first step, and that change can happen today.
Please join us in the following:
Ask people you trust for recommendations of 8 new women you should meet - whether potential founders, hires, board members, executives, or others. And then take those meetings in the month of March (we will be surprised if you don’t get more than 8 recommendations).
Join the conversation on social media to highlight women you recommend using the hashtag #StartWithEight. Ours are posted on social media - these people are incredible and we think everyone should know.
The lack of diversity in the venture ecosystem is long overdue for change and we believe a focus on networks, action, and respect can be a catalyst. To join us, simply email your firm or company information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll update signatories daily through close of business on March 8, 2018. Once signed, please join the conversation on social media and encourage others to do the same.
Flybridge Capital Partners
Bain Capital Ventures
First Star Ventures
New England Venture Capital Association
(1) The Diane Project 2016 study augmented by AE research. If you have additional information on this topic we may have missed, please reach out.