Gatekeepers of Venture Growth: A Diana Project Report on the Role and Participation of Women in the Venture Capital Industry
24 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2008
Date Written: 2004
Women have received a disproportionately low share of available venture capital in the United States. This study provides the first overview of women decision makers in the venture capital industry. Data from Pratt's Guide to Venture Capital Sources for 1995 and 2000 was analyzed to identify the numbers and characteristics of women in management positions. In addition, high-profile women venture capitalists were interviewed.
The study tested the hypothesis that the presence of more women in decision-making roles in the venture capital industry would provide greater access to capital for women entrepreneurs. Three key points were considered: (1) whether highly visible, experienced women venture capitalists exist in the venture capital industry; (2) whether such women venture capitalists influence decision making in their firms; and (3) whether such women venture capitalists increase the flow of women-led deals to their firms.
Results indicate that the venture capital industry is overwhelmingly male; that pre-existing relationships provide an important link between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists; and that women venture capitalists do not give preferential treatment to women, although 70 percent are in partnerships that have closed deals with women-led companies. It appears that the presence of more women venture capitalists would lead to the following: increased network connections between venture capitalists and women entrepreneurs; increased numbers of proposals to women venture capitalists; a greater likelihood that firms will invest in women-owned firms; an increase in women's access to capital; and a more powerful voice for women in the country's entrepreneurial progress.
Keywords: Female entrepreneurs, Barriers to growth, Females, Managers, Venture capital, Venture capitalists, Female owned businesses
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