We Searched High And Low For A VC Firm That Backs A Lot Of Female Founders - And We Could Only Find One


Just how skewed is the male-to-female ratio in tech?

Business Insider reviewed the active portfolios of 27 early to mid-stage VC firms in Silicon Valley and 15 in New York based on publicly-available data. We sifted through thousands of startups in their portfolios to find ones that had been founded or co-founded by women.

We only found one investor whose portfolio contains mostly female-founded or co-founded startups. That investor is Charlie O'Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Women-created companies make up 61% of his portfolio.


Forerunner Ventures, which is comprised of all female investors, followed Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Its portfolio is 33.3% women; the VC firm average was 14.1%.

O'Donnell created his seed stage fund in 2012 after he departed First Round Capital. He has backed 13 startups, including Orchard (co-founded by Angela Ceresnie), Editorially (co-founded by Mandy Brown) and Windowfarms ( founded by Britta Riley).

O'Donnell says the gender issue in tech isn't because VCs are choosing to invest in men over women. Instead, he thinks fewer women pitch VCs than men.


"The main driver of the skew towards men getting venture capital, statistically, is that far more men are pitching," O'Donnell wrote on his blog "Of course, you can take into consideration all sorts of things like encouragement, perception - like what would you think your chances were if you see that a firm has never funded a female - but the fact remains that once you actually pitch, your chances don't appear to be any worse than when guys pitch."

A lot of studies show that fewer women found tech companies than men, which isn't something VCs can help either. While results widely vary, one 2012 study published by Women Who Tech claimed that only 5% of tech startups are owned by women.

O'Donnell says he doesn't seek out female founders. Instead, he says his tendency to invest in experienced, first-time founders who build thoughtful teams has inadvertently made his portfolio diverse.


"I couldn't really care less what gender you are as long as you've got the ability to make my investors a big return," he writes.

Here's the chart [click to enlarge]:

graph vc firms women

Business Insider