Friday, July 26, 2013

70 percent of Entrepreneurs say Boston's Startup Community Could be More Inclusive to Women

Seventy percent of Boston-area entrepreneurs say that the hub's startup community is either sometimes or not at all inclusive to female entrepreneurs, according to a recent survey commissioned by the New England Venture Capital Association. In addition, the survey of 100 Boston-area entrepreneurs found that more needs to be done in terms of providing access to funding and other resources to female entrepreneurs in Boston. It's no secret that women are in the minority in the venture capital and tech communities. Moving forward the NEVCA will tackle this issue proactively by tracking the number of women entrepreneurs receiving venture financing and continuing the conversation about creating a community that attracts and retains more women in tech.

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According to the survey, fundraising in Boston, a critical activity for any entrepreneur looking to give life to their ideas is a challenge for female entrepreneurs. Only eight percent of female entrepreneurs said that being a woman had a positive impact on their fundraising, according to the report. Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents said that Boston's startup community is only sometimes inclusive to female entrepreneurs and six percent said that Boston's startup community is not at all inclusive to female entrepreneurs. Thirty percent of respondents said that in general, Boston is inclusive to female entrepreneurs.

"Boston has a crop of tremendously talented female entrepreneurs, and is doing no better or worse than any other major startup market as far as the ratio of venture-backed women to men founders. Our 'Lean In' breakfast with Sheryl Sandberg in April ignited a number of interesting conversations among startup companies and the investor community, and we are interested in propelling that conversation further and making explicit that Boston wants to be home to the best women in technology," said C.A. Webb, executive director of the NEVCA in Cambridge. 

NEVCA president and partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, Steve Kraus added, "We want women who are coming up through the ranks of some of Boston's fastest growing venture-backed companies to, like many of the men they work with, leave those companies eventually and start their own. And we want women founders to move to Boston to start their companies because they know this is the best place in the world to be a woman running a startup." 

Despite the fact that female entrepreneurs are the minority in the startup community, the report found there is an extremely dynamic group of women running startups in Boston, including Helen Greiner of CyPhy Works; Meredith Flynn-Ripley of HeyWire; Michelle Dipp of OvaScience; Katrine Bosley of Avila Therapeutics; Bettina Hein of Pixability; Paula Long of DataGravity; Anna Palmer of Fashion Project; and Lissy Hu of Careport Health among others. Still, 33 percent of survey respondents reported that there were no women on their management teams; 37 percent had only one woman on their management teams; 17 percent had two women on their management team and only nine percent had three women on their management team. Here is a link to NEVCA's 2013 list of women-run startups in Boston.

"CRV has seen tremendous success backing women entrepreneurs: Paula Long at Equallogic and DataGravity, Tushara Canekeratne at Virtusa, and Maria Cirino at Guardent have collectively created over $2 billion in shareholders' value and more than 7,000 jobs.  We would love to see more of those startups led by women," said Izhar Armony of Charles River Ventures.

The New England Venture Capital Association surveyed entrepreneurs in Boston from June 6th –June 24th about the inclusiveness of Boston's startup community towards women and how many women are in founder or leadership roles at the city's startups.

About the New England Venture Capital Association
The New England Venture Capital Association ( represents more than 700 venture capital professionals from 90 top firms, collectively managing more than $50 billion in investor capital. Its mission is to help ideas that matter become local businesses that benefit entrepreneurs, investors, and the world. To do so it advances the collective interests of member firms in keeping the region competitive, championing emerging and proven venture-backed companies, maintaining strong connections to local universities and talent, and supporting the region's thriving startup community.

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