In 2019, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups; in 2020, that fell to 2.3%.
Historically, it has always been a challenge for women to successfully fundraise, especially at the pre-seed and seed level. Hwever, when the shutdowns began in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, venture capital firms and angel groups began stating that they were “doubling down on portfolio companies,” but often, what that translated to was “we're going to only invest in what we know,” which meant investing primarily in white male founders.
This was the subtle undertone that we didn't see discussed in the media, but was the lived experience of women across the globe. When women went to fundraise they were met with, “this is a really uncertain time. We can't afford to be taking any risks.” It’s sad to think that many investors consider women founders to be a risk, but change or different seems risky in the VC world. Perhaps this attitude is why progress has been especially hard in this area.
Marisa Warren, Co-founder and General Partner at ALIAVIA and Founder at ELEVACAO, heard these stories firsthand from her community of founders.