A look at progress toward venture equity this Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women’s Equality Day, otherwise known as the day women were granted the right to vote. There’s nuance to the date, of course, as Indigenous women weren’t guaranteed that right in every state until 1962 and Black women weren’t allowed to vote until 1965.

This story of delayed progress is still seen in every American industry and sector. Venture capital is no different. Overall, women received 2.3% of the $341 billion in venture funds secured by U.S. startups last year — that’s around $7.7 billion , and it was a record sum for solely women-founded companies.

Progress in the amount of venture capital funding raised by companies with all-women teams has been slow and daunting, if steady. Looking at PitchBook data , in 2008, all-women founding teams raised $461 million out of the nearly $37 billion invested in U.S. startups that year. By 2012, that number jumped to $750 million (out of more than $41 billion) and then to $1.6 billion (out of more than $72 billion) in 2014.

“More women need to be funded, and the round sizes need to be larger.” Christie Pitts, general partner, Backstage Capital

The cohort saw a slight dip in 2016, raising $1.4 billion (out of nearly $78 billion), a sum that jumped to a stunning $3.1 billion (out of around $140 billion) in 2018. From there, the sums raised by all-women founding teams fell slightly again in 2020, eventually landing where it is today: $3 billion in venture funds, compared to the $144.2 billion invested in American startups through the first two quarters of 2022.

These numbers tell a story as old as time — that change is far from linear.