Only 14% of VCs in Canada are women, new report finds

That women are seriously under-represented in Canada’s technology industry is hardly news, and a new report suggests one reason might be that they’re seriously under-represented at the companies funding the tech industry too.

According to female-focused accelerator Female Funders’ “Women in Venture” report, released Wednesday, only 14 per cent of partners at Canadian venture firms are women, which means the vast majority of venture capitals (VC) dollars – 67 per cent – are controlled by investment teams with no women in senior roles.

That gender disparity plays a key role in the vicious cycle documented by study after study after conversation after leaked memo after controversy after conference after column: Not only do women – like anyone – need connections to enter the industry; and not only organizations without women at the top are more likely to alienate or even exclude women at their points of entry or in middle management; but as prime examples of the latter, male-majority VCs aren’t likely to fund women-led startups in the first place.

“While Canada is leading the conversation about women in entrepreneurship, we also need to consider who’s on the other side of the table,” Female Funders executive director Lauren Robinson said in a July 11 statement. “Deal flow often comes from pre-existing networks, which explains why when investment teams include women, they are more likely to invest in female entrepreneurs. Until we have women on both sides of the table — among both entrepreneurs and investors — we won’t see real change.”

The report’s authors noted that the percentage of women in Canadian VC is double the rate in American VC, where only seven per cent of venture capitalists are women, but hardly presented that as something to be proud of: In fact, researchers also found that despite the lack of women in VC firms, the number of female accredited investors earning at least $250,000 (so-called “angel investors”) are growing at a faster rate than their male counterparts. In the last decade, the number of angel investors who are women grew by 49 per cent, versus 16 per cent for men during the same period.

Other highlights from the report, which was produced in partnership with data firm Hockeystick and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO):

  • No venture partners at Canadian VCs are women;
  • 14 per cent of an average angel group’s members are women, versus 22 per cent in the U.S.;
  • Only 33 per cent of VC firms include “senior women” in some capacity; of that total, 16 per cent include female general partners, and another 12 per cent include women GPs or partners (below);
Courtesy Female Funders

Then there’s this:

Courtesy Female Funders. Click for a larger version.

The report was accompanied by an announcement that Female Funders is launching its summer 2018 Angel Academy, with participants joining an eight-week learning program that will include mentorship and support from 12 VC partners including OMERS Ventures and ScaleUp Ventures before making their first angel investment.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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