What are the actual percentages of women in startups? Do the numbers differ by industry, stage of venture, or position? And, are women and men paid differently in startups?
On a regular basis, I read articles that refer to or lament the imbalance between men and women in startups. For instance, this Forbes article states that only 4.08% of venture funding in 2006 went to tech startups with female chief executives. But what is the actual percentage of women in these startups? Do imbalances exist more in some areas than in others?
In this year’s CompStudy survey we added a gender question to our Executive Backgrounds section in both the IT and Life Sciences surveys. The resulting data include 2,202 C-level and VP-level executives from 459 private ventures (i.e., the average top-management team was comprised of 4.8 executives per venture). Of these ventures, two-thirds are IT and one-third are Life Sciences ventures.
The percentage of women across all of these ventures was 12.9%. However, this differed significantly between IT and Life Sciences: IT was 10.7% women, Life Sciences 17.6%.
I also examined the data by stage of venture, geography, and position. First, the chart below shows the differences by stage of the venture – in particular, between ventures that had raised 2 or fewer rounds of financing (i.e., earlier-stage ventures) and those that had raised more than 2 rounds (later-stage ventures). The percentage remains pretty steady in IT ventures across these stages of financing, but drops slightly in Life Sciences ventures.
Geographically, 29.4% of the executives were from ventures with their headquarters in California and 16.8% were from Massachusetts-based ventures, giving us a total of 46.2% from these two “hubs” of venture activity. (No other state had more than 5.5% of the executives.) As shown in the chart below, in Massachusetts, there were similar percentages of women across IT and Life Sciences, but in California and “non-hub” states, IT had much lower percentages of women.
The percentages differed dramatically by position within the firm. First, the chart below shows the percentages for C-level executives.Compared to Life Sciences ventures, IT has a higher percentage of CFOs, but lags in the other C-level positions.
Coming in my next post: “The Gender Gap in Startups, Part 2: Is There a Gender Wage Gap?”