Why we launched VC Women Down Under
At the start of this year, Folklore and Cut Through Venture’s State of Australian Startup Funding report painted a pretty bleak picture of the female founder experience: 22% of total capital invested went to startups with at least one female founder, and 82% of women believed their gender impacted their ability to raise money from VCs.
It’s difficult to understand why the numbers are where they are, and it’s no doubt indicative of a complex and bigger top-of-funnel problem that begins in the classroom and continues as women enter the workforce. Women made up less than a quarter of students studying STEM in 2019.
But maintaining a healthy ecosystem requires us to examine our own behaviour. Are we upholding the principles and standards to which we hold ourselves accountable? As our venture ecosystem has its coming-of-age moment, it has a real opportunity to create a diverse and inclusive community of funders from the start.
That sparked our aha moment. We realised that if we wanted change, we should do something about it.
With VC Women Down Under, our primary goal was to bring all women working in VC across Australia and New Zealand together so that we can connect, share insights and support one another. We’re blown away by the reception from so many powerhouse women and various VC firms across Australia and New Zealand; since launching, we’ve had nearly 200 incredible women across every type of fund, every type of role and every experience level join us.
We have another goal for this group: to demystify careers in VC and show that there are many, many pathways into the industry, so that we can, in turn, bring more women into VC—whether in investment, operations, platform, or cross-functional roles. We believe that bringing more women into the industry will boost capital allocation to female-founded companies. At Folklore, 60% of our team are women, and we know our peers have strong and growing representation, too. But these stats can be even better and we are committed to this goal more than ever before.
Change of this scale doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen without collective action. And so we’re calling on other firms to join us in pledging to hold themselves accountable with regard to diversity.
To all the women who are currently working in venture capital, join the group and help us drive further representation. And for those considering a career in VC or a female founder looking for funding, keep an eye out for opportunities to link up with our growing community.
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