Women are not well represented in technical or founder roles — and that quantifying the issue is difficult because data is so scarce. In 2013, Pinterest technologist Tracy Chou famously highlighted the issue in her post, “Where are the numbers?, which exposed the lack of published data on the number of women in technical roles.
Subsequently startups like Etsy and Dropbox, and giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, began reporting those numbers. When it comes to startup founders, however, the picture is still limited.
Given CrunchBase’s role as the open data platform for the startup community, it was recognized that this data problem has to be solved. So this spring their research team was asked to look at the period of 2009-2014 and find every U.S.-based startup that had an initial funding during that period and do two things: identify the founders for each startup as well as their genders.
As a result, they now have a data set for the past five years to analyze the participation rate of women as founders of U.S.-based, funded startups!
And here is the top line: In the period from 2009 to 2014, CrunchBase records 14,341 U.S.-based startups that received funding. Of those, 15.5%, or 2,226, have at least one female founder. In 2009, 9.5% startups had at least one woman founder, but by 2014 that rate had almost doubled to 18%. At the same time, the absolute number of companies (along with the total number of startups) with a female founder more than quadrupled from 117 in 2009 to 555 in 2014. Based on those numbers, it seems reasonable to conclude that there has been a steady increase in the number of women founders in the past five years.Read More >>