With just 2.1% of all VC investment, women’s funding remains ‘meh’ in Q1 2023


Things could have been worse, I think.

According to PitchBook, companies with all-female founders raised about $800 million, or 2.1%, of the estimated $37 billion invested in U.S. startups in the first quarter of 2023. In dollar terms, that’s a 53% year-over-year decline from the $1.7 billion all-female founding teams assembled in the first quarter of 2022.

The drop is no surprise. Venture and technology markets are not as confident as they have been in the past. A recession is still looming, geopolitical turmoil continues and technology stocks are not doing well. When the economy is volatile, risk appetite decreases, impacting company totals in general and certain founders in particular.

Female founders, already seen as inherently more risky than male founders, are often overlooked, ignored, and shelved until the next global social movement shakes up everyone’s intent for good.

Again measured in dollars raised, blended teams also saw their enterprise totals drop year-over-year, raising $7 billion in the first quarter of 2023. Last year, that cohort raised $15.8 billion.

However, the dollar amounts do not tell the whole story. Although they raised less capital in the first quarter of 2023, mixed teams are doing better than ever in terms of their share of all venture dollars, with 18.9% of capital invested so far this year in U.S. startups. Over the past two years, they raised an average of 17.5% of the total funding.

As the year progresses, this share is likely to change for the better or for the worse depending on the amount of capital invested in such teams and venture aggregates themselves.

Keeping track of venture dollars raised is a useful metric, albeit an incomplete one. We also want to know how many deals have been closed in total and by whom. Here the data may surprise.