The Vast Majority of Venture Dollars Go to White Male Founders, Report Finds
Francesca Billington is a dot.LA editorial intern. She's previously reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. Before joining dot.LA, she was a communications fellow at an environmental science research center in Sri Lanka. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.
Though more women and entrepreneurs of color are leading venture-backed startups across the country, founding teams are still predominantly white, male and located in the Bay Area.
A report from RateMyInvestor and the nonprofit Diversity VC looked at data from 2018 to 2019 — before the killing of George Floyd and others thrust the country into a racial reckoning. Using data from its previous report taken over a four-year period beginning in 2013, it tracked the top 100 U.S. VC firms accounting for $68 billion in funding across 3,304 companies.
Just as the first report found, startups funded by the top VCs were nearly 90% male. Seventy-two percent of founders were white and a little over a third — 35% — were based in Silicon Valley. Almost 14% were Ivy League-educated.
"Women and people of color are starting companies at a record rate and yet, investors are still saying there is a talent pipeline problem," said Shila Nieves Burney, founder and managing partner at Atlanta-based Zane Ventures.
In Los Angeles, female founders are funded at a higher rate than the national average. Nearly 30% of the companies funded in the city have a female founder, compared to 22% nationally. Data also shows that Black founders are more likely to be backed if they are based in L.A.
Funding raised by companies the authors tracked nearly tripled in 2019 from six years earlier. And companies in L.A. raised 7.5% of all seed funding over the time period analyzed. The average amount per deal represented 20% more than the national average.
Despite the bump and considerable attention paid to the issue last year, many figures from that first study have barely budged.
The Bay Area still holds a tight grasp on VC funding, but more investors are turning to companies founded in other cities. An average of 388 funds were launched outside of the Bay Area, New York and L.A. in 2018 and 2019, according to PitchBook data. That number hit just 180 between 2013 and 2017.
The report released Thursday found that over two-thirds of investments were brought in from other cities, 28% of which came outside of major metropolitan areas.
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As Big Tech cracks down on moderation after the Capitol attack and Wall Street braces for more fallout from social media's newfound influence on stock trading,
legislators are eyeing changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. On Wednesday, February 10, dot.LA brought together legal perspectives and the views of a founder and venture capitalist on the ramifications of changing the way that social media and other internet companies deal with the content posted on their platforms.
A critic of Big Tech moderation, Craft Ventures General Partner and former COO of PayPal David Sacks called for an amendment of the law during dot.LA's Strategy Session Wednesday. Tyler Newby and Andrew Klungness, both partners at law firm Fenwick, laid out the potential legal implications of changing the law.
David Sacks, Co-Founder and General Partner of Craft Ventures
David Sacks, Co-Founder and General Partner of Craft Ventures<p>David Sacks is co-founder and general partner at Craft. He has been a successful tech entrepreneur and investor for two decades, building and investing in some of the most iconic companies of the last 20 years. David has invested in over 20 unicorns, including Affirm, Airbnb, Bird, Eventbrite, Facebook, Houzz, Lyft, Opendoor, Palantir, Postmates, Reddit, Slack, SpaceX, Twitter and Uber.</p><p>In December 2014, Sacks made a major investment in Zenefits and became the company's COO. A year later, in the midst of a regulatory crisis, the Board asked David to step in as interim CEO of Zenefits. During his one year tenure, David negotiated resolutions with insurance regulators across the country, and revamped Zenefits' product line. By the time he left, regulators had praised David for "righting the ship", and PC Magazine hailed the new product as the best small business HR system.</p><p>David is well known in Silicon Valley for his product acumen. AngelList's Naval Ravikant has called David "the world's best product strategist." David likes to begin any meeting with a new startup by seeing a product demo.</p>
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Correspondent & Host and Head of Video at dot.LA<p>Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.</p>
Tyler Newby is a partner at Fenwick
Andrew Klungness is a partner at Fenwick
Sam Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of dot.LA
Sam Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of dot.LA<p>Sam Adams serves as chief executive of dot.LA. A former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters, Adams moved to the business side of media as a strategy consultant at Activate, helping legacy companies develop new digital strategies. Adams holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from the University of Southern California. A Santa Monica native, he can most often be found at Bay Cities deli with a Godmother sub or at McCabe's with a 12-string guitar. His favorite colors are Dodger blue and Lakers gold.</p>
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