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Paving Ways for Women in VC: Meet VWV's Female Co-Director Team
Venture capital has for a very long time looked pale, male, and stale (read: white old men). According to a study at the Harvard Kennedy School in the Women and Public Policy Program, women make up around 11% of investing partners at venture capital firms in the US and about 65% of all American VC firms don’t have even one female investing partner. Not only that, but the 30-year average of VC funding going to women has hovered around 2.5% for years now and saw a decrease in 2020. This is felt even more acutely by Black and Latina founders who received a mere 0.43% of venture funding in 2020.
This is not due to a lack of available pipeline, according to the data collected in the study, there are considerably more qualified women out there than there are female VCs. This is due, in part, to VC being a highly network-oriented business that has looked one way for a long time and so the people who are already in the industry tend to trust, network with, and ultimately bring in more people who look just like them.
Van Wickle Ventures is committed to changing this narrative. As a student-run fund and an evergreen fund, we are privileged to be able to have full autonomy in shaping what our fund looks like. As we stand today, with 20 members in the group, including Analysts-in-Training, we are at exactly 50% female representation. Not only that, but over 60% of the fund’s co-directors in its four year history have been women. Finally, of our seven portfolio companies, three are founded or co-founded by women. Today, an all female team of Co-Directors is handing off the fund to another all-female team of Co-Directors and we could not be prouder of that.
Student funds around the country should not be constrained by the same cultural and structural barriers that have led to disappointingly large gaps in gender diversity and in racial and ethnic diversity in the VC industry at large. Quite the opposite, we have the potential to pull an extremely diverse group of people into the fold of the VC industry early on in a way that hopefully can create a pipeline to the industry post-college. We have the potential to change what the industry looks like and we have to take that seriously. Van Wickle Ventures is committed to maintaining a diverse team of analysts and associates, to lifting up female and other underrepresented founders, and to continuing to democratize knowledge and networks of the VC industry. We do this because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s the smart thing to do and we will keep pushing ourselves to do it more on this International Women’s day and every day.