We serve entrepreneurs every day at 99designs, getting to know their visions, goals and brand missions. Since we spend so much time working with this demographic, we wanted to learn more about the community as a whole. We conducted two surveys looking first at the differences between male and female entrepreneurs and then, later, at female entrepreneurs who are also moms. In both of these research studies, we noticed a significant funding gap between companies founded by men versus those started by women. With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look into the female-founded and female-led firms that successfully bridged this funding gap, raising at least one round of outside funding (Seed, Series A or Series B) in 2016.
By the numbers
Let’s take a closer look into companies that secured funding in 2016.
Overall, 3,003 companies secured Seed, Series A or Series B funding in 2016. How many of these 3,003 companies had at least one female founder? 479. That means that of all of the companies earning funding, just 16% of them have a woman in a senior leadership position.
There are 246 female-founded companies that have secured funding that also have a female CEO. Looking back at the total list of funded companies? Just 8% have both a female founder and female CEO.
A little over half—51%—of the companies funded in the past year with at least one female founder also have a female CEO.
Across coasts and industries
Female-led companies with secured funding account for an array of industries, from biotechnology to financial services. Healthcare companies represent the highest percentage of funded, female-founded companies with 13.4%, followed closely by commerce and shopping companies at 11%.
Although these funded companies are located throughout the United States, most are found in California and several major cities. The San Francisco Bay Area hosts 93 female-founded companies and is also home to the highest amount of funding overall. New York City has 53 of these companies, and is second in overall funding by dollar amount raised. These companies stretch coast to coast, and offer a wide range of industry categories.
Bridging the funding gap
Despite the growth in female-founded companies (of nearly five-fold since 2007), it’s clear that a funding gap remains. While it’s crucial to continue fighting gender bias in entrepreneurship, it’s also important to take time to celebrate these female-founded companies who are already bridging the funding gap and bringing us closer to a more equitable future.