In the US, women-owned businesses made $34 billion in sales and employed 121 million people in 2016 - and the number of women-owned companies continues to increase each year. Despite the fact that only 4.8% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, female entrepreneurs and business leaders are paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps. While there is clearly much work to be done around this critical issue, two women have created a tool that should continue moving things in the right direction.
Sustian Dong, a partner at Female Founders Fund, and Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, a partner at MDC Ventures, organized and hosted a dinner in 2015, with the goal of connecting with other women in New York City's startup scene and creating a database of these likeminded women. This one dinner led to bi-monthly gatherings, and before long Dong and Peltz-Zatulove were fielding requests for participation from women across the globe. Now, less than four years after the directory was launched, almost 1,000 women, representing over 600 funds and more than 25 countries, have added their profiles to the global directory.
The directory is not only an excellent tool for women to connect with each other, but also for Dong and Peltz-Zatulove to gather information about women in the industry.
The data reveals that women tend to invest early on, in the seed stage or Series A investment opportunities. Women also tend to invest mostly in financial technology, healthcare, and enterprise solutions. Currently, the top cities for female venture capitalists include San Francisco, New York, and London, but emerging markets in the near future could include the likes of Tel Aviv, Sydney, and Berlin.
Another important function of the directory is to provide a resource for women venture capitalists looking for support from others with similar experiences and professional interests. The hope is that by connecting women from various backgrounds, industries, and geographic regions, this community can continue to grow and form new collaborations to benefit all women in venture capital.