The gender diversity of the UK’s venture capital industry has been recorded and analysed for the first time in ‘Women in UK Venture Capital 2017’, a study undertaken by Diversity VC and BVCA which reveals that
- Only 13% of decision makers (partners or equivalent) in UK venture capital are women
- 66% of UK firms have an no women decision makers
- 48% of UK firms have no women in their entire investment team
- Across all VC firms in the UK, 18% of investors are women
- 27% of all UK venture capital employees (both investment and non-investment roles) are women, this is far below the UK labour force average of 47%
- In the USA, only 11% of decision makers are women, but 45% of all VC employees are women.
Diversity VC and the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) collaborated on the research project to measure the number of women working for UK-based venture capital firms, and to understand their roles within them. The data was provided by Craft.co. As part of the research, over 1500 professionals from 160 venture capital firms were profiled.
This report should be a wake-up call for the venture capital industry in the UK. Women are significantly under-represented, and it is integral that the industry comes together to make a significant change. In no small part, venture capitalists are funding the future. Looking at ten of the world’s most valuable companies, six were fuelled by venture capital funding in their early years, so it is clear that the decisions that VCs impact the society in which we live. This is why we want 20% of decision makers in UK venture capital to be women by 2020” says Travis Winstanley, Co-Founder of Diversity VC and Games Investment Director at Catalis Group.
The lack of gender diversity in venture capital is one of the most important business issues of our time, and we are delighted to support this vital report by Diversity VC. As the national trade association for private equity and venture capital, we are committed to using our resources to encourage discussion and debate about the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining women in the industry. These results provide the firepower we need to continue to press this point, and we look forward to working with our members to improve these numbers in the years to come.” says Tim Hames, Director General of the BVCA
The research found that that only 13% of decision makers in venture capital investors are female, and that two thirds of firms (66%) have no female decision makers at all. The significance of these numbers is put into sharp focus when you consider the decisions that venture capitalists routinely make: UK-based venture firms invested over $4.8bn in 2016 alone.
Venture capital is a top-heavy industry, with most firms boasting more senior ‘decision makers’ than investors in mid-level or junior roles. According to our research, there are a total of 987 venture capital investors in the UK. Whilst women represent 25% of mid-level roles, and 29% of junior roles – better than the investment team average of 18% – it is still far behind the average for the UK labour force, which is 47%.
Of the 1,557 professionals working in UK venture capital, 572 work in non-investment roles such as finance, legal, and marketing. 43% of those in non-investment positions are women.
Larger venture capital firms, who employ 21 people or more, tend to fare better. On average, 37% of their investment teams are female. Medium firms, who employ between 6-20 people, are 26% female; and small firms, who have five or fewer employees, are only 15% female.
The UK compares favourably with the US, when looking at investment team numbers. US decision makers are 11% female, two percentage points behind the UK. Only 15% of all investors in the US are female, which is three per-cent behind the UK. However, 45% of all employees in US venture capital are women, which is a massive 18% ahead of the UK.
Diversity VC’s mission is to achieve 20% female representation by 2020.
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