Funding for women-founded start-ups in Australia defies the global downturn
“The first thing for me would be to have more women in the VC room,” Ms. Wood said. “I can’t tell you how many times we sat down with men, and it was just men, all the men on the VC side and no women.”
Ms Downs and Ms Wood said it was difficult to say whether it would have been easier to raise funds if they were men or a man as a co-founder.
“It’s really hard to go there, ‘Would it have been any different if there had been a boy on our team?’” Ms. Wood said. “Would our valuation have been higher? Perhaps. It’s almost a conversation that you don’t want to have with yourself, because you’re like “Oh my God, maybe I should have had someone sitting there.”
The male dominance of venture capital firms at higher levels is well documented. A report released last year by the Australian Investment Council looked at 160 companies among institutional investors, private equity firms and venture capitalists and found that 33% had no women on their investment team. .
Jackie Vullinghs, director of Australian venture capital firm Airtree Ventures, said things were changing as women rose through the ranks of venture capital in Australia.
“I think it just took a while for the industry to mature because it was mostly men who started these funds,” she said. “It looks like a lot of the people moving up to the next level now are women and hopefully that will have an impact on changing those stats.”
Samantha Wong, partner of Blackbird Ventures, said the number of female investors in the Australian start-up ecosystem compared to other ecosystems is high.
“We are definitely over our weight in this regard,” she said. “We probably haven’t seen enough women entering the sponsorship level in Australian companies yet, but the pipeline is building. “
Ms. Wong said that in venture capital, most of the money still goes to a small proportion of companies, so five startups accounting for 84% of the total capital raised by women co-founders was not surprising.
“I think sometimes these things are presented as negative, but it’s such a positive story that a lot of our unicorns, the most valuable businesses in our ecosystem, come from these founding teams of various genders,” he said. she declared. “I think we can be an example for the rest of the world. It just proves what the data is already telling us, which is that mixed leadership teams outperform those who are not. “