Recently there has been a growing swell of interest and concern around the lack of female partners in venture capital firms. Earlier this year, @danprimack wrote a great article for Fortune Magazine entitled Venture Capital's Stunning Lack of Female Decision-Makers. The article found that just 4% of senior voting partners at venture capital firms are women. According to the NVCA, even if you include non-investment female partners (marketing, CFO), that number only grows to 11%. A recent study on women in the Canadian VC landscape was equally dismal. For comparison, in other industries structured as partnerships, such as law or accounting firms, women represent between 16% - 21% of partners.
Then it hit me...like a large man dressed as a mystical animal wearing a pink fanny pack. I'm the unicorn in VC land. Despite the reports of female scarcity, I have lots of experience working with and for female decision-makers during my 15 year VC career. In my 20s, I had female peers at the Associate and VP level. In my 30s, I reported to a female VC Partner (and CEO). I also requested her over the male partner that I was initially to report to. The first VC firm that I was promoted to a voting partner had 2 women out of 5 partners. In my 40s, I co-founded my own venture capital firm, McRock Capital, with a woman who is hands-down one of the best and brightest VCs I had ever worked with.
I have a unique perspective. I'm accustomed to sitting around Monday morning partners meetings debating and voting with women about which entrepreneurs should get funded. I have also worked with female Board members and CEOs. Now I'm growing my VC firm alongside a female co-founder.
I obviously think working alongside women is a significant competitive advantage for a startup as well as my own VC firm. I have many stories to illustrate the subtle and blatant benefits of gender diversity in VC land.
Here are just a few of my observations:
If you want to hear more nuggets from the magical fields where the pink mystical unicorn roams, write a comment.
"THEN IT HIT ME...LIKE A LARGE MAN DRESSED AS A MYSTICAL ANIMAL WEARING A PINK FANNY PACK"