Gender and Culture in Venture Capital

Besides being a moral issue, gender equality in venture is a huge business opportunity that most venture capital firms are ignoring. But unconscious bias and other factors can lead venture capitalists to leave a lot of money and (female) talent on the table.

Fortunately, behavioral science offers us a proven roadmap to sustainable, systemic improvement on gender diversity.

We were joined by Anisha Asundi and Siri Chilazi, both Research Fellows at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School as part of their Women and Public Policy Program. Their research has identified the drivers of gender gaps in the VC investor base as well as in VC funding decisions, and offers several behavioral design interventions for firms to overcome the effects of systematic bias and improve gender diversity in this industry.



Women 2.0: I’m sure everyone here knows the stats about how much – or how little – women get funded. The 2017 stats for women-only founded companies were around 2%, worse so for women of color who are founders. Unfortunately those stats didn’t get much better in 2018. Luckily what we’ve seen is that there’s been a great influx of capital that’s being offered now, funds being built that are women funding women – and excellent trend.

But still, in the traditional funding space, there’s simply way too much money on the table to ignore some of the biases that are happening when cheques get written out, and that whole space is moving pretty slowly.

This is a two-sided market place. If women founders are going to advance, we’ve got to have money get in their hands, and that’s the nugget that our researchers and guests are trying to tackle.

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