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Venture capital / Women in tech

Here’s a list of 45 women investors in Philly

Women are underrepresented in venture capital. Here are some thoughts on leveling the playing field, and a great resource for female founders.

Venture capitalists opened up about failure at #Failfest during Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

Earlier this year, as the annual Angel Venture Fair was wrapping up, MilkCrate CEO Morgan Berman dropped some truth to Philly.com reporter Diane Mastrull:

“It is a little bit awkward for me to just go up to all these middle-aged men in sports jackets in the Union League.”

A diversity-challenged angel and venture capital scene isn’t just a Philly issue. The problem also goes beyond just gender. And as our sister site Generocity has reported, the lack of diversity is also found in the impact investment scene.

That’s why when a reader and community member — who wished not to be credited — sent us a list of 30+ women investors, we knew we had to publish it. Here’s the list, with additional contributions from Archna Sahay, Red and Blue Ventures’ Brett Topche, SRI Capital’s Doc Parghi and Safeguard’s Heather Hunter.

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Broad Street Angels’ Katherine O’Neill said a lack of gender diversity among investors translates directly to less women being funded. A recent report from PitchBook said women-founded companies are recipients of just under 5 percent of VC dollars in 2017. Although that’s an upswing of 100 percent from a decade ago, it’s still massively unequal.

“Generally, investors like to invest in people who are solving problems that they understand,” said Robin Hood Venture’s Ellen Weber in an interview with Philly Mag. “Since VC capitalists have typically been white men in their 40s and 50s who went to Ivy League schools, guess who gets funded?”

For O’Neill, leveling the playing field starts by getting more women to become angel investors. It’s a challenge, though, since many of them don’t fit the “risk profile.”

“I’m have a background in finance so I recognize that element of risk,” said O’Neill. “VC firms also need to have more women become partners. The women are there, they just don’t get hired.”

Weber, who has spoken about how investments aren’t always made with dollars, wrapped up her email to Technical.ly with a piece of advice that would further benefit the tech scene overall:

“We need more women to have exits, so they can invest.”

Companies: DreamIt Ventures / Safeguard Scientifics / Temple University

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