It was a fantastic year for European technology, with nearly $ 35 billion of funds invested in companies set up in Europe. But there is one caveat: women's share of funding has become weaker over the last four years.
A report published by VC Atomico based in London describes a gloomy trend for female entrepreneurs. 2015, the 11% of investment in Europe, was granted to mixed-gender groups and women only. This year, the rate dropped to 8,4%.
In other words, for every 100 dollars invested in Europe by 2019, $ 92 went to the funding groups that were all male.
One explanation put forward by the report is that the largest investment rounds always go to male founders, which destroys the overall share of capital raised by more than one gender group. No investment agreement worth $ 100 million or more has been signed with a group of women in the last four years, and only 7% of these deals went into mixed groups the 2019.
Sarah Nöckel, investment partner at VC's Dawn Capital, told ZDNet: "Europe is lacking in diversity, in general, there is still unconscious bias against women, more training is needed to change attitudes."
The issue is not that women are absent from him technological space. Of the 1.200 European technology founders involved in the research, almost a quarter were identified as women.
The report also found that women and men are almost as skilled as the sciences and engineering careers. In fact, in some countries, such as Lithuania, the number of women is scientists and engineers surpass that of men.
Women can and do find companies technologytherefore. the problem is that they are then struggling to raise enough funds to develop their plans.
“The women are there. The point is not that VCs are struggling to find them, ”Nöckel said. “The main problem, rather, is access. Its ecosystem business it's a tight circle of people that hasn't changed for years, and if you're out of that circle it's hard to get past the first hurdle. "
And when we look at the investment teams that come up with the financing decision, the trend is crystallizing: the report effectively shows that there is a striking gender imbalance within the VC industry.
While the share of women investors in the lower positions has risen this year to 37%, it remains that women in senior positions, which are more likely to make key investment decisions, represent only 13% of European investors.
"Increasing diversity in VC funds is an important part of encouraging more founders," said Sophia Bendz, a partner at Atomico. "If investors are more representative of the diversity of society, we will reach a more diverse set of entrepreneurs."
It is not just gender diversity that needs to be addressed: the report also signaled that 84% of founders describe themselves as white and 82% as academics.
However, European VCs are distinguished as to whether the industry is dynamic enough to diversify its classes. The report also states that the issue of diversity has caused the greatest level of divergence views among VC respondents. About one third of them agreed that the industry has taken significant steps to improve the diversity of the founders they support - a quarter disagreed and the rest of the respondents disagreed or disagreed.
In addition, VCs do not all take equal measures to improve gender representation. While the vast majority of women VC respondents said that they are increasingly focusing on attending events involving various founders, that was only 36% of the male respondents.
Ekaterina Gianelli, a partner at VC's Inventure company, told ZDNet that the VC site, despite discussing the issue "a long time," still lacks clear action. “However actions they count us, ”he said. "Everyday behaviors in our team, the promotions we make, the startups we return to."
For Gianelli, under-representation of women slows down the entire technological ecosystem. That is why he is constantly studying the composition of the team when investing. Unless a group is different from the beginning, he said, it is almost impossible to correct it later.
However, diversity is not yet the focus of every VC: according to Nöckel, integration is still not the norm, despite being a hot topic. "We need to begin to see it as a fundamental problem so that we can remove the barrier between investor and founder," he said.
Nöckel is positive that change is happening, albeit at a very slow pace. He stressed that such a change cannot happen overnight, and it took "about 10 years" before any significant change could be achieved.
The report identified 28 initiatives only at United Kingdom, which are working to achieve more diversity and integration in the technology industry. They include meetings, events, counseling services, collaborative work and even coding schools.