Growthink Research of Los Angeles, California and Chicago-based re:invention, inc. just released a pioneering report, Venture Funding for Women Entrepreneurs. This report is based on a comprehensive analysis of 1,860 privately-held companies that raised over $19 billion of venture capital in 2003, and it profiles 84 women-led funded ventures and over 670 funded companies with women executives. Analysis conducted by Growthink Research in partnership with re:invention, reveals the gaps between women-led and male-led venture capital funded business ventures.

“The disparity in funding between ventures led by males and females continues, but there are several areas of note in which women-led companies are performing better than others” announced study author Corey Lavinsky, CEO of Growthink Research, a leading venture capital research firm. “Leading the pack are women-led biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies which collectively raised $289 million. Further, women-led companies in the fields of HR software, e-mail/messaging software, and imaging technologies all raised more than 10% of the total dollars invested in their particular fields.”

This past March a Kauffman Foundation funded study found the venture capital industry was dominated by males and attributed the lack of women decision-makers and limited network connections to fueling the female entrepreneur funding gap. The Kauffman-funded research was based on data from 1995 to 2000.

“Instead of bemoaning findings in this new report as yet another blow to women, we should be asking what can we do and where do we go from here?” suggests Kirsten Osolind, CEO of re:invention, a marketing consulting company dedicated to women-led businesses and study sponsor. “We need to cultivate programs that help venture capitalists scale their business models and identify new high potential women entrepreneurs, as well as encourage, support, and promote visibility of women entrepreneurs in their attempts to stand out when raising startup capital.”

Key Findings in the Report
·Women headed 4.5% of all funded firms and received less than their fair share of capital (4.2%). This amounts to 84 women-led companies that raised $783.8 million.
·Over 200 investors provided venture capital to privately-held women-led companies in 2003, led by eight that funded three or more ventures.
·Women-led companies in the healthcare sector dominated all women-led firms receiving funding, receiving nearly 55% of funds.
·Women-led firms raised more than 10% of the total dollars invested in the following subsectors: Agricultural Biotechnology (17.5%), HR software (14.2%), imaging technologies (14.1%), and e-mail/messaging software (11.5%).
· More than one-third of the funding went to companies in the Bay Area.

Research Methodology and Data Verification

Growthink Research identified 1,860 private, U.S.-based ventures that received equity investments in 2003 through surveys of companies, venture capitalists and corporate investors; articles in newspapers, magazines, and trade publications; press releases; wire reports; and a network of regional contacts. Companies were contacted to verify collected information including their funding amount, investors, funding round and date of funding. Growthink Research also sent surveys to over 2,000 investors to verify company portfolios and request the disclosure of other investments.

Sector Analysis

Thirty seven of the eighty four women-led companies (44%) were in the Healthcare sector. Healthcare companies accounted for more than half ($427.7 million) of the total funding raised by women. Twenty five companies in the Business Software & Services sector raised $165.3 million, followed by twelve companies in the Connectivity sector that raised $130.1 million. In comparison, 60% of all male led funded firms fell into the Connectivity and Business Software & Services sectors, with only 24% categorized as Healthcare firms.

“The quantitative findings in this important report validate the experience we have had at Springboard since we launched in 2000. We’ve uncovered a tremendous talent pool of women entrepreneurs launching and growing venture backable businesses. Shining a spotlight, as this report does, on this untapped source of quality deal flow will only increase the fortunes of both the women-led firms and their wise investors.” said Amy Millman, President of Springboard Enterprises.

The full report is available at