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Research spotlights lack of women in UK venture capital industry

diversity uk vc

Just 13% of decision makers in the UK venture capital industry are female.

That’s according to the ‘Women in UK Venture Capital 2017’ report produced by Diversity VC and the British Venture Capital Association (BCVA), which profiled more than 1500 professionals from 160 VC firms.

Additionally, the research also found that two thirds of firms (66%) have no female decision makers at all.

There are 987 venture capital investors in the UK, the report says, while women represent 25% of mid-level roles, and 29% of junior roles – although considerably better than the investment team average of 18% – these figures are still significantly lower than the average for the UK labour force, which currently stands at 47%.

Out of the 1,557 professionals working in the UK venture capital industry, almost 600 (572) work in non-investment roles such as finance, legal and marketing. Some 43% of those in non-investment roles are female.

Speaking about the findings, Travis Winstanley, co-founder of Diversity VC and games investment director at Catalis Group, said the report should serve as a wake-up call for the UK VC industry, which invested more than $4.8bn in 2016 alone.

“Women are significantly under-represented, and it is integral that the industry comes together to make a significant change. In no small part, venture capitalists are funding the future. Looking at 10 of the world’s most valuable companies, six were fuelled by venture capital funding in their early years, so it is clear that the decisions that VCs impact the society in which we live. This is why we want 20% of decision makers in UK venture capital to be women by 2020,” he said.

The statistics among larger VC firms, which employ more than 21 people, are somewhat better, though. On average, the report says, 37% of those working in these companies are women.

Some 26% of employees at medium-sized VC firms, which employ between six to 20 people, are female. In contrast, only 15% of people at small firms (with less than five employees) are women.

With this in mind, Tim Hames, director general of the BVCA, said: “The lack of gender diversity in venture capital is one of the most important business issues of our time, and we are delighted to support this vital report by Diversity VC.

“As the national trade association for private equity and venture capital, we are committed to using our resources to encourage discussion and debate about the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining women in the industry. These results provide the firepower we need to continue to press this point, and we look forward to working with our members to improve these numbers in the years to come.”

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