Men are almost twice as likely to get VC funding than their female peers in the UK, that’s according to the startupDNA survey conducted by Telefonica’s Warya for London Technology Week.
The study found that men are 86% more likely to get VC funding than women, equating to almost two male-led startups getting this kind of injection of cash for every female-led one.
The survey found this gap decreases at lower funding levels, but still indicated that men are 59% more likely to secure angel investment than women.
Perhaps as a consequence of this apparent funding scarcity, women were 37% more likely to be self-funded than the men taking part in the research.
The team at Wayra surved 241 people from 222 different companies for the survey, of which 214 said they hold exec-level leadership positions.
Wayra is hoping it will encourage people working in the tech sector to ask more questions about their “inherent and acquired” DNA.
Zoe Peden, CEO of VC-backed social enterprise Insane Logic, said she doesn’t recognise this trend in funding but admits she doesn’t have a cross-UK view.
“I am surprised. My VCs, Ananda Ventures, who are Munich-based, say half of their portfolio is female CEOs. This was not a deliberate decision but a case of the best companies and they just happened to have female CEOs.
“If this is true, the more female CEOs that go through accelerators the better chance of these stats changing. Myself and my CEO friends went through Wayra in 2012 and we’re all still here and thriving.
“They’re all angel-backed and the next round will be VC for them, so perhaps the change to the data will begin to come in the next round, the next 12 to 18 months.”
Open to diversity?
Although 97% of the individuals surveyed said they are open to working in diverse teams and 83% believed this could bring new thinking to their company, none of the women who responded said they work in finance startups, with no men reporting that they work in the lifestyle sector.
While 34% of the startup execs surveyed said they come from outside the UK, there’s a clear academic divide in the UK’s startup ecosystem, with more than 80% of respondents stating they are university graduates. Of those, 68% also have parents who went to university.
Beats the Valley and the FTSE
Wayra found that 29% of respondents identified as women, which, when compared to international data, makes the UK “more diverse than other major startup ecosystems, including the US, Silicon Valley, NYC and Tel Aviv”.
UK startups are also 36% more likely to have female leaders than FTSE100 companies, the study found.
“We are fully aware that a startup in its infancy must focus on growth if it is to survive and may not fully appreciate the benefits of what diversity can bring,” said Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK & Wayra UnLtd.
“I passionately believe that if you actively recruit talent from diverse sources, you’ll not only strengthen your team and bring on additional expertise, you’ll also experience more growth as a result.”