“There’s a strong chance the next Bill Gates isn’t going to look anything like the last one,” wrote Melinda Gates in a recent post taking venture capitalists to task for not putting diversity at the top of their agenda. “So I’m interested in finding solutions that will help ensure we recognize her when we see her.”
So am I. So I say: it’s time to own your gender-lens investing.
Why some fund managers don’t talk about gender:
Backlash when fundraising. When this happens it can sometimes be easier to avoid mentioning gender, get the money and then invest it with a (stealthier) gender lens once there has been a successful raise.
Perception you’re ‘less commercially-minded.’ There’s a (false) perception in some circles that any funds focusing on women-led or co-founded businesses are interested in pursuing an equality agenda rather than finding the most commercially viable ventures.
Entrepreneurs in the pipeline don’t like it. This is another perception issue. I’ve spoken to a few funds who’ve had entrepreneurs worry that it will be perceived they’ll raise capital because they’re women, and not because they’re great businesses. Particularly if they’re going to go after more capital to scale later on. There’s a concern that “if I took your capital and it was thought it wasn’t because I was the best, flat-out, others won’t come in.”
Read the full article about venture capitalism and gender at ImpactAlpha.
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