Female check-writers alone aren’t enough to close the female fundraising gap, data shows

Hello, and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.

This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single person, think about their work and unpack the rest. This week Natasha interviewed Kaisa Snellman, an economic sociologist and an associate professor of Organizational Behavior and academic director of the INSEAD Gender Initiative. We know, we know, it's a flex.

We’re going to talk about: Kaisa’s recent Harvard Business Review piece with Isabelle Solal: For Female Founders, Fundraising Only from Female VCs Comes at a Cost. The duo's research asserts that women-led startups whose first round was raised exclusively from female VCs were 2x less likely to raise a second round regardless of initial funding round size, industry, geographic location or prestige of the investor.

Listen to the whole conversation before you jump to conclusions, but let's just say that this conversation really got into the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.


The data is both revolutionary and provocative.

Here's what we got into:

  • How people see female founders who just raise from female investors, and the pitching bias that continues to exist in the world.

  • Why the answer to imbalances is more complicated than getting female check-writers to the table.

  • And finally, we talk about how diversity quotas and funds may have unintended consequences that are worth thinking a bit more about.

Equity will be back on Friday with a familiar voice you may be missing, but you can keep up with us in the meantime on Twitter @EquityPod.

For episode transcripts and more, head to Equity's Simplecast website.

Equity drops at 10:00 a.m. PT every Monday and at 7:00 a.m. PT on Wednesdays and Fridays, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. TechCrunch also has a great show on crypto, a show that interviews founders, one that details how our stories come together and more!