It’s Becoming Hard To Believe When Venture Capitalists Say ‘We Don’t See Gender, We Fund Ideas’!

          If you have been to Venture Capitalist events you would have heard some people say that they fund women owned start ups and idea stage company, that they don’t see gender when they fund companies and that they only look at scalable ideas.

          “We don’t see gender, we fund ideas”.

          This is the same sentiment that is echoed by privileged individuals during discussions on caste, gender or race, and hence nothing new. 

          Ground reality shows this to be a misconception

          Whatever individuals and individual VC’s might believe the fact of the matter is that despite government support schemes, only 0.3% of venture capital funding in India went to women-led startups in 2021. If they staunchly believe that they do not see gender when they fund and only good ideas matter, then does it warrant that among women only 0.3% approximately had good ideas?

          The Zinnov-Nasscom India Report 2022 showcased that about 36% of unicorns and potential unicorns in the country have at least one female founder or co-founder but every venture will not become a unicorn!

          There is a common misconception that there are numerous platforms, quotas, and options available for women entrepreneurs, leading to the belief that women are well-represented. However, the opposite is true. While there are many platforms and quotas that exist we have only been able to scratch the surface of a larger issue.

          We have worked with and supported women entrepreneurs

          Initiatives like #BreakingBarriers by Women’s Web have been working to support women entrepreneurs since 2015. We have found that women as entrepreneurs are represented in various sectors:

          • 40% women are tech-enabled with a business focus on edu-tech, fin-tech, digital entertainment, and fem-tech/ healthcare.
          • 15% business owners are women in tech who build core software to impact healthcare, education, and web-development.
          • 30% women cater to businesses (B2B) through investments, marketing opportunities, and collaborations and visibility.
          • 15% women directly focused on customers (B2C) catering to their mental and physical well-being, and personality development.

          Women entrepreneurs agree that there is a clear gender bias against women led businesses

          In a survey of the same audience we did in 2019, we asked them: “How much do you agree that a women starting business in India faces more challenge than a man? Around 49% women strongly agreed with this statement.

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          This shows that women do perceive gender as an important factor that adds to the challenges that they face. In the same group, 91% of these women entrepreneurs used personal funds and savings as the source to start their business and cite access to capital as a primary challenge they face.

          Even Govt of India reports show presence of a bias against women entrepreneurs

          According to the Government of India’s 2021-22 annual report on the MSME sector, only 20.37% of MSMEs in the country are currently led by women entrepreneurs. So where is this perspective of gender is no longer an issue to be discussed coming from?

          Given these realities, it becomes essential to ask the question – From where is the perspective that “gender is no longer an issue” coming from?

          Despite the progress made in certain areas, it is evident that significant challenges and inequalities persist, particularly for women entrepreneurs. Acknowledging these challenges and working towards creating a more inclusive and equitable environment is crucial for genuine progre


          About the Author

          Anju Jayaram

          A traveler at heart and a writer by chance a vital part of a vibrant team called Women's Web. I Head Marketing at Women's and am always evolving new ways in read more...

          71 Posts | 357,369 Views

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