The latest Invest Europe/European Investment Fund report on the European VC ecosystem tracks gender diversity in fine-grained detail. This is an important issue for us at Sofinnova, so we are glad it is getting the attention it deserves. However, the figures show that we need to continue to work together as an industry to improve.
The report, titled The VC factor: Gender lens edition, found that women held about 23% of European VC jobs and 12.5% of senior level investment positions in 2021 — and nine in ten of top-level female investors were working in male-majority teams. Meanwhile, 10.5% of start-up founders and CEOs were women, and all-female start-up teams secured just 2% total VC funding.
"The stark reality is that the European VC ecosystem is lagging behind in gender diversity, and this isn’t just a matter of reflecting the barriers of the industries it invests in," the report concludes. "In fact, there are additional visible and invisible barriers in the VC industry itself that hinder women's participation. So what can we do about it?"
One approach is to look at regional differences and learn from the best. The British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula had the best overall gender diversity rates for VC firms, with 13% and 14%, respectively.
Lisbon was the leading hub, counting 19.4 percent women among top-ranked VCs. When it comes to women leading VC-funded start-ups, Bratislava led the way with 17.1%. There are many more interesting bits of information in this data-heavy report, and we encourage you to read it in full.
What about Sofinnova Partners, you ask? Gender diversity is a significant priority for us, and we're happy to share.
- Across the firm, 56% of employees are women.
- Among Partners and Managing Partners, the rate is 38%
- Among our investment teams, which count 29% women overall, the three strategies that stand out are MD Start, with 50% women; Sofinnova Capital, with 40%; and Sofinnova Telethon, also with 40%.
Anne Osdoit, a Partner in our MD Start Strategy, provides a clear-eyed "Voice from the Industry" in the report:
“Investing in new technologies or new approaches, new ways of doing things is in a way shaping tomorrow’s world. As we're all aware, tomorrow’s world is made of half men, half women. So a more gender diverse VC market can create a world where everybody can relate to the new approaches, the new ways things are done, new products that are being sold in a more direct and natural way.”
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