Long road ahead: Report signals that European women in VC need support

27 May 2022

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A report into the state of gender diversity in VC funding in Europe suggests women general partners have significantly less investment power than men.

European Women in VC has published a report into the state of gender diversity across the venture capital space in Europe.

Findings indicated that, on average, 85pc of VC general partners are men and just 15pc are women.

The group was set up to advocate for more funding for women-led VCs and its members are spread out all over Europe.

It commissioned intelligence firm IDC to carry out a mix of desk and survey research, looking at more than 400 venture firms managing each at least €25m in assets under management. The report covered 27 EU countries and the UK.

The number of women general partners must increase to achieve a balanced gender structure at the VC funding level in Europe, according to the report. Women general partners also need access to larger pools of capital if they want to exert influence on the start-up market and be able to follow on with portfolio companies.

Analysis of actual investment power, or firepower, suggested that women general partners have 9pc of the investment power when it comes to the total assets under management, compared 91pc for men. This indicates that women tend to be general partners of smaller funds.

Infographic: European Women in VC

Infographic: European Women in VC

Anna Wnuk, head of community at European Women in VC, said the “problem is systemic” and so there needs to be “holistic solutions”.

“Capital imbalance is not only visible at start-up level, it exists across the entire value chain and must be tackled from the top of capital flows. We need more capital for female-led funds and female general partners on the fund management level. This is a solution for more venture money to reach female founders and in general to better address impact and smart investing.”

While European VC investment reached record-breaking highs last year, European Women in VC noted that there has been little change in the percentage of funding going to women founding teams.

Infographic: European Women in VC

Infographic: European Women in VC

Last year, European Women in VC supported a group of women VC professionals who presented a report to the European Commission calling out the lack of funding available for women-led venture capital and women founders.

One of the speakers at that presentation was European Women in VC co-founder Kinga Stanislawska. She co-founded and manages Experior VC, a venture capital firm founded and run by women.

“The strong emergence of biotech and life science funds of a significant size, in certain parts of Europe, is the early sign of progress in bringing more capital to the hands of female investors and creation of diverse investment teams,” she said following the group’s latest report.

“If this segment of funds was removed from the analysis, the picture of European VC management will show significantly a lower result for female presence across general partnerships,” she warned.

European Women in VC was supported in the creation of this report by IDC, Google for Startups, UBS, EY, Alter Domus, Isomer, Orrick, KfW Capital, Evli Growth Partners, PFR Ventures and the European Investment Bank.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.