Why aren’t venture capitalists seeing more female founders approach them, and do investors need to embrace diversity on their own teams? These were a few topics tackled Monday at Silicon Republic’s inaugural Female Founders Forum in Dublin.
While the first panel discussion had featured some of Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurs, such as Julia Hartz, co-founder and president of Eventbrite, and Geraldine MacCarthy, online sales and operations, Dropbox, the second panel saw input from the investors themselves, and panelists were asked if barriers to investment for women were a reality or a perception.
Ena Prosser, Fountain Healthcare Partners; Dr Helen McBreen, NDRC Investment Committee; John Kenny, Delta Partners; John O’Sullivan, ACT Venture Capital; and Anne Ravanona, Global Invest Her, discussed the reasons why venture capitalists might not be seeing more women founders coming through their doors.
Ravanona suggested that perhaps women sometimes waited to be invited.
There was also a discussion as to whether investors should be looking to ensure they have diverse teams themselves, in order to spot ‘different’ and more diverse opportunities.
There was a consensus that biases do exist, and that people often invest in people similar to themselves – so-called ‘pattern matching’. This is clearly a challenge if the majority of investor committees are made up of men here in Ireland, and globally.
Watch video highlights from the second panel discussion here:
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.