It’s Women’s History Month, and newsfeeds are ablaze with articles, videos and infographics on how to smash that glass ceiling and get more women into venture capital. Sheryl Sandberg is telling us to “Lean In” and Melinda Gates is teaching us about the link between time and poverty. Meanwhile, white males everywhere, who manage over 97% of investment capital in the U.S., are scrambling to check off diversity boxes.
As impact investors, creating equal opportunity is a foundational value of our industry. This is one of the many reasons we’re proactively seeking out investment opportunities with impact funds led by women for our upcoming Cohort 2. There is also plenty of statistical evidence to make the argument for more women investors.
- Women are great leaders—they are ambitious: 69% of female C-suite executives are extremely interested in starting a business in the next three years, compared to 29% of their male counterparts. They are also high-achieving: the same survey found that female-run businesses in the sample report higher profit before tax than male run businesses.
- Women are wealthy—they already own over half the investable assets in the United States and stand to inherit 70% of the wealth passed down over the next two generations. This doesn’t even include the money they will earn on their own. Following the money means following the women who have it.
- Women are more likely to be interested in impact—Around 40 percent of women surveyed by the Center for Audit Quality in D.C. said they were more inclined to invest in companies that were socially or environmentally responsible, while just 29 percent of men shared that sentiment.
To investors who are leading the way for women in this field, these statistics come as no surprise. “Women bring unique perspectives, experiences and a different emotional intelligence to the table. They ask questions that wouldn’t otherwise have been raised and influence team dynamics. Having mixed gender investment teams makes for a better decision-making process,” says Suzanne Biegel, the Founder of Catalyst at Large. “Ultimately, increasing the number of women investors is beneficial for both investors and the entrepreneurs they are funding.”
Women have long been thought of as the beneficiaries of impact, but there is undeniable proof that they are integral to creating it as well. Here at Capria Ventures, we strongly believe in diverse management teams— 40% of our staff is female and over 20% of our advisors are female.
Capria Accelerator’s application requests and submissions are also reflective of the increasing understanding of the benefit of having more women in impact investing. 19% of applications submitted to the first cohort were from women, and our second cohort has an even higher proportion. Considering the fact that less than 10% of existing fund managers in the U.S. are currently female, our application figures are an indicator of women’s growing interest in impact investing. Female fund managers are capable, enthusiastic and here to stay. Capria is proud to have three of these managers in our second Cohort. Alitheia Identity Fund is run by three women who bring deep investing experience and a firm belief that high-growth women-led SMEs in Africa are a huge overlooked opportunity.
Over the next few months, Capria will be highlighting the achievements of women investors in the impact space with our “Leading Women in Impact Investing” blog series. This blog series will create a platform for women in the field to share their ideas and advice both for peers and the next generation of women in impact investing. Stay tuned for interviews, stories and tips by some of the leading women in the sector from around the world.
Above is a map of application submissions for Cohort 1 and application requests for Cohort 2. The red markers represent female applicants and the blue ones are male. Multiple applications from a given geography not shown so each star does not represent only one application.