Number of VC-backed companies with at least one female founder rose in 2019

VC investment into female-founded companies increased slightly in 2019, breaking a new record, a report found.

Lack of VC support for female-founded startups has been a topic of discussion in recent years among investors.

This interest on increasing gender diversity among venture firm portfolio companies may be beginning to make a dent. The number of companies and total funding that went to companies started by women saw an uptick in 2019, according to the latest data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Last year, a record number of companies with at least one female founder received VC funding. A total of 2,184 companies featuring co-founding with at least one female on the founding teams raised capital in 2019, a small increase from 2,057 such companies funded in 2018.

The small gain is part of an ongoing trend. The share of all VC-backed companies that have at least one female on the founding team has steadily climbed over the past decade, reaching 22.8 percent in 2019 up from 12.1 percent in 2009.

But the portion of total VC funding that was raised by companies with diverse founding teams reached only 14.2 percent in 2019, the report found.

Gender diversity gains are less pronounced when it comes to all-female founding teams. In 2019, only 6.8 percent of all VC deals were with companies where all the founders were women, a very small increase from 4.1 percent of total VC activity that went to a fully female team a decade earlier.

A smaller share, or 2.7 percent, of all US VC dollars were invested in companies founded only by women last year. This number hovered between 2 percent and 3 percent for most of the last decade.