The Future is Female

This week, Ivan Levingston at Bloomberg reported that a Swedish investment firm is employing AI technologies to identify companies with a female founder, to prioritize diversity in its portfolio. Levingston writes, “Women are underrepresented at all parts of the venture capital process — making up fewer numbers of partners at the funds and getting less attention and investment as founders. Most venture capital firms have no female partners.” This is impactful in the market because, as Levingston points out, “[…] while businesses with at least one female founder generated more revenue, they got a fraction of the investment of their all-male counterparts.”

How can we identify female-led companies with tools available to us? Start with the PitchBook database, available through Lippincott Library.

Once you’ve created your PitchBook account, you’ll navigate using the left menu. To run a search for female founders and company executives, you’ll click on the People tab then expand by clicking on People > 

Screenshot of the extended People search in PitchBook

Now you can enter criteria of interest; first, of course, you’ll want to use the Gender menu to select Female. 

Screenshot of the drop-down menu for Gender in a PitchBook People search, selecting Female

Next, you’ll want to limit by position to find those at the top of their company. You can start by using the Position Level(s) menu to limit by title, including C-suite positions like Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, and more. 

Screenshot of several selections of Position Levels, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Information Officer

If you want to limit to those women who also founded or co-founded their company, you’ll also check off the Founder/founding partner box. 

Screenshot of the selection box to narrow a People search to Founder/founding partner

Perhaps you’re interested in identifying the Wharton alumni who are female founders or C-suite executives. You can easily narrow your search even further by using the University/Institution menu to search for university of pennsylvania and selecting University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) from the choices available. This will search through the bios of our female execs to find those that have identified themselves as being Wharton alumni. 

Screenshot of the University/Institution drop-down menu search for University of Pennsylvania, selecting Wharton

Now we’re ready to view our results! Click on the blue Search button in the top right corner to see a list of our matching female founders/executives in a table format; the results are interactive, so that you can click into the linked cells to go directly into someone’s profile. Click the Edit Table button to change the formatting or columns in your view.  

Screenshot of a table of results from a PItchBook search for Wharton alumni female founders and executives

Female leadership is also a topic tracked by PitchBook researchers and, for the past several years, they’ve produced an annual report tracking female leadership at companies with heavy VC investment. To find the most recent report on this, click on Research Center in the left navigation pane and click again into the Research Center > 

Screenshot of the menu available for searching PitchBook's Research Center

A quick search by keyword, e.g. women, brings up “2020 All In: Female Founders and CEOs in the US VC Ecosystem” which is downloadable as a PDF. 

Screenshot of PitchBook Research Center results showing a report titled "2020 All In: Female Founders and CEOS in the US VC Ecosystem"

Track back several years to find the other reports written in this series, and keep your eyes on the trend line showing that the future is indeed female.

Factiva Suggested Reading Enhances Your Industry Research

Factiva from Dow Jones is an international news database containing more than 30,000 sources from 200 countries, in nearly 30 languages. With a focus on current events and business issues featuring local and global perspectives, Factiva includes content from newspapers, newswires, industry publications, websites, company reports, and other publications. This makes Factiva an ideal resource for researchers seeking current information on companies, industries, and financial markets.

Suggested Reading feeds are a Factiva feature designed to streamline industry research by providing quick insight into the current state of an industry. These feeds include top articles published about more than 30 industries, as determined by an automatic filtering process monitored by Dow Jones Factiva editorial staff. Each weekly feed features an average of 25 to 30 articles from Factiva sources including news, commentary, analysis, overviews, profiles, and trend stories.

To access Suggested Reading within Factiva, click the the gear icon at the top right side of the screen and click the Suggested Reading link under Lists:

Gear icon - Settings/Tools/Support- on Factiva platform
Suggested Reading link in Lists menu on Factiva platform

Select from the following for each industry:

Partial list of industries available from the Suggested Reading Link, illustrating the "Show Latest," "Search," and RSS Feed hyperlinks

Show Latest: view a popup window containing the latest news headlines for the industry, with the ability to click through to the full article or view more content

Search: access Factiva’s Search Builder tool, with Subject scoped to English-language Suggested Reading content for the industry within the last three months, with the ability to add and change filters to refine search results

partial image of Factiva's Search Builder interface

RSS icon: access an RSS feed for articles accessible through an RSS reader when logged in to Factiva

For quick access to the latest industry news, use Factiva’s Suggested Reading feeds and contact Lippincott Library for additional recommendations.