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