Just 3 per cent of VC funding went to all-women-founded startups in 2022

Just 3 per cent of VC funding went to all-women-founded startups in 2022


The Australian startup ecosystem has been booming in recent years. Booming at least, for all male-founded businesses. 

But for those with at least one female co-founder, things have been slower

And for all female teams? Things are hardly moving at all.

Just three per cent of total VC capital went to all-women-founded startups in 2022, while just 10 per cent went to those with at least one woman in their co founding teams. 

That’s according to the latest State of Australian Startup Funding report, the second such annual review of the ecosystem by Cut Through Venture and Folklore Ventures.

The report authors put these tiny amounts down to the absence of female founders among the $100 million plus club of deals done in 2022. Of these mega deals done, just one included a business with a female founder — Lucy Liu from Airwallex

When it comes to the number of deals done, 23 per cent of the 2022 deals included at least one female founder, up from 18 per cent in 2021 and 17 per cent in 2020.

Overall, there were 827 deals funded in 2022, accordingly to the report, down slightly from 899 in 2021 which was up dramatically from 2020 

The report notes that women still face “significant challenges in securing capital” and that deal participation by women founders hit record levels. 

“This was driven entirely by the divergent outcomes of women founders at the earliest stages of their startup journey vs those at the later stage,” the report state. Its says “only time will tell” if the optimistic view that female founder participation will increase in the years to come, will actually happen. 

Early stage funding to women founders was the bright spot of this report, which is at 33 per cent, and up from 21 per cent the previous year.

Optimistically, the report authors note that women are increasingly involved as investors, founders and as employees in startups – and they highlight key programs aiming to address women-led and founded startups. 

However, so far time has not led to the story of women getting a higher share of deals. 

The report’s survey of founders revealed that just 5 per cent of women founders, compared with 28 per cent of men, believe there are “many funding options available fto founders”. One thrd of women also say they don’t feel supported by the startup ecosystem. 

And as for confidence, they will be able to raise again? Just 10 per cent of women report feeling they reported high confidence in being able to do so, compared with 30 per cent of their male counterparts. 

Meanwhile, 83 per cent of women believe their gender has impacted their ability to raise external capital, compared with 14 per cent of men. 

Just one in three of the top venture capital firms in Australia invested in a woman founder in 2022. 

So with two thirds of the country’s top venture capital firms failing to invest in a single female founder in 2022, there are plenty of reasons to ask what’s going on.

Especially give the rhetoric we hear politically and from big businesses of support being made for women in business: via accelerator programs, mentoring and education programs and government grants.

But there is some hope: 71 per cent of women founders said they plan to raise in 2023, compared with 58 per cent of male founders. Let’s see if that translates to women being included in the big deals being done.

The top five female-founded startups to achieve deals included Airwallex, Lyka, Trade Square, Liquid Instruments and Lumachain.  


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