With right support the startup gender ratio can change

With right support the startup gender ratio can change

While women currently only make up a quarter of startups in Australia, almost two in five ‘future founders’ are female.

That’s according to the Startup Muster 2017 report, released today, which takes a look at the Australian startup ecosystem.

It found 37% of the 472 people who identified themselves as ‘future founders’ are female, while 25% of current startup founders are women — up from 16% in 2014.

The figures suggest an increasing appetite for women to change the gender ratio when it comes to startup founders in Australia.

As long as the support is available.

Around half of all current founders surveyed by Startup Muster are in the 30 to 45 year age gap, a time when women are often dealing with young children and career breaks. Indeed, 44% of both male and female future founders said “financial dependents” has hindered them getting started.

When it comes to future founders, a massive 61% said mentorship was needed, well above seed investment (44%) and assistance with strategy (32%).

The Startup Muster report (an initiative co-founded by Monica Wulff, pictured above) reveals some trends offering great insights for anyone who has ever thought about founding a startup.

Asking founders what skills they wish they had on their founding team, almost a third (33%) said marketing, followed by software development (32%), sales/business development (30%), UX design (29%) and graphic design (21%).

The events these founders report as critical to getting started are also telling, with the good majority (68%) saying that identifying a compelling opportunity was critical. Meanwhile, 60% said a critical milestone was “solving a problem I was experiencing”, while 23% said it was having a supportive partner or spouse.

Mentoring also appears to have benefited many of the founders, with 56% reporting its significance in getting starts. Also beneficial has been coworking (according to 48% of respondents), legal assistance (46%), social media exposure (45%), accounting assistance (44%) and web development (41%).

And not everyone’s quitting their day jobs to pursue their startup dream. More than a third (30%) said them and their founding teams were working full-time when they got started.

As for the books they would recommend, high on the list was The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In was the only female-written book on the list of 11 most-preferred books from respondents.

The things founders said they most needed in the next six months included media exposure (40% of founders ticketed this), mentorship (39%), seed investment (37%), social media exposure (33%) and corporate customers (31%).

So are founders raising funds? In 2017, 67% said it’s from their own cash and contributions compared with 71% in 2016. Family and friends also helped, according to 33% of founders in 2017. Thirty seven percent of startups have secured at least one investor.

Startup Muster surveyed 2214 respondents between July 5th until August 14th for the report, around half of whom identified as startup founders, 472 who said they want to found a startup, and 739 saying they’re a business that can support startups.

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