Anyone that has been paying attention to the challenge women face in the tech industry knows there is a gap in the representation of female founders and engineers.
While local CEOs such as Blake Irving, GoDaddy, are pushing for change by placing more females in C-suite positions and leading girls in tech efforts, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done.
A new report by TechCrunch’s Crunchbase revealed the upward trend of the female founder. Their report analyzed data from 2009-14 and found that female-led startups are steadily increasing. In addition, particular cities around the US are showing more traction in funding and founding than others.
The analysts set out to answer three questions “What cities appear most favorable for female founders? How do female founders fare at early versus later stages? And how likely are women to launch companies alone as opposed to with co-founders?”
Vegas baby, Vegas
Within the report, another desert state, Las Vegas, had the highest percentage (27%) of female funded companies with at least one female founder. The next city in line was Oakland.
As for the highest concentration of female-founded companies, New York City came in at 21 percent, above San Francisco 16 percent.
The report also revealed that the percentage of startups with a minimum of one female founder have close to doubled from 2009-14. As for the sole female founder, this population makes up 10 percent of all female-led startups. For companies with five or more founders, the percentage of female founders jumps to 36 percent.
As for funding, the report indicated that female founders were represented more in the seed round and less in the later stage. This could be attributed to more female founders starting their business or co-founding companies in the last few years. The report also noted that 16 percent of U.S. based startups receiving funding during the reporting time have at least one female founder.
Female founders in AZ
Here in Arizona, while the university-led and independent incubators throughout the state are seeking, to almost begging for, more female-led businesses to join their program, the total number of female tech founders we’ve covered and/or found couldn’t fill the seats in a college classroom. Why?
Francine Hardaway, founder Stealthmode Partners, said, “We do not encourage ANY founders enough, men or women. I’m not surprised at these numbers, but it’s the same problem as Silicon Valley, only magnified by our lack of seed capital. I do not see many female founders come through the Arizona Innovation Challenge or Invest Southwest. And look at Mary Juetten, [Traklight] who had to raise money out-of-state. When we have seed capital we will have more female founders.”
Courtney Klein, co-founder and CEO Seed Spot, said “Candidly, if you look across the leadership of the state – we are incredibly male dominated. Collectively, from government to corporate boards to angel investment groups – we all need to do a better job of getting women in positions of leadership. As that happens, more women see models of what is possible and can lean on other female mentors in the community to help them launch their ventures. We are so far behind major cities in the integration of women and minorities in positions of leadership…that has to chance before we can expect others to feel there is a culture in Arizona that will support them.”
One tech company’s campaign is attempting to shift perceptions and assumptions about women in technology and push for more women to say yes to entrepreneurship.
Axosoft, a project management software company, launched #itwasneveradress campaign that has received international coverage for their message from over 50 publications including TIME, The New York Times, CNN, ReadWrite and more.
By changing the women’s bathroom vector to more of a superhero, the triangle that was originally the dress was really a super cape after all.
In a ReadWrite article, author Adriana Lee points out that this symbol might carry more responsibility on her shoulders than expected, “…she’ll use her superpowers to take on one of the most heated issues in technology today: the underrepresentation of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematic) fields,” Lee said.
Using technology as their launching pad for a larger conversation, this superhero sets the tone for a new dialogue about respect, values and general super hero powers women possess to lead companies, their homes, and the community at large.
It Was Never A Dress stickers and t-shirts are being sent around the world to women and men supporting the shift of change for women. The Axosoft designers of the campaign include Sara Breeding, Marketing Unicorn, Tania Katan, Cultural Curator, and Shane Rymer, Creative Director.
The message isn’t just about women in tech, it extends to all industries. “This is why people are responding to it. I’m a woman and I’m more than a dress,” Katan said.
In a previous report, CEO Axosoft Lawdan Shojaee said, “This campaign is to shine light on the women in tech and give them the voice they deserve.”
If you want a sticker or t-shirt, head over to itwasneveradress.com.
Get to know the AZ female techpreneurs…
Iris – a public relations management software company, was the winner of the Fall 2014 ACA Innovation Challenge and recently raised $1M seed round – founder Aly Saxe
Keasy Lock – a keyless lock, that can be managed from ones’ mobile device or computer – founder Meagan Martinez
AZ vision and Hearing – a company focused on helping schools assess students’ vision and hearing with new technology that will free up overburdened school staff. Their software will tell parents of their child’s results and alert parents if their child was not at school the day the test was administered- founder Danna Evans
Birdytell – a family and friends gift giving site driven by meaningful connections – founder Lisa Murrow
Love and Startups – a relationship support site that helps strengthen marriages between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs– founder Nicole Cottrell
Tiny Kicks – a wearable smart sensor that helps pregnant moms monitor fetal health. The company participated in the BioAccel competition and won – CEO France Dixon Helfer
MistoBox – a subscription-based coffee service and Shark Tank alumnae – co-founder Samantha Meis
XOXY – a self-credentialing app where users voluntarily go through a background check and sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, is designed to add another level of transparency to the dating scene – co-founder Jo Lynn Clemens
GRAVE – a virtual reality open world horror game available on Xbox and PS4 – co-founded by Aby Moore
Traklight – a self-guided, cloud-based, software platform that creates your custom intellectual property (IP) strategy – founded by Mary Juetten
SkinneePix – an app that will make your face look skinnier – co-founders Sue Green and Robin Phillips
Aquastream – a waterstation designed to reduce plastic, but also incorporates Intel created technology to advertise and collect marketing data – CEO Mare Van Dyke
Find Your Influence – a cloud-based, web application that enables advertisers, agencies and influencers to efficiently manage campaigns from beginning to end using one product interface and maxing out their reach by utilizing ones’ social platform (influencer) to market their company – co-founder Cristine Vieira
xPlore Box – a subscription-based STEM educational toy company – founder Rebeca Rodriguez
Read the complete report at TechCrunch here. Graphics provided by TechCrunch.
If there are more female techpreneurs out there that we haven’t mentioned or covered, get in touch with us at staffwriter at aztechbeat dot com.
Read more about AZ Startups at AZ Tech Beat.
CEO Seed Spot comment added after original post