Connect with us


States with the most venture capital investments into woman-led startups



Propel(x) ranked the top 15 states with the most venture capital investments in women-founded/co-founded startups using data from PitchBook.   
Share this:

States with the most venture capital investments in women-led startups

Venture funding in the U.S. reached a record $332.8 billion in 2021, according to the National Venture Capital Association; however, only 2.4% of VC funding went to companies founded by women.

Propel(x) ranked the top 15 states with the most venture capital investments in women-founded or co-founded startups using data from PitchBook. States were ranked based on the total amount of VC funding that went to startups founded by at least one woman since 2018. Additional data points include the total number of VC deals made with startups founded by at least one woman, the percentage of those deals made with startups founded solely by women, and the percentage founded by both men and women.

A quarter of VC deals with startups led by women founders since 2018 went to startups founded solely by women. The other 75% were co-founded by men and women.

Venture capital funding is raised when a startup with growth potential asks investors, investment banks, or VC firms for capital in exchange for equity in the company. As most venture capitalists—those who agree to invest in a company—are men, women founders often face unconscious (or even conscious) biases. 

Fredericksburg, Virginia aerial view at sunset.


#15. Virginia

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $958 million
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 200
— Share of female and male co-founders: 74.5%
— Share of women-only founders: 25.5%

In 2021, Virginia ranked 14th nationally for the value of venture capital invested in the state. With $2.57 billion in total VC investment, Virginia follows the national trend of investor interest in the software industry. Crunchbase reports 692 women-founded companies with headquarters in Virginia. The state is home to STEAM and cybersecurity education company Chrysallis.AI, which is woman- and disabled-veteran-owned. It’s also the location of the headquarters of Lynk—a company that provides universal mobile broadband via satellites.

Annapolis, Maryland aerial view of buildings and water.


#14. Maryland

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $969 million
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 191
— Share of female and male co-founders: 75.4%
— Share of women-only founders: 24.6%

There are currently 540 women-founded Maryland-based startups listed on Crunchbase. In the second quarter of 2022, the state bucked the national trend of decreasing VC deals and more than doubled funding for companies in the state. Maryland ranked 16th nationally in total VC funding in 2021, with startups acquiring $2.24 billion in VC funding. Sindano Health is a Software as a Service (SaaS) app focused on LGBT mental health founded by Diversity Equity and Inclusion expert Tara Marshall-Hill. Simpli, with a majority female staff, creates workplace experience apps for companies and landlords.

Minneapolis downtown skyline and bridge in front of pink clouds.


#13. Minnesota

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $1.0 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 154
— Share of female and male co-founders: 68.2%
— Share of women-only founders: 31.8%

Minnesota venture capitalists tend to focus on early-stage companies, and firms like Matchstick Ventures in Minneapolis invest between $500,000 and $1.5 million in startups. Minnesota companies raised $928 million in the first half of 2022, with a noticeable slowdown in deals between April and June. There are 400 women-founded companies in the state ranging from Vanessa Drews’ sweet Cheesecake Funk to haircare company Odele. Support for women business owners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes includes the Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota. VC firms like the Sofia Fund prioritize women-led companies for angel investing.

Hilly streets and historic buildings leading down to the water in Greenwich, Connecticut.


#12. Connecticut

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $1.1 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 136
— Share of female and male co-founders: 64.7%
— Share of women-only founders: 35.3%

Connecticut is the only state on this list with more than one-third of its female co-founder deals completed with startups founded solely by women. Connecticut is one of nine states the Treasury Department approved for the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The state is slated to receive $119.4 million to launch two new venture capital funds: one supporting entrepreneurs from “underserved and diverse backgrounds,” and a clean energy fund. Successful women-owned businesses in Connecticut include fintech company WealthConductor.

The state government offers education and funding opportunities for female entrepreneurs, and First Lady Annie Lamont co-founded a company called Tidal River to invest in women-founded companies.

Chicago, Illinois downtown skyline with water in the background and a green park in the foreground


#10. Illinois

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $1.7 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 371
— Share of female and male co-founders: 72.8%
— Share of women-only founders: 27.2%

PursePower lists nearly 46,000 women-owned businesses in Illinois. In Chicago, a third of roles at VC firms were also held by women in 2021, according to data from Chicago:Blend. One woman-founded firm, Chingona Ventures, focuses on startups founded by women and minorities that often get passed over by traditional VC firms. Entrepreneur found that as of 2020, Genevieve Thiers has received more funding than any other woman founder. The Sittercity founder has secured $48.1 million in investments.

Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina buildings and rows of trees on a sunny day.


#10. North Carolina

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $1.7 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 242
— Share of female and male co-founders: 74.4%
— Share of women-only founders: 25.6%

Nearly 70% of the $3.6 million in VC funds raised in North Carolina in 2021 went to two firms. WRAL TechWire reports that while the general trend is for VCs to hold more capital in reserve, it’s a good time for early-stage startups in North Carolina to raise capital. The University of North Carolina created a toolkit for women- and minority-led businesses seeking funding. The North Carolina Women Business Owners Hall of Fame was launched in 2018 to honor female entrepreneurs across the state. Last year’s inductees included a trucking CEO, an enterprising women’s magazine founder, and a construction company founder.

Aerial panorama of Allentown, Pennsylvania skyline with trees and hills in the distance.


#9. Pennsylvania

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $2.0 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 336
— Share of female and male co-founders: 70.8%
— Share of women-only founders: 29.2%

Pennsylvania is one of nine states receiving small business funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The $267.8 million will be spent on small business loans, underserved VC firms, and early-stage tech investment in the Keystone State. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center offers no-cost consulting and business training to entrepreneurs across 15 centers. The state government also provides a Small Diverse Businesses program to help minority and women-owned businesses compete for government contracts. Women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania include medical technology, media, home healthcare, and real estate companies.

A small town along the Delaware River in New Jersey.


#8. New Jersey

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $2.4 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 178
— Share of female and male co-founders: 79.8%
— Share of women-only founders: 20.2%

The recently launched New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund (NJIEF) is an attempt to funnel even more money into startups in the state through a public-private partnership. New Jersey companies secured $5.5 billion in 219 VC deals in 2021. The NJIEF was created to “address New Jersey’s shortfalls in venture capital funding and create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed.” One standout woman-founded company is Kimberly Noonan’s WindMIL, which raised $32.5 million in Series B funding in 2018.

Sarasota, Florida buildings surrounded by turquoise water.


#7. Florida

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $2.5 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 398
— Share of female and male co-founders: 74.9%
— Share of women-only founders: 25.1%

With its lack of state income tax and year-round warm weather, Florida is emerging as a business and tech hub. VC firm Andreessen Horowitz recently opened a new office in Miami Beach. Florida has also emerged as a hub for cryptocurrency businesses and hosts the Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain summit. Medical technology is another growing industry. Amy Tseng’s TissueTech, which specializes in regenerative tissue therapies, has raised $110 million in VC funding.

Colorful buildings in downtown Denver, Colorado with mountains in the distance.


#6. Colorado

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $2.9 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 449
— Share of female and male co-founders: 75.5%
— Share of women-only founders: 24.5%

At 10.39%, Colorado has the highest percentage of women-owned businesses in the U.S., according to a 2022 analysis from banking platform NorthOne. It also has the highest percentage (2.37%) of women who own their own incorporated businesses. Colorado companies, ranging from biotech firm Biodesix to software company Palantir, brought in $6.8 billion overall in VC funding in 2021. In the past decade, Denver’s population has grown 19% as business opportunities have increased.

Seattle, Washington skyline with Mount Ranier in the background.


#5. Washington

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $4.0 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 556
— Share of female and male co-founders: 77.0%
— Share of women-only founders: 23.0%

Over the last five years, women-led startups in Washington received $481 million in venture capital funding. While 29.9% of businesses in the state are led by a woman, none of Washington’s unicorns (companies valued at over $1 billion) are women-led. The Seattle area has long been considered a tech hub—it’s home to giants such as Microsoft and Amazon. Women-founded companies based in Washington include Skilljar, Unearth Technologies, and Dolly.

Green parks and river in front of downtown Austin, Texas.


#4. Texas

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $5.6 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 672
— Share of female and male co-founders: 76.0%
— Share of women-only founders: 24.0%

Texas has a very high startup survival rate of nearly 80%. NorthOne bank ranked Texas as one of the top states for women entrepreneurs and reported that the Lone Star state has 1.4 million women-owned businesses. One of those is Pandata Tech, which was co-founded in 2016 by ​​Jessica Reitmeier and specializes in solutions for processing high volumes of time-sensitive data. The company received a $100,000 grant in May 2022 to participate in a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency program to explore solutions for cybersecurity risks.

Downtown Boston, Massachusetts on the water.


#3. Massachusetts

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $19.6 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 1,067
— Share of female and male co-founders: 83.0%
— Share of women-only founders: 17.0%

Home to Harvard and MIT, the Boston area has become an innovation hub and home to many startups. Women-owned businesses in Massachusetts earn more on average than in any other state at $97,000 per year. Massachusetts is home to startups in the education, biotech, and culinary industries. Co-founder Stefania Mallett expects her company, EzCater, to go public in 2023 after pivoting to serving essential workers during pandemic lockdowns.

Dense buildings in New York, New York.


#2. New York

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $21.5 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 2,366
— Share of female and male co-founders: 68.8%
— Share of women-only founders: 31.2%

Even with the high taxes, high cost of real estate, and fierce competition, New York City is still home to more company headquarters than any other American city. The New York City Economic Development Corporation partnered with VCs to start the WE Venture fund for seed and Series A funding to women- and minority-owned enterprises. One WE Venture recipient, Jessica Sobhraj, co-founded Cosynd, a copyright-filing app company. Alfred (personal assistance for renters) and Adafruit (electronics manufacturing) are two other industry disruptors led by women in New York.

Silicon Valley buildings in California.


#1. California

– VC funding for women-led startups since 2018: $69.3 billion
– Number of deals with women-led startups since 2018: 5,091
— Share of female and male co-founders: 77.0%
— Share of women-only founders: 23.0%

California has the most women-led businesses in the country. According to the Census, California had 149,927 women-owned companies which employed more than 1.3 million people in 2018. San Francisco-based MycoWorks makes vegan leather from fungus and was co-founded by Sofia Wang. The company raised $125 million in Series C funding in January, which is being used to open a production plant in South Carolina. Other women-founded companies in the state include Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company and Therese Tucker’s BlackLine.

This story originally appeared on Propel(x) and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Share this:
Continue Reading


Only 13% of Web3 founding teams include any women, BCG study finds

A look into a BCG report highlighting gender disparity in Web3 and STEM.



Share this:

It’s shocking that 2023 still sees vast gender disparity in entire industries. Unfortunately, the STEM and sub-industries like Web3 see it the most. 

If you haven’t heard, Web3 is the latest cryptocurrency technology for a blockchain-based internet. 

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that only 13% of Web3 companies included any women on their founding teams. Another key finding was that only 3% of Web3 company founding teams consisted of all women. 

Talk about archaic, for such a progressive industry. 

We dove into the report to understand the severity of that disparity and what companies can do about it. Let’s start with some of the report’s key findings on founders:

  • 13% of Web3 company founding teams have at least one woman
  • 3% of Web3 company founding teams encompass all women
  • 93% of Web3 founders are men

These findings above remain consistent not only in North America, but also in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. Now, this disparity unfortunately continues even when you look at the wider workforce of Web3 companies:

  • 73% of Web3 companies’ entire workforce are men
  • 88% of technical roles at Web3 companies are held by men

BCG also examined the role of women in Web3 founding teams by startup stage and funding amount. Sadly, the bigger the investment, the less likely a woman was to sit on the founding team. Only 7% of Web3 companies with $1B invested had women in the founding teams. Similarly, companies that received between $500M to $999M had men as founding teams.

STEM companies show similar results. While the US Census demonstrates more women achieving STEM roles, the disparity is still present. The BCG’s report backs this as well:

  • 33% of STEM company workforces are women
  • 25% of technical roles at STEM companies are held by women

What does BCG propose we do about it? Luckily, the early nature of Web3 offers time to rectify the gender disparity. Here are some strategies discussed:

  • Monitor the data: Granular, objective data collection will keep track of female representation within a company’s workforce and founders. 
  • Include women on VC investment teams: All-male investment teams are more likely to garner all-make founding teams. 
  • Create inclusive brand experiences: The Web3 experience should cater to a broad audience. 
  • Stay close to regulators: Collaborate with government and organizational entities to shape regulations for this new industry.
  • Build mentorship and support opportunities: Diverse networks and mentorship opportunities can keep companies in check with gender equality. 

Read BCG’s full press release.

Share this:
Continue Reading


Are realtors too valuable to be disrupted by technology?

Tens of billions of venture capital dollars go into proptech every year. But realtors remain critical middlemen for most consumers. Is this just the way it will always be? Here’s a look at how tech is changing residential real estate – and how it’s not.



Share this:

The tech industry repeatedly sees itself as a disruptor — particularly of industries with inefficient models with unnecessary costs baked in.

Why shouldn’t real estate be a prime target for tech?

As Forbes notes:

“Real estate is the only mammoth-size market remaining in which middlemen (brokers/agents) have complete control of the process. The operative members of the transaction (buyers/sellers) are withheld from direct communication and limited in resources and transparency. They are at the mercy of the middlemen in a world where other industries are constantly being refreshed, redesigned, and automated.”

Still, Canadian (and American) realtors are, to date, disruption resistant. Canadian realtors extract billions in value every year for their work. This is just how real estate works in this country, but it is kind of odd. Especially because Canada’s housing crisis is exactly that: a crisis.

Canada needs to build 3.5 million extra homes by 2030 to ensure affordable housing for everyone living in the country. That’s on top of the expected build out of 2.3 million homes that are currently planned.

That’s a shocking number when you consider the United States, with ten times the population, is short a relatively modest 6.5 million homes.

This housing gap means some version of the following story is happening in Canada basically every single week:

A seller wants to put their home on the market. They sign with a realtor who shares data on how to price the property, photographs it, lists it on MLS and advertises it. Depending on the seller, the realtor may provide significant guidance on the process of selling a home. People tend to get nervous when they’re selling their single biggest asset.

Still, the whole process can be over in a matter of weeks — a win for sellers, presumably. Well, sort of.

This process can be efficient in a hot market, but it also leaves many sellers with an odd taste in their mouths as they watch their realtor and their buyer’s realtor walk away with commissions of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of their dollars.

So, why hasn’t tech made more headway in bleeding out these seemingly unnecessary costs for buyers and sellers?

It’s not for a lack of new models, innovation, and capital spending. Investors allocated more than $32 billion USD into proptech companies in 2021. (‘Proptech’ just means technology solutions that enable the buying and selling of residential and commercial real estate). By 2028, the global proptech market is expected to reach $64.3 billion USD.

The investment is there. But so are the realtors. So, what changes are happening?

Proptech platforms are creating more informed buyers and sellers

Consumers are seeing the results of the money that has poured into proptech over the last decade. During the home-buying frenzy that followed a certain pandemic, many buyers toured properties virtually, and made buying decisions without ever being inside the place they’d soon call home.

But that’s just the latest evolution of real estate technology for consumers. Much of the first wave of proptech has already become second nature for many of us. We all have access to powerful, data-driven tools and platforms to aid us when it’s time to buy or sell.

Just a few examples:

  • Zillow is a one-stop digital marketplace that serves home buyers and sellers, as well as renters and landlords. It goes well beyond MLS, with deep resources and functionality like property valuation estimates. It’s the largest real estate website in the U.S. with over 60 million monthly views – and it’s increasingly popular in Canada.
  • Redfin is a real estate brokerage that offers lower than standard brokerage fees for its agents to sell residential homes. The company operates in both Canada and the U.S.
  • Trulia is similar to Zillow but offers additional functionality like crime maps by area, neighborhood profiles, and estimated monthly property upkeep costs. Trulia was acquired by Zillow in 2014 but continues to run as a separate platform.
  • Bōde is a Canadian platform that enables sellers to list their properties for free. Then they market the listing on platforms like Zillow and MLS. When a buyer and seller connect, Bōde facilitates the sale of the home and charges a 1% fee (up to a maximum of $10,000) on the final sale price. No realtor is involved.

While consumers love platforms like these and are doing more research on their own, they still gravitate to realtors when it comes time to sell or buy. A recent CBC article noted that:

“While specific numbers are hard to come by, all indications suggest that private sales make up a tiny sliver of overall real estate deals in Canada. For example, For Sale By Owner recently had some 116 listings in all of Ontario, while some mid-sized cities in the province showed more than 1,000 on MLS.”

Change is coming for everyone – from buyers to sellers to realtors

Still, the forecasts suggest this initial wave of proptech innovation may lead to more significant changes in the years to come. 

A much-quoted Oxford University study from 2013 found that “automation is projected to replace 50% of all current jobs in the next two decades. The same study predicts automation is 86% likely to replace traditional “real estate sales agents” and 97% likely to replace “real estate brokers”.” By late 2020, technology had replaced over 60 million jobs in the U.S. alone, with the World Economic Forum predicting tens of millions more to come, with fully 50% of jobs done by machines by 2025. 

It’s clear that the rate of automation isn’t exactly slowing down.

Blockchain, the distributed ledger that promises to destroy unnecessary middlemen across industries, offers the potential ability to reduce the need for realtors, through its ability to protect against fraudulent activity through decentralized smart contracts. 

But widespread adoption of blockchain technology hasn’t happened in any major industry, much less a massive asset class like real estate. And blockchain alone doesn’t eliminate the need for home buyers and sellers to get expert counsel from someone during a transaction.

And AI has promise and potential, sure. It can already do things with data that no human can. But buyers and sellers seem to consistently value empathy, human interaction, negotiation skills, and a realtor’s personalized knowledge of a community or property type. This is especially true when someone is making the life-altering choice to buy or sell a house. If it was your house, would you want the robot or the person?

So far, most Canadians are choosing the person. (The same is even true with another major life purchase, as we’ve recently reported.)

But there are more changes afoot.

Think back to that theoretical seller that sees their house sold in days and in return sacrifices tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. Is that a good deal for them? Maybe not.

That insight is at the root of Bid My Listing, a new startup from entrepreneur Matt Proman and real estate bigwig Josh Altman.

Bid My Listing enables sellers to solicit bids from realtors to list their house. As Proman told

“I had a lot of agents knocking on my door, leaving their business cards that they wanted to represent me in the transaction.”

Proman thought his Long Island home would move quickly and signed a six-month exclusive listing agreement with an agent. “I waited and waited and waited,” he said. “And I watched two other houses sell on my block.”

“I said, ‘I will never, for any of my other houses, give my listing away for free. The next time the agents have to put their money where their mouth is and have skin in the game.

So, while realtors may exist long into Canada’s real estate future, tech may eventually create major changes in their roles and how they’re compensated. They’re likely to find themselves having to adapt to a changing landscape where buyers and sellers want more value for the commissions they pay on a real estate transaction.

If they’re willing to pay them at all.

Share this:
Continue Reading


Tech agility and relationship building among pillars of digital transformation for CIOs, HBR report finds

A look at HBR’s recent report about the changing role of CIOs and building resilience in digital transformation



Share this:

HBR recently released a report (sponsored by Red Hat as part of The Enterprisers Project), on the changing roles and landscapes of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) leading organizations through digital transformation

The goal? Resilience. 

Specifically, resilience in an organization’s people, business processes, and tech infrastructure. 

But don’t get too caught up in the tech just yet. As UC Dublin business professor Joe Peppard is quoted in the report, “digital transformation is less a technology challenge and more a leadership one.”

HBR shares how CIOs can step up to the plate with leadership that fosters resilience amidst digital transformation:

Adaptability for CIOs and the organizations they lead

Digital transformation is a response to change, whether that change is innovation, customer demands, or industry trends. Today’s CIO must prepare their organizations to adapt to those changes, specifically: 

  • Adapt new processes to speed up product development
  • Collaborate to create new business models
  • Respond faster to client demands
  • Experiment and pivot quickly
  • Attract and retain IT talent

To achieve all that, the role of CIO has quickly expanded its job duties. Indeed, 89% of CIOs feel their role has become “more important,” the report found, while 88% agree their role is the most “critical component” of their organization’s sustenance. 

What do these expanded duties look like, apart from leading adaptable organizations? The CIO is an educator, coach, strategic adviser, entrepreneur, relationship builder, and change agent. HBR even includes “evangelist” in the mix. 

Managing expectations, relationships, and talent

Communication and relationship building are increasingly important, even in a tech-dominated industry. HBR cites an IDC statement that CIOs will even out inflation, shortages, and other economic changes through negotiations and relationship building. 

Of course, that communication is vital internally as well. CIOs need to lead staff, managers, and executives through pivoting plans, unpredictable results, and changing expectations. How? Through empathy, a vital component in supporting a successful organization and successful professionals within one. This also includes fostering safety, diversity, personal growth, inclusion, and autonomy for experimentation, and learning from failures. 

Finally, there comes the talent — starting at recruitment, all the way to career development and flexible work arrangements for IT staff. 

Making tech more agile

CIOs can’t do this on their own. However, they can embrace transformation tools and support their organization using them. HBR cites a PwC study on strategies for adapting to new tech tools, including: 

  • Making an IT strategy more agile
  • Using infrastructure investment to move to the cloud
  • Leveraging data and analytics to inform strategic decisions

CIOs aren’t just responsible for securing the new tech. They also need to strategically and operationally decide how to best harness each tech’s capabilities. The answer comes from the entire organization, as business operations and IT become unsiloed to support better collaboration. 

Read the full report

Share this:
Continue Reading