Venture capitalists from some of NYC’s leading VC firms joined Bloomberg, Cornell Tech, and Tech:NYC at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters to discuss how to close the gender gap in the technology industry.
Introduced by Bloomberg Beta founding partner Karin Klein, Rebecca Kaden, partner at Union Square Ventures, Beth Ferreira, managing director at FirstMark Capital, and Ellie Wheeler, partner at Greycroft, joined moderator Scarlet Fu of Bloomberg Television on a panel to share their own experiences at the latest installment of the CornellTech@Bloomberg series at Bloomberg.
Rebecca, Beth, Ellie, and Karin represent inspiring examples of talented women who took control of their career paths within the world of technology to get where they are today.
The path for women in technology is an uphill one. In 2017, fewer than six percent of all decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms were women. At the same time, female founders received just $1.46 billion in funding last year, which is less than three percent of the $58.2 billion in funding raised by companies with all-male founders. While women are still a minority in the technology industry, New York City’s tech community is making us hopeful.
Rebecca Kaden said: “I’m a big believer that female VC’s on both coasts do not have the numbers yet, but the quality is enormously high. Maybe that’s because it’s harder industry to get into, maybe that’s because women had to climb through a maze of a career path, but it’s a very, very high quality and high caliber group of people. I think there’s a real commitment to each other to support each other and to help each other’s career.”
Panelists and other female venture investors are beginning to address the gender gap by cultivating inclusive environments in a broad number of spaces – from venture capital to technology to engineering and entrepreneurship – all of which have traditionally performed poorly on the diversity front.
Beth Ferreira sees obstacles faced by women in tech, in some cases, as an opportunity: “Any time that you’re underestimated, it’s a huge advantage. I think there are a lot of tools that we have that we can use to our advantage, and that’s one.”
The wide-ranging panel discussion also touched on issues faced by young entrepreneurs and investors – women and men alike – as well as the possibilities, obstacles, and advice for individuals as they embark on their professional journeys.
As Ellie Wheeler said: “[Female representation in venture capital] is going in the right direction, and hopefully that momentum will continue, and that it will become a financial necessity because that will be what drives change there, when it hits the bottom line — whether that’s fund returns, or within companies, that’s what moves things.”
Karin Klein’s opening remarks hinted at the future where that financial necessity is likely: “At Bloomberg Beta, we are investing in the companies who are making the future of work better. And the future of work is diverse. The reason for that is logical: people make much better decisions when there is diverse input.”
Photo: Bloomberg Television Anchor Scarlet Fu sat down with Rebecca Kaden, Union Square Ventures, Beth Ferreira, FirstMark Capital & Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft for “Women in Venture Capital: Fresh Perspectives” as part of the CornellTech@Bloomberg Speaker Series held at Bloomberg World Headquarters in New York on February 28, 2018. Photographer: Lori Hoffman/Bloomberg.