How Women Invest Fields Survey to Identify Motivators for Women to Invest in Startups and Venture Funds

Seeks To Understand Gender Differences in Investment Decision Making

SAN FRANCISCO--()--How Women Invest, the venture fund division of How Women Lead, a national organization of top executive women focused on activating their individual and collective power to influence the change they want to see in the world through leadership, investment and philanthropy, today launched the “How Women (and Men) Invest in Startups” Survey. The organization is committed to disrupting the inequity in the venture capital system by focusing exclusively on women founded and run companies and activating women investors, and is the only US venture fund to invest exclusively in women founded and run startups.

The goal of this wide-ranging survey is to better understand how to motivate more women to invest in startups and venture funds. How Women Invest will share the insights gleaned from the survey with elected officials, funders, and entrepreneurship organizations to help inform policies and develop and market attractive investment products.

Conducted by Ventureneer and CoreWoman, research companies dedicated to closing the gender financing gap, the survey seeks input from accredited investors, people and organizations allowed to trade securities that may not be registered with financial authorities, across the country, and will close by April 30, 2022. For each response, How Women Lead will donate $5 to one of four nonprofits, AnnieCannons, Prospera, She The People, or Techbridge Girls.

This survey is sponsored by Wells Fargo, which announced its $1.5M grant to How Women Lead on March 10, 2022. The survey is a significant investment in understanding what’s standing in the way of qualified women investing in startups and venture funds.

“Only a tiny percentage of women who qualify to be angels and limited partners (LPs) in venture funds become investors today,” said Julie Abrams, Founder and CEO of How Women Lead and Managing Partner of How Women Invest. “Women have more wealth and operational leadership experience than any generation before us. We need to step into the power we have to make change. Money moves behavior - women investors change who gets funded and they demand accountability from institutions where they invest. We want to inspire and support women to step into their power and influence as investors to drive the change we want to see in access, leadership, innovation, and distribution of wealth. Now is the time.”

Why Now?

Several trends point to the huge and growing potential for thousands of women to enter the venture capital ecosystem and become investors in the private companies that innovate, create jobs, and grow the economy.

  • Venture capital investments in 2021 nearly doubled from 2020, and all trends indicate at least an equally strong year in 2022. (Q4 2021 PitchBook NVCA Venture Monitor)
  • While just a small fraction - 17.3% - of the total dollars invested in private companies in 2021, $54.8 billion was a whopping 138% rise in venture capital going to private companies with at least one female founder in just one year. Funding to all female-founded teams was only 2.0%, despite the rise in companies founded and led by women. (Q4 2021 PitchBook NVCA Venture Monitor)
  • Women are poised to inherit a large portion of the $30 trillion that will be passed down from baby boomers and women are increasingly building wealth on their own. (McKinsey)
  • Angel-backed companies with women CEOs have risen steadily in the last 15 years, from just 5% in 2015 to 21% in 2020. (Angel Funders Report, Angel Capital Association)
  • More than half of women investors, 51%, consider a founder’s gender a significant factor in their investment strategy, compared to male investors, 6%. (Angel Funders Report)

“With more companies being founded than ever before by women from all races and backgrounds, the impact women investors can make by funding startups led by women is astronomical,” added Abrams. “Now we just need to understand how to motivate more women to put their money to work to make the changes we all want to see in business.”

Consortium of Partners

How Women Invest is a “Big Tent” organization, welcoming like-minded organizations and individuals dedicated to leveling the playing field for women leaders, building women’s wealth, and changing the gender dynamics in business, to join in its efforts.

Over 27 partner organizations and 10 individuals have joined with How Women Invest to distribute the survey to both women and men qualified investors. Organizational outreach partners include 37 Angels, BLCK VC, California Society of CPAs, Dream Ventures, European Black Investors, Golden Seeds, Invest for Better, Next Wave, nFormation, Republic, SoGal Foundation, StageNext Fund, Supply Change Capital, Sybilla Masters Fund, Talino Venture Labs, The 22 Fund, The Artemis Fund, The JumpFund, The Trust, WBEC DMV, WBEC MetroNY, We Are Enough, WOCStar, Women Impacting Public Policy, Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, Women With Capital, and Individual outreach partners include Vanessa Dawson, AdaPia Derrico, Ann Drabick, Annie Evans, Tara Greco, Alicia Syrett, Jonny Price, Rochelle Stewart, and Lolita Taub.

Loretta McCarthy, Co-CEO and Managing Partner of Golden Seeds LLC, a discerning group of investors seeking and funding high-potential, women-led businesses to create lasting impact, added, “Women are changing the landscape of early-stage funding – as both investors and entrepreneurs. This survey will provide valuable insights to propel that trend.”

In talking about the importance of gaining actionable insight to inspire more women to invest in women, Tracy D. Gray, Founder and Managing Partner, The 22 Fund, an early stage growth equity fund, said, “I firmly believe that to have a more compassionate and just planet, we need more women, especially women of color, to invest in women - ESPECIALLY women of color. The path to changing our world is literally through women’s wallets.”

“What gets measured gets improved,” said Mandy Byrnum, CEO of BLCK VC. “The results of this survey will be instrumental in helping more women put their money where their mouth is to invest for change and propel women founders and executives - particularly women founders and leaders of color - forward with capital to scale and change the way business is done.”

Lolita Taub, an early-stage investor who backs community-driven startups in the US & LATAM, has also joined the effort to capture the sentiments that will help shape future efforts to encourage qualified women to become investors. “Accelerating investment in underestimated founders and funders is key to unlocking a whole lot of alpha and I’ll always want to support initiatives aligned with this,” Taub said.

To take the survey, go here.

About How Women Invest

How Women Invest, sister organization to How Women Lead (HWL), is deeply rooted in HWL's mission to disrupt the antiquated and unequal landscape impacting women. Living by the CREDO established in the HWL community, How Women Invest is dedicated to shifting the venture capital landscape by supporting women-led companies, with a focus on women of color. The organization's mission is to inspire a community of 10,000 first-time female investors and create an infrastructure to enable women of all backgrounds to support under-represented and under-capitalized female founders. The fund systematically leverages its diverse community and limited partnership for deal sourcing, industry knowledge, domain expertise and more. For more information, visit


Alexis Karis 281-797-1194
Emily Smith 203-858-0113

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Alexis Karis 281-797-1194
Emily Smith 203-858-0113