Fixing venture capital gender inequality

For many women in venture capital, there’s no question the industry has a gender disparity problem.

Venture capital, or VC, partnerships “have historically been built by men,” investor Ophelia Brown tells CNBC.

VC companies consist of general partners, who manage funds and advise on investment decisions, and limited partners, who give them the capital to work with.

That trend of male-dominated funds hasn’t budged much. Female partners are still a minority — 9 percent, to be exact — and most of the VC dollars are going into male-founded start-ups.

In Europe, for example, research by tech investment firm Atomico shows that 93 percent of venture money went to start-ups with all-male founding teams last year.

“The challenge is, building a partnership is an incredibly delicate thing,” Brown, formerly of Index Ventures, says. For context, Index Ventures has made a number of notable Silicon Valley exits — from Facebook to, more recently, Dropbox.

Brown now manages a fund called Blossom Capital, which is focused on Europe’s start-up scene. Blossom, founded in 2016, recently closed an $85 million fund dedicated to pouring cash into proven early-stage start-ups.

When it comes to gender equality, one main hurdle for the industry to overcome, Brown says, is finding the limited partners necessary to back female-founded venture teams.

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