Three years into our start-up programme, CMS equIP, and we are acutely aware that the majority of our equIP members have all-male founding teams. We have questioned whether this is a situation of our own making - is our contact base, our marketing or our selection criteria biased? The answer is maybe (we are not infallible and we all have unconscious biases). But, as this report by Atomico demonstrates, it is also unsurprising that most of the start-ups that come to us looking for a legal partner to help them grow are run by men, when all-male founding teams receive a shockingly disproportionate share of investment.
So, the more important question is, what are we going to do about it? And I am using the "royal we" here.
We need to lead the change.
There are some fantastic organisations working to address the underrepresentation of women in tech, such as accelerateHer (https://accelerateher.co), Girls in Tech (https://london.girlsintech.org), Blooming Founders (www.bloomingfounders.com), Female Founders (https://femalefounders.hatchenterprise.org), Plexiglass (www.plexal.com/plexiglass) and many others.
At CMS equIP we are looking for a partner focussed on supporting female founders to work alongside us and get as many female led businesses in front of our pitching panel. If you are interested in working with us, please get in touch.
We are appealing for female founders to join our programme. If you are a female founder we'd love to hear from you directly or through our website https://cms.law/en/GBR/EquIP/CMS-equIP
And we are championing the start-ups on our programme that do have female founders, like the amazing Felicia Meyerowitz Singh of Akoni, the incredible Marja Verbon of Jump.Work, the awesome Rachel Jones of Snapdragon and the inspiring Kim Nilsson of Pivigo.
What are you doing?
Once funding is allocated, the divide is even more stark: while 85% of deals involve all-male founding teams, they receive 93% of the money invested. All-female founding teams receive just 2% – and the figures have barely changed in the past five years. In 2012 all-male teams received 92% of all the capital invested.