The stats for VC funding haven’t improved.
According to Pitchbook, in 2023, female-founded startups received 2 percent of all VC dollars invested nationwide, the lowest percentage since 2016.
And the number of deals done with female founders fell in 2023 to its lowest level in years, according to Pitchbook.
Pitchbook reports that in 2023, “Companies with at least one female founder raised about $32.7 billion in venture funding across 3,230 deals, while startups with exclusively female founders garnered $2.8 billion over 867 deals. “
For startups with a mixed founder base, including at least one female founder, their capital share grew at a “faster rate than startups founded exclusively by women. The share of female co-founded VC capital was the highest in 2023, at 20.7% of total US VC funding. The top categories for funded female-founded startups are business-to-business services, software, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. “
In 2024, Silicon Hills News launched a new page highlighting female founders to showcase their accomplishments. The page also includes funding sources, incubators, accelerators, and other resources and opportunities for female founders.
To kick it off, here are some organizations in Austin focused on helping female founders:
Austin Women in Technology is a nonprofit organization that aims to support and empower women in the technology sector. They provide networking events, mentorship programs, and educational resources.
Austin Chamber Women’s Business Council: It organizes events and programs to support women in business.
DivInc: is an accelerator program in Austin that supports underrepresented founders, including women and people of color. They provide mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities.
Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Institute at the University of Texas at Austin aims to help students at UT pursue entrepreneurial interests.
Funding Resources for Female Founders:
The Female Founders Fund is an investment firm that supports female-led startups. It provides funding and resources to women entrepreneurs in various industries.
37 Angels is an organization that provides funding, mentorship, and support for women entrepreneurs. They offer early-stage investment and aim to increase the number of female investors in the startup ecosystem.
The Amber Grant monthly grant program awards funding to women-owned businesses. A winner receives a grant each month and can compete for an additional annual grant.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an international program that supports women entrepreneurs worldwide. It offers funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities to female founders in the early stages of their businesses.
The Tory Burch Foundation offers a Fellows Program that provides women entrepreneurs with support, resources, and a $5,000 grant for business education. It aims to empower and promote the success of women-owned businesses.
The Halstead Grant is a jewelry grant for emerging female jewelry designers. It provides funding, recognition, and business development opportunities to support the growth of women entrepreneurs in the jewelry industry.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) offers various scholarships and grants for women entrepreneurs. These awards are designed to support women pursuing education and business growth.
Grants.gov is a comprehensive resource where you can search for various grants offered by federal agencies. While not specifically focused on women, some opportunities may be relevant to women-owned businesses.
Women’s Business Centers, supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), provide resources, training, and counseling for women entrepreneurs. While not grants per se, they can connect you with valuable information and potential funding opportunities.
Hearst is hosting Pitch HearstLab, its pitch competition focused exclusively on women-led startups in the U.S., on April 17th in New York. The winners will receive $100,000 in investment and three months of support from HearstLab. Applications are due on Sunday, February 4th. In the last year, Hearst has invested more than $3 million across 13 startups.