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Angel-backed startups have more female CEOs (16.4%) than the Fortune 500 (8.8%) and the S&P 500 (6.4%). That’s the good news!

The bad news is that female CEOs are losing ground—both as a share of dollars invested and the number of deals, according to the 2021 HALO Report: Annual Report on Investments. The Report also found that minority female CEOs lost less ground than their nonminority counterparts.

Early-stage investors—primarily angel groups, angels, and super angels—put $4.8 billion to work in rounds set to receive $6.4 billion—a 29% increase over 2020 and a 50% increase over 2019. A record year!

“It’s disturbing that when startup investment dollars surged in 2021, female CEOs’ proportion of dollars and deals dropped,” said Gwen Edwards, board member, startup advisor, and author of the Report. Women often fall behind men in hard times, but women fell behind in 2021, which was a record-breaking investment year for startups.

For every step forward, it’s a half step backward.

Share Of Angel Investments For Female CEOs of Startups Dips

“The original purpose of the HALO Report was so angel investors could compare a potential investment pre-market valuation (PMV) to other startups by industry and region,” said Edwards. The Report is produced by the Angel Resource Institute using PitchBook data. It’s become a tool to understand better angel funding for female CEOs.

“The Report tracks investment of primarily angel groups, angels, and super angels in pre-venture and pre-venture/venture rounds, which includes Pre-Seed and some Series A funding as well as some venture capital by gender, [race,] and ethnicity,” said Edwards. “A super angel is an individual investor who can write a check for $500,000 to $1 million and take a deal off the table. The typical angel investment is $25,000.” Nearly half of all super angels reside in three states. California (26.1%) has the most super angels, followed by New York (17.4%) and Texas (5.2%).

Female CEOs Raise Less And At A Lower Valuation Than Their Male Counterparts

It’s not just that the proportion of funding going to female CEOs is decreasing. It’s those female CEOs raise less and have lower valuations.

  • On average, minority female CEOs raise $1.6 million compared to the $2.2 million their male counterparts raise. Minority female CEOs’ pre-money valuation ($8.0 million) is also less than minority male CEOs ($9.9 million).
  • On average, nonminority female CEOs raise $1.8 million compared to the $2.6 million their male counterparts raise. Minority female CEOs’ pre-money valuation ($7.6 million) is also less than minority male CEOs ($12.5 million).

Asian, Blacks, and Latinx Account For A Greater Proportion Of Female CEOs than Male

  • In 2021, 326 early-stage startups were funded primarily by angels, with female CEOs. They account for 16.4% of angel-backed startups.
  • Male CEOs, compared to their female counterparts, are more likely to be white (81.5% vs. 78.8%) and SE Asian/Indian/PI (7.2% vs. 4.0%).
  • Female CEOs, compared to their male counterparts, are more likely to be Asian (7.4% vs. 5.3%), Black (6.1% vs. 3.0%), and Latinx (3.7% vs. 3.2%).

California and New York Are Top States for Female CEOs of Angel-Backed Startups

  • California (25.9%) has the highest percentage of female CEOs in the U.S., and New York (13.9%) and Texas (3.7%) follow.
  • New York (23.1%) tops the list for the state’s greatest share of female CEOs. California (20.8%) and Texas (11.7%) trail.

Southeast Asian/Indian/Pacific Islander CEOs Have Highest Pre-Money Valuation (PMV) By Gender

  • In general female CEOs by demographic segment raise less and have lower PMV. The one exception: Black female CEOs have higher PMV ($6.7 million) than Black men ($6.6 million).
  • On average, Black female CEOs raised the least ($1.2 million), followed by Latinas ($1.4 million). White men raise the most ($3.0 million).
  • Latina CEOs had the lowest pre-money valuation ($5.5 million), followed by Black female CEOs ($6.7 million).
  • Southeast Asian/Indian/Pacific Islander male CEOs have the highest valuation ($13.4 million), followed by white male CEOs ($13.1 million), and Southeast Asian/Indian/Pacific Islander female CEOs ($11.7 million).

How can female CEOs get their fair share of angel investments?


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