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

This survey seeks to understand gender differences in investment decision making.

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, launched the “How Women (and Men) Invest in Startups” Survey. The organization is committed to disrupting the inequity in the venture capital system. This will be done by focusing exclusively on women-founded and run companies and activating women investors. It’s the only US venture fund to invest exclusively in women-founded and run startups.

Ventureneer and CoreWoman, research companies dedicated to closing the gender financing gap will conduct the survey. The survey seeks input from accredited investors, people and organizations allowed to trade securities and will close by April 30. For each response, How Women Lead will donate $5 to one of four nonprofits. They are AnnieCannonsProsperaShe The People or Techbridge Girls.

Wells Fargo is sponsoring the survey, which announced its $1.5M grant to How Women Lead on March 10, 2022. It is an investment into what stops women from investing in startups and venture funds.

“Only a tiny percentage of women who qualify to be angels and limited partners 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 women to step into their power and influence as investors to drive change 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. All trends indicate at least an equally strong year in 2022. (Q4 2021 PitchBook NVCA Venture Monitor)
  • While just a small fraction – 17.3 percent – of the total dollars invested in private companies in 2021, $54.8 billion was a whopping 138 percent 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 two percent, despite the rise in companies founded and led by women. (Q4 2021 PitchBook NVCA Venture Monitor)
  • Women are likely to inherit a large portion of the $30 trillion from baby boomers. Women are increasingly building wealth on their own. (McKinsey)
  • Angel-backed companies with women CEOs have risen steadily in the last 15 years. The number has risen from just 5 percent in 2015 to 21 percent 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 percent. (Angel Funders Report)

“With women founding more companies than ever before from all races and backgrounds, the impact women investors can make by funding women-led startups 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. It welcomes 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. These include 37 Angels, BLCK VC, California Society of CPAs, Dream Ventures, European Black Investors, Golden Seeds and many more. Individual outreach partners include Vanessa Dawson, AdaPia Derrico, Ann Drabick, Annie Evans, Tara Greco, Alicia Syrett, Jonny Price, Rochelle Stewart, and Lolita Taub.

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.”

Mandy Byrnum, CEO of BLCK VC said, “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. It’ll propel particularly women founders and leaders of color forward with capital. They’ll be able to scale and change the way we do business.”

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 lot of alpha. I’ll always want to support initiatives aligned with this,” Taub said.

About How Women Invest

How Women Invest is a sister organization to How Women Lead. HWL’s mission to disrupt the antiquated and unequal landscape impacting women is a big part of HWI. 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. HWI also aims to 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

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