Technology Start-ups Founded by Women Hire More Women, Study Finds

SAN FRANCISCO — Technology start-ups with at least one female founder have more women employees than major technology companies and twice as many women employees as start-ups with no female founders, a survey has found.

The survey from FundersClub underscores research that shows women in leadership positions are crucial for the advancement of other women. It’s also a signal that more women are pursuing entrepreneurial paths and that young companies may be more becoming more open to recruiting diverse workforces in an industry widely criticized for being a boys club and for having a widening gender gap.

“We didn’t go into this survey with any expectations, but the magnitude was surprising for us, the 2x difference was very surprising for us,” Alex Mittal, CEO and co-founder of FundersClub, an online venture capital firm, told USA TODAY.

Of the 234 start-ups in FundersClub’s portfolio, 85 responded to the anonymous survey.

Though the survey shows progress by female-led start-ups, the status quo remains. Some 17% of start-ups in 2017 had a female founder, according to a recent CrunchBase study. That number has been flat for five years, the study found, even though women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and are majority owners of 36% of U.S. small businesses.

Still, diversity experts say they are seeing some start-ups taking steps to recruit more women and people of color.

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June 14, 2017