The Fung Global Retail & Technology team attended the first day of the Women in STEM Summit, hosted by global business media firm Innovation Enterprise on Wednesday, June 8, in San Francisco, California. Under the theme “Inspire, Educate, Innovate,” the conference aims to share stories of female role models and provide networking opportunities for professionals in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries.
KICKING OFF WOMEN IN STEM SUMMIT WITH MY KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
I kicked off the two-day summit with a keynote presentation entitled “Compete to Succeed: Investing in Women-Led Startups.” I used my latest theory, the Four-Quadrant Disruptors Framework, to illustrate areas of opportunity for women-led startups in the retail industry. I was able to share my insights on a number of drivers that help women-led startups flourish and discussed common challenges that female entrepreneurs face. I concluded the presentation with a case study on the women-led startup scene China.
Below are the key takeaways from my presentation.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM MY “COMPETE TO SUCCEED: INVESTING IN WOMEN-LED STARTUPS” PRESENTATION
Statistics regarding the funding of women-led startups:
- Only 3% of total venture capital funding goes to companies with women CEOs.
- Among venture-funded businesses, 86% have no women in management positions.
- Of total seed-stage investment, 9% is given to companies led by women entrepreneurs.
Drivers of women-led startups include:
- Funding institutes and organizations, such as Golden Seeds, Women 2.0 and 37 Angels.
- Global entrepreneurship events, such as the Alibaba Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship and the Fung Global Research & Technology Disruptors Breakfast series.
Crowdfunding has been an effective tool for women-led startups:
- In terms of equity-based funding, women-led companies have a 23% success rate versus the overall success rate of 20%.
- In terms of reward-based efforts, women-owned tech companies have a 65% success rate versus a 30% success rate for male-owned tech companies.
Challenges for women-led startups include:
- Underrepresentation in STEM jobs: women’s share of STEM degrees remained largely unchanged from 2004–2014.
- In addition, the male-dominant entrepreneurial culture leads women to report in surveys that they have fewer perceived opportunities, higher fear of failure, lower perceived capabilities and smaller networks of other entrepreneurs than men do.
China is a leader in creating a women-friendly startup ecosystem:
- Chinese startups have more women in leadership than similar companies in the US and the UK do.
Following my presentation, leaders from Coca-Cola, Google, NASA and UN Women, among others, shared their insights on women in STEM.