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Leaning in a Little More: Venture Capital Group Spotlights Women

By / Jul 25, 2013 Nataly Kogan, cofounder and "Chief Happiness Officer" of Happier.com, is one of Boston's high-profile female startup executives. (Happier press photo)

With a new study showing that 70 percent of entrepreneurs find Boston’s tech scene less inclusive than it could be, the New England Venture Capital Association is starting a conversation on how to improve the balance.

The world of startups definitely has a reputation for not being equally friendly to both genders, but one association is trying to fix that.

The New England Venture Capital Association, which represents members of the startup scene throughout the region, particularly in the Boston area, has released a study analyzing just how women are perceived in the culture. More details:

What the study says: According to the NEVCA study, which surveyed a number of Boston entrepreneurs, 64 percent of respondents said the startup scene was only sometimes inclusive to women, while another 6 percent said it never was. Of the female entrepreneurs surveyed, just 8 percent said they found being a woman helpful in getting funding. All in all, only 30 percent of respondents said the city’s startup scene made room for women on a regular basis.

Why it matters: The association hopes that the study can help improve the balance, which is an industrywide problem, no matter the city. “Boston has a crop of tremendously talented female entrepreneurs, and is doing no better or worse than any other major startup market as far as the ratio of venture-backed women to men founders,” the association’s executive director, C.A. Webb, said in a press release. It’s something that the association is working on, having held an event with Facebook COO and LeanIn.org founder Sheryl Sandberg in April, and is doing what it can to “[propel] that conversation further and making explicit that Boston wants to be home to the best women in technology.”

Making a point: With the release of the survey, Webb posted an article on the startup-focused site BostInno touting the wide variety of woman-led startups in Boston. Businesses on the list, 56 of them startups with venture capital or angel funding, are in numerous spaces, including healthcare,  educationsocial networking, and family services.

Despite that encouraging news, the survey  found that 33 percent of respondents said  there were no women on their management team, and more than a third said they had just one. The association is working to change that.

“We want women who are coming up through the ranks of some of Boston’s fastest growing venture-backed companies to, like many of the men they work with, leave those companies eventually and start their own,” said NEVCA president Steve Kraus in the press release.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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