Infographic: Female-Founded Companies That Got Funded

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Only 8% of US-based startups who closed a round of venture capital funding in 2016 have at least one female founder and a female CEO. However, among the female-founded, VC-funded startups, more than half (51%) have a woman at the helm. These are just a few of the topline findings revealed in a recent study by online graphic design marketplace 99designs analyzing Crunchbase and 99designs data.

99designs, which counts startups and entrepreneurs as a large part of the company’s customer base, took a deeper look at the VC funding gap unveiled in previous entrepreneur surveys this year showing that female founders tended to raise significantly less outside capital than their male counterparts. Using Crunchbase data pulled in June 2017, 99designs looked at US-based startups who raised a Seed, Series A or Series B round in 2016 to identify who among the female-founded and female-led companies had secured the most funding, which industries were getting funded and which geographic regions were spinning out the most VC-backed, female-founded, female-led businesses.

Women own about one-third of the businesses in the U.S., but these women-founded companies account for only about 16 percent of companies who received venture funding in 2016,” said 99designs Chief Marketing Officer Pamela Webber. “We wanted to shine the light on who, where and what these successful funding stories were.”

The top findings were as follows:

How many of these companies are there anyway?

  • 3,033: No. of companies who secured funding (Seed, Series A or Series B) in 2016
  • 479: No. of companies who secured funding (Seed, Series A or Series B) who have at least one female founder (16% of the 3,033 funded cos. have a woman at the helm)
  • 246: No. of female-founded companies who secured funding in past year who also have a female CEO (8% of total list of 3,033 funded companies have both a female founder and a female CEO)
  • 51% (“a little over half”) of the companies funded in the past year with at least one female founder also have a female CEO

What do these companies do? Top 10 categories are:

  1. Healthcare – 33 (13.4%)
  2. Commerce/Shopping – 27 (11.0%)
  3. Software – 17 (6.9%)
  4. Biotech – 15 (6.1%)
  5. Data/analytics – 12 (4.9%)
  6. Community/Lifestyle & Financial Services tie for 6th place with 11 cos. Each (4.5%)
  7. Tied for 7th place: Education (9), Food/Bev (9) and Prof Services (9) (3.7%)
  8. Consumer goods – 8 (3.3%)
  9. Internet Services and Mobile tied for 9th with 7 cos. Each (2.8%)
  10. Tied for 10th place: Artificial Intelligence, Real Estate, and Travel/tourism (2.4%)

Where are these companies located?

Top 5 regions for number of funded companies are:

  1. SF Bay Area – 93 cos. (also the highest amount of funding overall here) – 38%
  2. New York – 53 (second in funding by dollar amount raised) – 22%
  3. LA/OC – 16 cos. – 7%
  4. Chicago – 12 cos. – 5%
  5. Boston – 11 – 4%

Also on the list of top 10 city/regions:  Denver, Austin, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Seattle

Who are the biggest fundraising winners?

Top 10 Funded Female-founded, Female-run Companies (who raised at least 1 round in past year):

Millendo Therapeutics ($86.5M)
ApplePie Capital ($54.3M)
Bamboo Therapeutics ($49.5)
Caribou Biosciences ($44.5M)
Accompany ($40.6M)
Deliv ($40.4M)
Glossier ($34.4M)
Lever ($32.8M)
Baobab ($31.0M)
Crisis Text Line ($30.8M)

Of these:

  • 70% of the top-(overall) funded, women-founded and women-led companies are based in the SF Bay Area
  • 30% are biotech companies (vs. 20% Internet Services and 10% each: cons goods, financial svcs, messaging and telecomm, software, and media and entertainment)
  • Range amount raised among the top-10: $30.8 – $86.5M

Methodology: Data on companies funded in 2016 was sourced by 99designs from Crunchbase in June 2017, which compiles information on companies who have received venture or seed funding from outside investors. 99designs analyzed the 2016 data for companies who have raised a seed round, Series A round or Series B round within the date range 01/01/2016 to 12/31/2016. We then sorted by male or female founder (companies included have at least one woman on the founding team) and also by those with a woman currently in the CEO role. For more details, visit

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