Where is the Money for Female Founders?
The three of us have many things in common, one being our shared commitment to building and supporting the entrepeneurial community. We are also newcomers to Nashville, Tennessee, having moved here in 2017 without knowing one another previously. It is in Nashville where we first connected and discovered our common vision for community building and supporting the next generation of women pursuing entrepreneurship and/or venture capital as careers. However, we came to find in our interactions with entrepreneurs and investors another common thread -- we are often the only women present in meetings.
Inspired by recent studies (see: AllRaise) documenting female founders and investors from across the U.S., we decided to take a closer look at the State of Tennessee’s startup ecosystem. Our journey to answer this question led us to collect the publicly available information from various sources in the Tennessee startup community and to interview a broad selection of stakeholders who currently invest in and actively support female founded companies. Historically, the data to evaluate Tennessee's female founder ecosystem has been non-existent, so we decided to create it ourselves and make it available to everyone.
What we have found is:
⟶ For the past five years there have been less than twenty companies that were solely founded by women and funded in the state of Tennessee.
⟶ Currently, the State of Tennessee has 18 active female venture capitalists.
⟶ Only 6 venture firms, of a total 44 venture firms across the State of Tennessee, have at least one female investment partner.
⟶ There is a need for a central resource for female founders to identify potential investors.
We have concluded that there has been little to no communication across female founders and investors on the variety of funding resources currently available in the state.