VC funding of women climate tech founders is abysmal. Here’s how it could improve
The venture community has realized several things in recent years: Climate change isn’t going away, and there is a huge opportunity to invest in companies that promise to define entire segments of the future economy.
With a few hiccups along the way, venture dollars have begun to flow with increasing volume and regularity to climate tech startups over the last few years. That capital is adding up; since the start of 2021, climate tech startups have raised $88 billion, according to PitchBook data.
The sector’s potential is practically limitless: the problems presented by climate change will be with us for generations, meaning that solutions could build companies that last for decades, if not hundreds of years. And the slight dip in funding that the climate sector saw last year isn’t indicative of lost investor interest, nor are the slow-pacing Q1 figures; for many, not just those in climate tech, the market is slow.
But just like in other parts of the startup economy, those dollars are far from evenly distributed. Women founders have received just 6.9% of venture dollars in climate tech in Q1, according to Crunchbase, which is down from 8.9% in 2022.
It will take the perspectives and knowledge from all things and all people to tackle our changing planet. But while climate tech and its backers might be experiencing an awakening, founders who identify as women have yet to experience it.
Gender bias is still persistent
“The funding gap is astounding,” Emily McAteer, co-founder and CEO of Odyssey Energy Solutions, told TechCrunch+.
A key driver appears to be the discrepancy in round size between companies with male-only founders and those with mixed-gender or female-only founding teams.