From our Obsession
Power in Progress
Exploring diversity from all angles.
Women’s reality in venture capital sounds bleak. While companies with at least one woman on their founding team significantly outperform their all-male counterparts, female CEOs receive only 2.7% of all VC funding, with women of color receiving just 0.2% of that cash. Meanwhile, numerous top investors have been accused of sexual harassment, and fired for it, this year alone. One pair of female founders even invented fake male co-founders to evade sexism from VC firms (it works).
However, according to Kimmy Scotti, a founding partner at 8VC, a San Francisco-based VC fund specializing in technology companies with a focus on healthcare, being a woman in VC isn’t always a handicap.
As a member of 8VC’s investment team, as well as a founder of the women’s wellness company Monthly Gift and co-founder of Script Relief, a direct-to-consumer healthcare company, Scotti is no stranger to the process of pitching, receiving, and granting VC money—or the sexism that can feature in these pursuits. Speaking with Fortune, she explained why being a woman in a traditionally boys-club industry is actually “a great benefit.”
“For one, you’re highly memorable as the only woman in the room,” Scotti told the magazine. “In this industry, so much deal flow comes from the fact that founders remember you’re a person they should be reaching out to and that you’d be a good partner. It’s very easy to remember one of very few women in a sea of hundreds of men.”
What’s more, she says that women offer a different view than their male peers when it comes to evaluating and investing in consumer businesses: “We consume much of what you would think of as male-dominated purchases, like automobiles for instance. We have a unique perspective as purchasers, which is a huge benefit as investors in consumer businesses.”
It’s hard not to raise a brow at Scotti’s silver lining, which capitalizes on women’s scarcity in VC, a reality that is both created and sustained by sexism. Ideally, women who have successfully navigated the industry would be advocates for turning that scarcity into profundity.
Scotti holds both truths at once. “We definitely need more female VCs, and I’m always trying to bring up other women in this industry,” she explains. “I always say, half in jest, that all the smart girls need to stick together. I look for ways to partner and work with other female entrepreneurs and investors. I’m very lucky to have incredible female entrepreneurs in our portfolio solving huge problems and I’m really proud of that.”