Female Founders Are Showing Strength in a Tough Venture Capital Environment


The slow year for venture capital funding hasn’t hit female-led companies as hard as one might expect.

Startups with at least one woman at the helm raised $20.8 billion in funding during the first half of 2022, according to Pitchbook data. That level is slightly under the $22.17 billion raised by female-led companies during the first six months of 2021, a record year for venture capital that saw more than $49.04 billion raised. 

That strength among female founders in fundraising is mostly due to mixed-gender leadership teams. Companies with both male and female founders made up 18 percent of venture capital deals and accounted for 15 percent of all funding in the first half of 2022. Three-quarters of this year’s deals so far and over 80 percent of funding have gone to all-male teams.

Startups led exclusively by women lag behind. Companies with all-female founders accounted for only 6.9 percent of deals during the first half of 2022, and that number marked a decade high. All-female teams received just 2 percent of funding, raising $2.75 billion in the first half of the year. That number is down from $3.66 billion in the first half of 2021 and $4.13 billion in the second half.

In some of the most notable deals secured by female founders, Kari Nadeau and Ashley Dombkowski raised $119 million for Alladapt Immunotherapeutics, their Menlo Park, California biotech company focused on developing FDA-approved remedies for food allergies. Elevate K-12, a Chicago-based live-streaming education provider led by Shaily Baranwal, raised $40 million in a Series C funding round.

The single-largest funding round mentioned in the report on female founders went to Remote, which provides global payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance and secured $300 million in Series C financing. Of the company’s three founders, the only woman left in 2019.

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