Every day, we hear news of innovative startups successfully scaling their companies. The media covers each milestone — from new product launches to massive fundings to exponential growth and life-changing acquisitions.
As an innovator, entrepreneur and investor, these stories are exciting — they’re inspirational. The media coverage drives awareness for these businesses and their passionate founders, and fuels the dreams of innovators everywhere — successful entrepreneurship is possible!
But the truth is, what’s often overlooked is the fact that the entrepreneurs who are securing funding represent a small minority of the total community of business founders in the U.S.
Why are the demographics of business founders securing funding important to consider? Because, as a country, the individuals with access to funding to develop products that change how we work and live, should be as diverse as the fabric of our country. And studies show that the more diverse the team, the more innovative and successful the company. The same goes for diversity of experience amongst business founders as well.
Furthermore, when you look at the total demographics for business founders compared to entrepreneurs successfully raising capital, the disparities between the two simply do not add up.
We looked at which founders were getting funded, how much capital they were raising, which venture capital firms were investing — and whether those firms represented a diverse group of investment decision makers.
Last year, my team at The Growth Warrior set out to understand this disparity. We looked at exactly who was getting funded, how much capital they were raising, which venture capital firms were investing — and whether those firms represented a diverse group of investment decision makers.
After researching data sourced from reputable investment and business publication resources, we discovered that the majority of entrepreneurs raising capital between 2014-2019 were white, male, college-educated business founders, aged 35-years or older, living on the West Coast or in New York City, with investors in their first or second-level networks. Of this group, most attended an elite institution.
But the demographics of business founders during this same five-year period was far more diverse, the following data represents women founders as an example, and was sourced from WBENC:
- In 1972, there were 402,000 women-owned businesses in the U.S. — by 2018, there were 12.3 million, and since 2007, we’ve seen a 58 percent increase
- 4 out of every 10 businesses in the U.S. are owned or co-owned by women
- Roughly 1,821 net new companies were launched by women in 2017 and 64 percent of these companies were founded by women of color
- Employment within women-owned businesses increased 21 percent between 2007 and 2018
- Roughly 9.2 million people in the U.S. are employed by women-owned businesses
(8 percent of the private sector workforce)
- $1.8 trillion in revenue is generated by women-owned businesses
- Businesses owned by women of color employ 2.2 million people in the U.S. and generate $386.6 billion
- Between 2007 and 2018, businesses owned by women of color increased by 163 percent
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We published our findings in our free, recently released report The 2019 State of the Underdog, which dives even more deeply into the demographics of who is securing funding, and how location, age, gender, race, education and more, play a critical role in which entrepreneurs successfully raise capital.
The takeaway? If you’re a business founder reading this article, there’s a good chance that you too are an underdog entrepreneur — but it also means that you are a Growth Warrior. And if you are a venture capitalist — there’s a chance you’re missing out on massive investment opportunities simply because of the way that our networks are designed.
Here’s the good news — investors now have opportunities to support a growing group of growth warrior entrepreneurs representing more diverse experiences and perspectives, who have already proven their product-market fit, and built up a passionate customer base.
To learn more about how underdog entrepreneurs can successfully raise funding, download our free report today — Warrior Report: The 2019 State of the Underdog.
And to learn how The Growth Warrior supports entrepreneurs like you, sign up here.