Data Show Few Digital Health Startups Led by Women

March 26, 2015 in News

Just 6% of digital health startups that have received $2 million or more in capital in the last four years are led by female executives, according to data from Rock Health, KQED’s “Future of You” reports.

By comparison, women represent just 21% of both executives and board members at Fortune 500 companies, according to Rock Health.

Of 400 women surveyed by Rock Health:

  • 96% said that gender discrimination still exists in the workplace; and
  • 50% said their gender represented a professional hurdle.

Reasons for Lack of Female Leadership Vary

According to “Future of You,” fewer women than men tend to receive funding for their startups, and the situation has not improved by much in recent years for various reasons.

For example, some investors say it is difficult to fund digital health startups led by women because there are too few women in the field.

Missy Krasner, a former digital health investor at Canvas Venture Fund, said, “There are too few female founders who are taking the risk in starting a company.”

Meanwhile, others say the problem lies with the failure to invest in female founders, not a lack of desire among women to create startups.

Kyra Davis, a program manager at University of California-San Francisco’s Entrepreneurship Center, said, “The problem here is clearly not the expertise or interest from female CEOs.”

The report recommended that companies rethink their hiring processes to recruit more women, as recent studies have shown that diverse leadership can be good for business (Farr, “Future of You,” KQED, 3/23).

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