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StartHer report: 14.5% of French companies that raised funding in 2017 were run by women

Female entrepreneurs continued to make some progress in France last year, but still lag far behind their male counterparts when it comes to fundraising. And even if the gap is closing, data from a new report by StartHer and KPMG shows that women face far greater skepticism from investors when they are first starting a company.

The good news: Of the 717 French startups that raised venture capital last year, 104 were run by female entrepreneurs. That 14.5% rate is up from 13% the previous year. In addition, female-led startups raised €142.5 million in 2017, up 13% from 2016.

“In a red-hot tech market, fundraising by women continued to grow,” Audrey Soussan of StartHer in a statement.


That fundraising total represents only 7% of the total amounts raised by startups last year. And that discrepancy between the number or fundraising announcements and the amount is an indication of the challenges that women face right from the start.

There remains a large gap between the average amount a startup run by a man raises in the seed and Series A rounds compared to one run by a woman, according to the report. And last year, it got wider. The average early stage funding for women fell by 18% last year to €1.5 million, far below the overall early stage round €3.2 million.

That gap all but disappears by Series B. But it’s a strong signal that investors are more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a male-led company. A company run by a woman needs to show more progress and prove itselft before they get to funding parity, according the report.

Soussan noted that this means women have to be more aware of how they’re being scrutinized and judged by investors, who in many cases have never been pitched by a female founder. She called for continued support for female entrepreneurs via schools, accelerators and incubators.