Startup Genome Report Shows Women Still Underrepresented

November 23, 2012

12:00 pm

On Tuesday, Startup Genome released a report analyzing the world’s top startup ecosystems that showed that women are still underrepresented.

The overall rankings, topped by Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City, respectively, also included factors like age, education, work hours, and gender. Here are the top 18 startup ecosystems ranked by percentage of women.

(Data were not provided for Seattle, ranked #4, and Chicago, ranked #10.) These numbers are based on over 50,000 startups that used Startup Genome’s business intelligence tool, the Startup Compass. And organizations like Startup America were even encouraging women to participate.

The report makes no comment on these numbers, other than noting that New York is the global capital for women entrepreneurs. When I asked Startup Genome founder Bjoern Herrmann how the percentage of women contributes to the success of a startup ecosystem, he said, “It doesn’t make a difference – neither good or bad.”

Notable is that none of the ecosystems with 8 percent or fewer women make the top 10. And all the US and Canadian cities in the top 20 (where data are available) have at least 8 percent women entrepreneurs. According to Herrmann, the higher percentage of women in Santiago is likely due to Start-Up Chile’s efforts to support gender balance.

But the numbers still appear low. “The city with the highest proportion of women entrepreneurs only has 20% and that just isn’t where it needs to be,” says Anna Curran, founder of

New York leads the US cities in the top 20, 6 percentage points higher than Los Angeles. Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of the Pipeline Fellowship, surmises that the lower percentage of serial entrepreneurs in New York (compared to Silicon Valley) makes it easier for new players like women to join the industry. And, she adds, “the flawed pattern recognition of successful entrepreneur equals white-guy-college-dropout may have less of a stronghold in NYC.”

According to Maria Seidman, cofounder and CEO of Yapp, another factor is New York’s abundance of fashion and media startups, as well as consumer-facing startups that target women. But she hopes to see her city do even better. “Mentorship, STEM education, [and] formal/informal networks are important in driving this ratio up,” she said.

Silicon Valley falls mediocrely in the middle, with 10 percent women entrepreneurs. “Silicon Valley, BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF – you need to double that percentage by 2013,” says Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld.

The sample of entrepreneurs surveyed isn’t completely random, so the percentages may be slightly off. But Startup Genome took steps to account for this (see the Methodology section of the report). If gender balance in startups is the goal, we still have our work cut out for us.

Related reading: 30+ Organizations for Women in Technology

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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