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Glaring Gap Summit by Embarc Collective

Before the holidays I attended a Virtual Summit put on by Embarc Collective and sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, for 50 Florida based women, focused on positively impacting Florida's investment landscape.

It was apropos to be called the Glaring Gap Summit due to the fact that in 2020, 65% of venture capital firms didn't have a single woman partner and only 13% had a woman decision maker on investments, in all of North America.

According to All Rise, in Florida only 15% of firms had any woman team member listed at all, and only 8% had a woman in a leadership or investment position.

On the flip side, according to Embarc Collective, in 2020 only 8% of VC funding went to Women Founder startups, and only 18% of new start-up companies in Florida had a woman founder. This number is down 23% from 2019.

Luckily, the data shows that the number of Women on Venture Capital teams and Private Equity team roles in Florida grew by 36% in 2021. But we have a long way to go on both the investment side and increasing the number of women founders.

Embarc Collective Vice-President Allie Felix, pulled together a great group of inspirational speakers from both the women founder side and women investor side for the morning session. Then later in the afternoon Angela Lee, Professor of Venture Capital Practice at Columbia Business School, start-up investor and Founder of 37 Angels, walked us through a rigorous training on investing.

On the second day, we broke into groups and had the opportunity to put what we learned into action by listening to real Women Startup Companies, who are looking for funding. We listened to their pitches and created a Due Diligence Memo about the company's strengths, weaknesses, their team, the problem they were looking to solve, and the investment assessment.

Angela did a wonderful job of explaining not only what investors are looking for when deciding on whether to invest in a company, but she also shined the light on what start-up companies need to do better to get an investors attention.

At 37 Angels, they evaluate 2500 start-ups a year, with their intent on funding only 10. They have 100 Angels in their network and have invested in 85 companies, that are in their portfolio.

This organization is doing their part in supporting the start-up ecosystem, especially women founders. They are educating more women on becoming Angel or VC investors and gearing up women college students graduating and entering the workforce on how they can break into these VC companies early on in their careers.

To help close this Glaring Gap, Embarc Collective has been woking on 3 approaches by: Increasing the support for women led start-ups, Increasing the number of women start-up investors in Florida, and Creating a commitment among other women.

All participants of the Glaring Gap Summit were asked to sign a pledge to be part of the Solution to Eliminate the Glaring Gap.

As for my part, I want to change the fact that the Tampa Region has no Women Angel Fund nor a Woman Venture Capital Firm. Last year companies in Tampa raised over $350 Million dollars and I bet a very small percentage were given to Women Founded companies.

Only by shining the light on these figures and educating more women on the value of Investing in other Women, and the companies they are building to solve problems in the world, can these numbers change.

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