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What Founders Want


Key Findings
The Results
1. Investment Raised
2. Past Experience
3. Geography
4. Gender
Who took the survey
About Frontline


Most of our survey respondents (54%) were from all-male founding teams.


Around a third (34%) of respondents were part of mixed-gender founding teams, whilst 12% came from all-female founding teams. So how much does gender impact what a founder looks for in a VC?

Whilst all three categories placed the funds’ understanding of the company and its sector as the most important factor, the ranking from there on out varies quite significantly. 

All-male founding teams ranked personal chemistry and relationships with the deal lead as the second most important factor, and introductions to prospective customers as third. All-female founding teams also ranked personal relationships with the deal lead as the second most important factor, but ranked alignment with fund values as third. Mixed-gender teams placed assistance with the next funding round in second place, and introductions to prospective customers as third. 

For both mixed-gender and all-female teams, having access to a peer network of other startup operators was the least important factor, with 4% and 0% picking this factor, respectively. Meanwhile, 10% of all-male teams picked this as an important factor. Perhaps this is indicative that the various initiatives focused on supporting underrepresented founding teams have been successful in giving them the support they desire from their peers.

For all-male founding teams, the diversity of the fund team and how they might shape diversity on the founder’s cap table was the least important factor. Just 2% of respondents from all-male teams put this in their top three, compared with 6% of mixed gender teams and 21% of all-female teams.

All-female founding teams were also far more likely to select alignment with fund values than mixed-gender and all-male teams. 29% of them chose this option, putting it in third position, compared with 20% of mixed-gender teams (placing 8th) and 11% for all-male teams (placing 11th).

In general, all-female founding teams deprioritised factors that increase the likelihood of raising future funding rounds (the fund’s own ability to fund future rounds, and operational support in securing the next round of funding) in favour of those that indicated a good fit with the current fund team (the fund’s understanding of their sector and business, personal relationships and chemistry with the person leading the deal, alignment with fund values, positive references from other founders).

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