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Female-led AI startups secure less than 3% of funding deals

Written by Thu 5 Oct 2023

Female-led AI startups accounted for under 3% of venture capital funding deal, according to a new report by the Alan Turing Institute.

The report highlighted the gender disparities within AI-focused VC investment in the UK.

It found that, between 2012 and 2022, 80% of total capital invested by VCs in AI was raised by all-male teams. Meanwhile, all-female teams raised only 0.3%.

Female-founded AI startups also secured funding at an average of six times less per deal than their male counterparts.

In total, all-female teams raised £1.3 million ($1.5 million) compared to £8.6 million ($10.4 million) for all-male teams.

Researchers noted the majority of decision makers in VC firms are men. They also found only 5% of firms had equal or majority female representation at the decision-making level.

Alan Turing Institute Research Fellow, Dr Erin Young, said it is crucial to make sure more female-founded AI companies receive investment. Young said investment in female-founded AI will encourage responsible AI and foster innovation.

“One can only imagine what technical products and services might have been invented if women had equal participation in the VC and entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Young.

The report offered recommendations to tackle gender inequality, including enhanced recruitment and promotions, advocating inclusivity, monitoring investments, and diversifying the ecosystem.

The Institute’s Public Policy Programme said addressing the gender gap was a ‘key mission.’ Director of the Programme, Helen Margetts, said working towards more equitable participation in the funding landscape will play a crucial role.

“Long-running lack of gender diversity in the technology industry has endured into the AI landscape. The Women in Data Science and AI team remain at the forefront of identifying and addressing gender inequality in these areas,” said Margetts.

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Written by Thu 5 Oct 2023

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