The Leading Industries for Female Founders in 2021 - KingsCrowd

March 9, 2022

The Leading Industries for Female Founders in 2021

In our last Chart of the Week, we discovered that, female founders received 19.3% of all the capital invested in online startup deals in 2021. That’s close to 10x more than the percentage of capital they raised from venture capital (VC) firms. In the VC deals, companies with female founders were mostly operating in the software industry, followed by business-to-business services and pharma & bio.

In the online startup investing world, are female founders raising capital in the same industries as in venture capital? We looked at Regulation Crowdfunding equity deals in 2021 and found that 49.8% of female founders raising online operated in the following five industries.

Across more than 20 different industries tracked by KingsCrowd, female founders had the highest representation in the food, beverage, and restaurants industry in 2021 at 14.09%. The top four categories in which most female founders are raising online are not surprising – they are also some of the most funded industries, regardless of founding team composition. But there is one distinct exception to that. While the fitness and wellness industry only brought in $10.6 million, nearly 50% of all deals in that industry featured female founders in 2021. In comparison to all industries, 7.9% of female founders raising online were running fitness and wellness startups. 

Overall, we see that female founders are largely in consumer-facing businesses – a distinct break from the strong software representation seen in VC deals. However, only one of the top five industries for female founders raising online fell into the top three most funded industries for 2021. Media, entertainment, and publishing received more than $52 million last year. The other top industries for female founders were within the top 10 funded industries (with the noted exception of fitness and wellness). It seems, then, that industry is probably not an explanation for why female founders are still receiving less funding than their male counterparts.

However, the difference of female-led startup deals between VC and the online crowdfunding market is a demonstration of the possibilities offered by the democratization of startup investing. Women can succeed in a wider number of industries, and investors have access to a wider range of startup deals.

Stay tuned for next week when we look at the representation of female founders on the different crowdfunding platforms!

Note: all data used for the Chart of the Week comes from the KingsCrowd database and represents a snapshot of the crowdfunding market.


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About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.

View Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau's articles

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