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6% of board seats of unicorn startups are held by women. 60% of unicorns have zero women on their boards. ~Fortune most exclusive boys club

women board seats unicorn startups fortune Forbes founders black swans The most exclusive boys club America s largest startups Fortune

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, Tinder President Sean Rad, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick:

Among the many celebrated startups with no women on boards.


Found via Falon:

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, Silicon Valley!, Pinterest, Women, Marc Andreessen, Airbnb, Sexism, @sherylsandberg, Boards, Bill Gates, @jessicaalba, Uber, Snapchat, XX, @aaker, Give and Take, Silicon Valley, Venture Capital, Tinder!, Slack, Theranos, Black Swans!, @melindagates, Ellen Pao, @msquinn, Change the Ratio, Women in Tech

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These stats are all appalling. We can and should do better.

It’s no secret that the Fortune 500 is led mostly by men. 

Only 25 Fortune 500 companies have a woman as CEO, and 23 had all-male corporate boards when Fortune conducted an analysis earlier this year.

But according to a new analysis by Fortune, America’s largest and most powerful private companies might be the most exclusive boys’ club of all.

Just 6.2% of board seats are held by women within U.S.-based “unicorn” companies, that rare breed of private firms whose value is more than $1 billion, based on fundraising.

America’s 55 unicorn companies collectively represent 354 board director seats, the Fortune analysis shows, and only 22 are held by women.

A full 60% — or 33 — of the U.S. unicorn companies have all-male boards, as compared with nearly 5% of Fortune 500 companies. The startups with all-male boards include some of the most celebrated brands, such as Uber, Snapchat, Tinder and Airbnb. These are the wildly influential innovators that the rest of the startup world strives to emulate.

None of the 55 companies have more than one woman on their board. Some research suggests that boards need at least three women in order to achieve the effective critical mass that leads to improved performance and governance.

Fortune reached out to all 33 U.S.-based unicorns that have all-male boards. 

Only eight – JustFab, Lookout, Pluralsight, Razer, Slack, Snapchat, Pinterest and Legendary Entertainment – offered comments. 

Most stressed their commitment to diversity, but noted that early-stage startup boards tend to be composed of founders and investors — who were men. 

“It just so happens that the people who wanted to invest in JustFab were men,” Adam Goldenberg, JustFab’s co-CEO, said in a statement.

In fact, the vast majority of venture capitalists – more than 95 percent – are male, as of Fortune’s most recent analysis.

95% of VCs are male in 2015, compared with 89% in 2012:

The trend is getting worse. 

The sad news is, the lack of gender diversity on Boards will continue for the foreseeable future.

Of the 81 unicorns counted by Fortune (55 U.S. companies and 26 internationals), four companies — Good Technology, Houzz, Sunrun, and Theranos – have a woman as CEO. The CEOs are the only women on their company boards.

It wasn’t until Twitter and Facebook filed their IPOs that it became widely known that their boards were all male. Both companies received fierce criticism, and after going public, both named women. Twitter now has one woman on its board; Facebook has two.

Melinda Gates points out that women-led companies outperformed their peers:

Not just a little, but by a factor of 3:

Women led companies perform three times better than the S&P 500 Fortune

The way this game works is the founder(s) and funder(s) take board seats -- and they come from pools that are 98% male. Then you might have one person who has a lot of operational experience, often the CEO if the founder does not hold that office, probably from an even more male pool because these people tend to be older than the founders. Then you have the external board member who usually has to be UNANIMOUSLY elected and is often not even thought about too hard until around IPO time. That's the ONLY seat that most women even have a shot at.

So it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Only if the founder goes out of her or his way to target the 2% of women funders can there be a board with more than one woman on it.

Of 81 unicorns, not a single one has more than one woman on its board.

Only 19% of directors in S&P 500 companies are women. 

Only 3% of directors in S&P 500 companies are women of color.

The term unicorn was popularized by Aileen Lee in TechCrunch in 2013;

Less than one-tenth of a percent of venture capital in the United States is invested in black women founders:

Black women are about 7% of the United States population.

77% of venture firms have never had a female partner.

Five uncomfortable truths about the Ellen Pao Verdict, by Nitasha Tiku in The Verge:

"Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion."


Mobile unicorns:

mobile unicorns chart Bill Gurley SXSW talk on dead unicorns - Business Insider

I note that this pyramid is a little out of date.

For example, Pinterest is now in the Over $10B bucket, and Nextdoor is in the $1B bucket.

On an unrelated note, my favorite unicorn gif is this Unikitty gif from the LEGO Movie.

This gif was made by my friend matt01ss.

happy unicorn kitty gif imgur LEGO Movie cat

When I think of unicorn gifs, I think of unikitty.

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