Entrepreneurship

Where fundraising for female-founded startups is growing fastest

For female founders, San Francisco and New York City have long been the places to be. The cities are home to startups that have raised more than $93 billion over more than 4,700 deals since 2008, according to PitchBook data.

However, while these two metro areas, along with Los Angeles and Boston, remain major players in startup fundraising, other cities have seen more significant growth in capital raised among female founders since 2020.

The Southwest, led by Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix, has seen explosive growth in capital raised by female-founded startups in recent years, according to PitchBook data. Washington, DC, and Denver have also seen a surge in capital going to female founders.

And these aren’t just cases of a moderate improvement on a small baseline signaling high growth. 

In each of the aforementioned cities, female founders raised at least $500 million between 2008 and 2019. But female-founded startups located in each of those metro areas have already seen that amount more than double in just the nearly three years since the beginning of 2020.
 

 

Take the two Texas cities for example.

Austin, the Texas state capital, has seen female-founded startups raise more than $2.8 billion since the start of 2020, a 161% increase from its 2008 to 2019 total. Dallas-Fort Worth, located about three hours to the north, has seen a 158% growth in capital raised since the beginning of 2020, garnering nearly $1.2 billion during that timespan.

This places them among the top five fastest-growing metro areas for female founders, both outstripping San Francisco.

For several of the major metro areas that experienced fast growth, healthcare services and systems, alongside pharmaceuticals and biotech, underpinned the increases in capital raised.

In the Washington, DC, metro area, for example, female-founded startups in pharmaceuticals and biotech raised nearly as much money in 2020 and 2021, $403 million, as they had from 2008 to 2019, according to PitchBook data.

In Austin, healthcare, software, B2B services and goods saw significant growth, mirroring trends in other metro areas.
 

 

The increased amount of capital raised in the fastest-growing metro areas isn’t just due to an increase in the number of deals either. The average value per deal for female-founded startups has grown significantly in major metro areas from 2020 on compared to 2008 through 2019.

In St. Louis, for example, the average value for a deal completed since 2020, $12.4 million, is more than double what it was from 2008 to 2019, $5.4 million. The average deal value for a female-founded startup in Dallas-Fort Worth grew by nearly 90% over that same timeframe.

Featured image of Austin by Peter Tsai Photography/Getty Images

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