How Many Venture-Backed Cybersecurity Startups Are Led By Women?
- Apr 06, 2022
- Lisa Xu
Cybersecurity startups have had an incredible past couple of years.
In 2020, they raised $8.9 billion and last year, that number increased to more than $21 billion.
While this data is exciting and promising for the cybersecurity industry as a whole, there’s one big question that isn’t being asked: how much of that funding went to companies led by women?
As a female CEO of a cybersecurity company myself, I was curious to know the answer to this question. There are dozens of articles that talk about the need to bring more women into cybersecurity and plenty of companies that celebrated International Women’s Day on social media. But I didn’t see any hard numbers that showed just how many of the industry’s startups raising capital are led by women.
To answer this question, we conducted our own research. Over the past two months, we collected and analyzed 654 cybersecurity startups that raised more than $1,000,000 in funding in 2020 and 2021.
Our goal was simple: to see how many are led by women. Of the 654 startups analyzed, only 22 — or 3.3% were led by female CEOs.
With just 3% of companies being led by women, do we really wonder why we have a gender diversity problem in cybersecurity? What’s actually being done to address this problem? Is there any real progress being made to fix it?
Going forward, we’ll take the lead on measuring the progress that’s being made. Every 6 months, we’ll analyze all the cybersecurity startups that have raised more than $1 million in funding and publish updated numbers.
We are doing this because before we can expect to see progress made to solve this problem, we all need to know where we stand. What gets measured gets improved. We’ll take on the responsibility of monitoring funding going to women-led cybersecurity companies but it will be up to investors to determine what actually gets improved. To see true improvement, investors must back more female CEOs. Investors backing more female CEOs who are running cybersecurity companies will bring more women into cybersecurity — it’s truly that simple.
If there are more women in cybersecurity — everyone wins. Organizations get to build more diverse teams, investors get to invest in companies that have been proven to outperform their male counterparts, and most importantly, all the incredibly talented women out there get the opportunity to unleash their value to the world.
My hope in publishing these numbers is to encourage investors to understand just how severe this problem is so they can take immediate action towards addressing it. It’s up to investors to make this happen.
The numbers represent 654 security startups that raised a round of capital between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. The total funding criteria was more than $1,000,000. This data was sourced from Crunchbase and each company was individually analyzed to determine the gender of the CEO.