Our First Billion

“There is growing recognition in the venture industry that great ideas and successful entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, and the best returns are achieved with diverse teams.  As importantly, this recognition extends to the LP community where we consistently hear that diversity within portfolios is now a part of their diligence process. We are excited by the progress made and remain committed to working toward the goal of a private investment industry that more fully reflects the breadth and depth of innovators and risk-takers in our country.”

Kay Parry

Managing Director, Venture Banking, Pacific Western Bank


Launched to address the gender venture funding gap where female founders were only receiving 2.2% of venture capital, the campaign was the first-of-its-kind global capital commitment campaign focused on gender-lens investing, a bold measure to inspire venture capitalists to pledge to invest more into female-founded companies. 

This report, published with support from Pacific Western Bank, Mastercard, Bank of America and Motley Fool Ventures, found that the consortium deployed 61% of their pledged amount in just two years into almost 800 companiesnine of which were recognized as unicorns, with the remainder expected to be deployed by 2023. An additional analysis from a sample size of 479 of the deals tracked by the consortium’s data partner, PitchBook, showed that these portfolio companies with female founders, have gone on to raise more than $4 billion within the timeframe of the 2018-2020 pledge campaign.  This report presents both qualitative and quantitative data to specifically answer three core questions:

  • How impactful was ‘Our First Billion’ campaign? That is, how much of the $1 billion pledged by 86 venture funds was deployed by December 31, 2020, and what were the trends observed from such data?
  • What can GPs do to better fuel women-led innovation?
  • What can LPs do to better back GPs who over-index into female founders?