APRIL 2018

Athena Capital’s Kate Huntington Speaks to FundFire.com on the Venture Capital Industry’s Embrace of Gender Lens Investing

FundFire.com reports that the venture capital fund management market has shifted from last year’s backdrop of turmoil and frustration over gender imbalance and misconduct allegations and is moving toward a mode of action to reshape the industry.

Even before the larger #MeToo movement, venture fund managers were under a heavy spotlight as a string of high-profile executives resigned over misconduct claims and data was revealed to show the continuing dearth of women in decision-making roles. Since then, there is a sense of change in the market, reports FundFire.com’s Tom Stabile in his April 18, 2018, article, “Upheaval Brews in Venture Market Roiled by Misbehavior.”

One example cited in the article is the organization All Rise, founded by nearly three dozen venture capital executives committed to increasing the number of women at fund managers and startups and boosting the share of venture funding that goes to firms with female founders.

Stabile also cites the growing focus on gender lens investing within venture capital, which considers the role of women at every level of a due diligence process, including staffing levels at fund managers, capital flowing to female entrepreneurs, and the gender focus of target product and service markets for startup companies.

Kate Huntington, Athena Capital’s managing director of research, notes that more investors are considering these factors in their investments. A portion of Athena Capital’s client base integrates the practice of gender lens investing into their portfolio construction. Huntington notes that one client is transitioning 100% of her portfolio to incorporate gender inclusive strategies. There are also more women-led venture capital firms in the market, with established veterans at larger firms spinning out more often than even a few years ago, says Huntington.

The full article is available online to subscribers of FundFire.com and be accessed here.

Kate Huntington is managing director of research at Athena Capital Advisors, responsible for private equity and private real estate investments, and is co-head of Athena’s research and manager selection team. She is co-author of the white paper, Investing in Gender Equality, published in January 2018.