Why 6.5Sense, You Ask?

By Wednesday, May 7, 2014 No tags Permalink 1

6.5 isn’t an arbitrarily selected number that happened to compliment my company’s name, 6Sense.  While it does compliment our name quite nicely, I named my blog 6.5Sense because only 6.5% of venture-backed startups have a female CEO, according to the widely-quoted Women at the Wheel Dow Jones report. And worse, only 1.3% of venture backed founders are women. As part of this 1.3 and 6.5%, I feel it is my obligation to share my story in hopes of inspiring women and girls.

A few more dismal statistics:

  • Women hold 15% of all senior management positions in the US
  • The number of women CEOs in the US is at 6%
  • 4.6% of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies are women
  • 4.6% of CEO positions at Fortune 1000 companies are women
  • 20% of venture-backed startups have one or more female C-level executive
  • Women account for 6% of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies
  • Among venture capitalists, just 14% are women
  • Analyzing just female executives at VC-backed companies:
    • C-level roles consist of 20% females
    • 19% of females served as board members 

Ironically, 6.5 doesnt make much sense. Specifically, 6.5% doesn’t add up when considering research conducted by Cindy Padnos, founder and managing partner of Illuminate Ventures. Padnos found that investing in women tech entrepreneurs is good for the bottom line, concluding: “Venture-backed start-ups run by women use, on average, 40% less capital than start-ups run by men.”Dow Jones supports this claim in their report, demonstrating that a company’s odds for success increases with more female executives at the VP and director levels.

If scientific research proves that women-led enterprises have better success rates, why are CEO numbers still at 6%? Why are women leaders so few, even though women own 40% of private businesses in the United States? It’s time to explore the root causes of such imbalances and work to effect changes. The good news is we’re starting to see more discussion and action around this critical topic. Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer are leading the pack for female leadership in technology, and media outlets (for example, Patriot Ledger’s article on VC-backed, female-led companies) are continuing the dialogue.

I’ll be contributing to this discussion, exploring these questions, and more in this blog. And hopefully, over the next few years, the title of my blog will change from 6.5Sense, to 10Sense, to 50Sense. Or better yet, why not 75Sense? If research proves that women are more likely to be successful, let’s turn the tables!