Revelatory Research Identifies Roadmap to Unlock Women’s Wealth by Motivating More Women to Invest in Startups

Research Shows Women are an Untapped Source of Funding for Startups and Can Lead to a Stronger and More Equitable Economy

  • Women offer immense opportunities for wealth management firms. Women are more likely to rely on their financial advisors’ input (45%) than men (31%); men are more likely to manage their portfolios themselves (54%) compared to women (45%).

  • Wealthy women are sophisticated investors. Women (37%) are much more likely than men (18%) to mitigate investment risk by investing in startups to diversify their portfolios.

  • Women want to do well by doing good. Women are more likely than men (51% vs 39%) to invest in startups as a way to make an impact aligned with their values, to make the world a better place and to close the gender gap (45% vs 23%).

SAN FRANCISCO, October 04, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With women poised to inherit the largest share of wealth ever, a new report reveals how investing in startups can grow women’s economic power, strengthen the economy overall, and narrow the gender wealth gap. How Women Invest, a venture capital fund dedicated to shifting the VC landscape by supporting only women-led companies and female investors, along with its sister organization, How Women Lead, commissioned Ventureneer and CoreWoman for the first of its kind research to better understand how to motivate more women to invest in startups.

The report, titled, How Women (and Men) Invest in Startups provides actionable steps for encouraging more female accredited investors to invest in startups, as well as how to increase capital to female founders. The resulting report is based on a survey of more than 600 women and men who were likely to be accredited investors, as well as a literature review on men’s investing habits. The report was funded by Wells Fargo’s investment in How Women Invest.

"We verified our hunch that venture investing represents an enormous opportunity for women to build wealth, to fund innovation, and to change the business dynamics that keep women from bringing their businesses to fruition," said How Women Invest General Partner and How Women Lead Founder and CEO, Julie Castro Abrams. "The answer is clear: we need more women to invest in more women-led companies."

Venture Is Still Nascent for Individual Investors

Despite the hype around startups and the role they play in innovation, investing in early growth ventures as an asset class for high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) is still in its nascent stage. And women make up a significant portion of these potential investors. A 2022 study found that 33% of millionaires are women. These female accredited investors can be a life-changing funding source for female- and BIPOC-founded startups and venture funds. With more than 13.6 million accredited-investor households in the U.S., the opportunity for both women and men to build wealth over time through venture investing is enormous.

Male-Led Companies are Invested In Substantially More Than Women-Led Companies

At the same time, female venture fund managers and startup founders have a harder time than their male counterparts raising capital from institutional investors and, as a result, they rely more on high-net-worth individuals to scale their funds and businesses. When female founders cannot raise capital for their startups or their individual investors, they also cannot create disruptive technologies, products, and business models.

"By leveraging the power of women’s wealth, we can create a more robust, inclusive economy," said Castro Abrams. "Women will fuel the future and this report is a critical step in clearing any obstacles to their success as both venture investors and founders."

Key to closing this gender gap is understanding how women’s style of investing is different from their male counterparts. For example, women are more likely than men to invest for the long haul, spread risk by buying diversified funds instead of individual stocks, and make a social or environmental impact with their investments. Women are less likely than men to trade frequently and rely on their gut. These tendencies make them prime prospects to invest in small, emerging, and diverse managed funds.

The report also suggests policies and best practices that will clear the path for more startup investments by women including:

  • Making investing in venture funds affordable. Permit venture funds of $10 million or less to increase the number of accredited investors they can raise from 249 to 499 and increase the fund size to $50 million will enable more small, emerging, diverse funds to accept checks of $25,000 or less.

  • Engaging women investors through their investing personas. The report identifies four archetypes of female investors - Self-Reliant, Collaborative, Mission-Driven, and Equality-Focused - and the common factors that motivate them to invest in startups as well as friction points that hold them back.

  • Meeting affluent women’s wants to win their business. Because women rely more on the advice of their financial advisors than men do, wealth management firms and advisors have the potential of playing an important role for women in shaping their investments in startups.

For the full report, visit

About How Women Invest

How Women Invest, is a venture capital firm, sister organization to How Women Lead (HWL), and is deeply rooted in HWL's mission to disrupt the antiquated and unequal landscape impacting women. Living by the credo established in the HWL community, How Women Invest is dedicated to shifting the venture capital landscape by supporting women-led companies, with a focus on women of color. The organization's mission is to create an infrastructure to enable women of all backgrounds to support under-represented and under-capitalized female founders. The fund systematically leverages its diverse community and limited partnership for deal sourcing, industry knowledge, domain expertise and more. For more information, visit

How Women Lead (HWL), sister organization to How Women Invest, is a high-caliber network of 15,000-plus senior-level women that have come together to make a collective impact, propel women's leadership forward, and build movements that create lasting change. The organization works to propel women into even greater leadership roles through fostering connections and providing a platform for women to learn from one another.

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