Women in Venture Capital: LP point of view

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In recent years, the venture capital landscape has progressed in terms of diversity: there are more women in both the investment teams and in partner level. Yet there is still work to be done.

According to a brand new Women in VC report, venture capital funds with women in senior management teams perform better than those teams without women in them. VC funds managed by mixed teams also show a higher annual internal rate of return (IRR). Despite these facts, European venture capital firms are still lagging behind when it comes to gender diversity – only 16 percent of GP’s (general partners) are women.

As a limited partner, we are of course especially interested in the investment teams with the most potential, and, according to the numbers mentioned above, it means teams that are built with diverse competences.

The study shows some promising development too: almost half of the European venture capital firms see the number of female GP’s rising over the next five years.

As the landscape of venture capital teams evolves, so does the funding landscape for companies looking to expand globally. Recent studies have shed light on an interesting trend: female entrepreneurs tend to have a better shot at securing funding when they pitch their ideas to female investors. Yet, despite this promising connection, Europe still allocates only a small fraction of its venture capital funding to female founders.

This gap presents a golden opportunity for change. By addressing this disparity, not only can we advance gender equality in the world of entrepreneurship, but we can also unlock a treasure trove of untapped potential residing within female founders. Imagine the societal benefits of helping them to scale up their companies and reach international markets.


The change towards a more diverse venture capital industry does not happen overnight, but unless we take concrete actions, we lose a huge amount of potential.

- Pia Santavirta

What can be done to set things in motion and make sure the best talent gets equal opportunities in the field? Here’s few examples: Make sure to be open-minded when recruiting new team members, be aware of our own biases, and understand that furthering diversity is strategic decision and part of risk management.

I believe the effect is cumulative: when there are more role models who are investors and entrepreneurs, more and more women see investing and for example tech entrepreneurship as a valid career opportunity. And we should not forget networks: it can be easier to attend a networking event, when you are not the only woman in the room.

As a fund investor, Tesi plays an active role in furthering diversity within investment teams. This is also included in our ESG due diligence – we ask all the GP’s how diversity has been taken into account in the investment teams. If the team is not diverse or there are no actions or plans for how to improve the situation, they might not be funds we’d invest in.

Finally: diversity is more than what is shown on the surface. It is also important to look beyond surface-level titles and ensure that equal opportunities are extended to all, regardless of gender, race, or background.

Pia Santavirta
CEO, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment)

Read more about European Women in VC -report

Tesi (officially Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) is a state-owned, market-driven investment company that invests in venture capital and private equity funds and directly in Finnish startups and growth companies. 
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