Startups founded or co-founded by women in Southeast Asia raised $2 billion in equity funding in 2022, accounting for 12.6% of all private capital raised during the year, according to DealStreetAsia – DATE ADVANTAGE’his latest report on the gender funding gap in the region.
Funding for women-founded startups – defined as startups with at least one female founder – fell 32% last year to $4.43 billion in 2021. Notably, the total equity funding raised of all startups in 2022 is down 32% to nearly $16 billion from record highs in 2021.
Startups with at least one female founder accounted for 17.2% of equity and debt fundraising in 2021. However, the 2022 edition does not cover debt financing and focuses exclusively on equity financing. risk (VC).
Even excluding Grab’s 2021 program, which raised $2.3 billion in equity and debt funding during the year, total funding in 2022 for women-founded startups was marginally lower than the previous year (2, 13 billion dollars ex-Grab).
Founders DealStreetAsia spoke to for the report highlighted how the VC industry is currently geared towards maintaining the status quo.
“…just last year, only 23% of venture capital firms in Southeast Asia had female partners. Given the industry’s overall low turnover rate and preference for maintaining the status quo, there is no impetus to change the gender imbalance. Inevitably, this has had knock-on effects as firms tend to support founders who look, think and act like them,” said the health care and services platform founder and CEO Gillian Tee.
However, there is reason to be happy. Startups with only female founders, referred to in the report as female founding teams, raised higher amounts in 2022 and improved their share of total capital raised.
The report also looks at fundraising by women-founded startups with a woman at the helm. These startups accounted for 5.2% of all private funding secured in 2022.
With $960.6 million, Indonesia overtook Singapore to become the favorite base for female-founded startups last year. However, it ranked second in terms of the total number of transactions closed during the year, losing to the city-state.
E-commerce startups took the lead in capital raised by women-founded startups in 2022, securing a total of $488.6 million. Fintech was in second place with $475.4 million in revenue.
The report features interviews with several female founders who share the challenges and biases they’ve experienced.
“I once had a VC ask my co-founder in my presence why I was speaking for him,” said Aruna co-founder and chief sustainability officer Utari Octavianty.
“As a solo female founder, it’s even worse. Sometimes I get ridiculous questions. ‘Are you married? What will happen if you decide to have children? How do you deal with stress? Do you have anyone to talk to about this?’” said EQUO co-founder Marina Tran-Vu.
With investors currently tightening their purse strings amid a market correction, female founders may face tougher times ahead.
“Peer-reviewed research shows that recessions and recessions hit women and minorities harder. Funding is no exception to this rule,” emphasized Docosan Co-Founder and CEO Beth Ann Lopez.
Southeast Asian Women Founders 2022 offers:
- Data on fundraising by women-founded startups in 2022 and comparison with 2021
- Fundraising data by country, vertical and funding stage
- Deal volume by city, vertical and funding stage
- Fundraising data by startups with only female founders
- Data on fundraising by female-founded startups with a female CEO
- A list of the top dealmakers among startups founded by women
- Interviews with female founders about their entrepreneurial journey and challenges