| | APRIL 201919their expertise. They were also less likely to pushback against the criti-cism they received.Despite these statistics, 2018 was a year of progress for women in tech, both in VC funding and in leadership. Fortune reported that the female-led startups received $2.88 billion in 2019, compared to $1.9 billion in 2017 (though the percentage of funding given to fe-male-led startups - 2.2 percent of total VC invested for the year - was the same). SVB's survey showed that while the percentage of U.S. startups that have women in exec-utive positions declined in 2018, now in 2019, more than 50 percent of U.S. startups have at least one female executive. However, we still have a long way to go. SVB's sta-tistics showed that in China, more than 70 percent of startup execu-tives are women. Also, according to SVB, when you look at executive roles for women in startups world-wide, only five percent of startups have a female CEO, while in 63 percent of those surveyed, and a fe-male executive was the head of HR.Challenges Faced by Women Who Want to Become Leaders in TechIn my experience as a woman start-up founder and as an advisor to startups, there are more than sim-ply funding challenges which can prevent women from becoming powerful and successful leaders in technology. Some of these include:· Lack of early encouragement in childhood to pursue tech & leader-ship careers· Less positive reinforcement throughout their careers to lead and be powerful· Fewer female mentors available to exemplify and support women's advancement in techDespite these hurdles, the 2019 SVB survey of healthcare and tech startups showed that one in four startups have at least one female founder. As a female executive leader of an accelerator, I work with startups from all over the world - male and female-led. We believe in `the acceleration of world-changing ideas' from startups, and we firmly believe that those ideas will come from both women and men. Wom-en and men should be inspired and encouraged to change the world. Inspiring Women to be Leaders in TechAs a female founder of a neurosci-ence startup and with two success-ful exits, I can tell you (with scien-tific evidence) that women's brains work differently than men's brains. This difference is one of the reasons (I believe) that startups with more women in leadership statistically perform better. Ernst & Young and PIIE discovered in a 2016 survey reported by Inc. that `increasing the percentage of women in top spots from zero to 30 percent is associated with a 15 percent jump in profits' for companies. This is not surprising when one considers the nature of startups, and what is needed to succeed. Women's brains are hard-wired to form meaning-ful connections, making us are natural-born leaders who under-stand the value of team dynamics and culture. This is a vital skill for running a startup. With this in mind, I believe that we need to be intentional about how we inspire women to be leaders in tech. Here is some of the feedback I give to women startup founders:1. Believe that you have earned the position of leader of a startup. This is a positive and confident mindset that women need to cul-tivate. Present yourself as having the confidence and credentials to take the helm of your organization. Don't equivocate.2. Replace `I can't do this' with `How can I do this?' Lack of `the right ex-perience' should not stop you.3. Your unique background has prepared you. Own it.Human brains have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in a pre-civilization envi-ronment where size and strength were prime factors. Today, surviv-al is not necessarily linked to size and strength. When it comes to the future of tech, women have a vital role to play, and we see this happening now. WHEN IT COMES TO THE FUTURE OF TECH, WOMEN HAVE A VITAL ROLE TO PLAY, AND WE SEE THIS HAPPENING NOWCaroline Winnett
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