At Canaan, we've relied on the same proven investment strategy for more than 26 years. In addition to strong business models, we focus on gaps in the market and targeting exactly the right audience. Not to mention advanced technology and domain expertise. But more than anything else, our strategy focuses on funding the right people.
That's why we don't gauge potential founders and leaders by traditional means. Instead of age, country of origin and gender, we examine the qualities that matter most. Their drive. Their passion. Their goals. In other words, all the stuff that separates the wheat from the chaff.
And the results tell a very interesting tale.
Since closing our $600M Fund IX in early 2012, the number of female entrepreneurs who are actively pitching has risen dramatically. In fact, since that time, we've added eight companies to our portfolio that are led by female CEOs. That's approximately one-third of the companies in Fund IX.
Our current female CEO count stands at 11 – which is only slightly less impressive than our number of female co-founders (Hint: It currently stands at 18). And while our four female investment professionals naturally attract more female founders, it's clearly just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, over the last two years alone, every one of our active U.S.-based partners has backed a female co-founder.
Some are serial entrepreneurs and CEOs (Julie Wainwright and Cheryl Rosner to name two), but others are on their start-up maiden voyage (like Mona Bijoor, Karla Gallardo and Kelly Brezoczky). Which raises an interesting question: Have we reached a tipping point for women in tech? Let's put it this way: You know that glass ceiling? Now would be a very dangerous time to be standing underneath it.