Ballooning the unheard voices of female founders

It’s almost like you can’t keep up.

Brave and important accounts continue to flood in, quickly followed by very public apologies. There is a shift happening, and I know that I’ll look back at this period and remember it as the time when it all started to actually change.

In the past few months, we’ve seen research showing that the VC funding gap is getting worse. A new revelation on this front was that VCs ask us different questions than male entrepreneurs, negatively affecting how much funding we get.

Now, with the headlines shifting from bias to sexual assault, the conversation is moving toward action, and policy proposals and plans are being put forward. As efforts pushing for change accelerate, I can’t help but think about all of the voices being left out of the mainstream, amplified conversation:

  • Those discussing and sharing in back channels — secret Facebook groups, Slack channels, DMs on Twitter, one-on-one private messages and conversations between female founders.
  • Female founders growing companies outside the SV bubble.
  • Introverts, and those with softer, quieter voices.
  • Those founders who don’t feel comfortable contributing, for fear that they’ll say the wrong thing or be attacked by misogynists on Twitter and well…everywhere.

It's not just the unheard voices—bias is also deeply impacting the conversation.

This is harder to understand and even harder to measure. The mainstream discussion — as per usual — is being shaped by the most well-known founders and investors. Groupthink is especially impactful, as everyone hops on the bandwagon of the loudest, most vocal groups or ideas, even when they don’t agree with the suggestion being put forward.

We all witnessed sunflower management as tech leaders shared their suggestions for change, and groups showed immediate alignment of proposed approach and solution (whether through comment, share, or like). The most “liked” posts rose up to the top on Facebook and LinkedIn and others felt pressure to also agree or align.

This is separate from the implicit bias that plagues the dialogue and drives inaccurate evaluation of such proposals.

A couple of years ago, I left my job to build a company to solve this problem — to remove bias from collaboration, decision-making, and innovation, so that the deepest insights and unheard voices are surfaced and amplified. It’s time we ensure that more unheard voices are heard and amplified in this discussion about gender dynamics in the VC-Founder relationship.