In our recent 2021 funding report we decided to highlight the gender composition of the founding teams we tracked throughout the year. The figure, 22 all-male teams, 3 mixed teams and 0 all female teams has stirred up some conversations.
(Insert: We have since learned that one of the teams our research indicated had an all-male founding team did have a mixed founding team, bringing the number of mixed gender founding teams up to 4)
We welcome any and all meaningful conversation that can improve the Icelandic startup ecosystem but as this particular data point from our funding report has been cited we wanted to emphasize our methodology and what that might mean for analyzing or interpreting the data.
The following notes on method and data were stated in our funding analysis:
- We report on investments that are reported or public knowledge, and time them based on the official announcement dates (i.e. press releases). This is to maintain integrity between different platforms and years.
- We only count investments into companies that have operations in Iceland (i.e. if Icelandic VC’s invest in companies that are fully abroad, we don’t count those in this report; nor do we track investments into Icelander founded companies that are located abroad).
First, we have generally not tracked bridge rounds or other rounds that have not been publicised. We do this to keep in line with other nordic reports on startup investments – for several years we reported on Iceland compared to the nordics in collaboration with The Nordic Web (which is since no longer active).
Secondly, those startups that received the funding that were in stealth mode during 2021 but will come out of it in 2022, will be represented in the stats for 2022.
Third, we’re not analysing and reporting on the investments of Icelandic VC funds, we’re analysing and reporting on investments in Iceland.
These things mean that we can’t confidently assert something when presented with a snapshot rather than a trend (and we didn’t). It can suggest something but what we reported is only a single piece of the puzzle at one specific point in time. And that piece of the puzzle is that in 2021 most investments that we tracked went into male-only teams.
We have no access to numbers on any other stage of the pipeline of female founders interacting with institutional investors in Iceland to assert anything about the pipeline and if and where female founding teams fail to receive funding.
Framvís and data going forward
Since the report was published we’ve learned that Framvís, the association of Icelandic VC funds, is working on aggregating statistics to help bring clarity and improve the Icelandic startup ecosystem. One of the metrics they’re looking to track is the gender mix of the teams throughout all their pipeline. This will be welcome data, as it will include much more granular information than we have been providing: amounts invested, unannounced rounds, and so forth.