Pritzker, Lightbank are most likely VCs to back women – Technology News

on Jul1

29 June 2017 | 10:00 am

When it comes to backing women founders, Chicago venture funds Pritzker Group and Lightbank lead the country.

That’s the word from Jeremy Stanley, the top data scientist at Instacart, who analyzed 700 venture fundings between 2009 and 2013 as reported to the Crunchbase database. Stanley went looking for the firms most supportive of female founders in the wake of a recent scandal in which a San Francisco venture capitalist was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward women founders.

Pritzker Group Venture Capital finished first. The firm, started by J.B. Pritzker and his brother, Tony, has backed companies such as Chicago-based Eved, GiveForward, Built In and Sittercity, as well as Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. in Santa Monica, Calif.

Lightbank, started by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, was fourth. They invested in companies such as BabbaCo, EventUp and SocialKaty.

That’s an impressive showing.

Says Matt McCall, a partner at Pritzker Group: You can’t have 43 percent of business school classes be made up of women and have them account for only 10 percent of companies funded. “I’ve been saying for a while that this is the era of the female entrepreneur.”

Bill Pescatello, a partner at Lightbank, said in an email: “We’re honored to have so many great founders and women who are incredible leaders and CEOs. We look to back the best founders, and they cross race and gender.”

One other data point worth noting here: Chicago ranked highest among 35 cities in the percentage of startups with at least one woman founder.

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