A Call for Climate Action: Invest in Women-led Startups

Every March, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Greentown Labs team is proud to spotlight the many amazing women climatetech entrepreneurs in our community. In just the past few weeks, we’ve celebrated Greentown’s female founders at our monthly Women Founders Meetup, the launch of our member ALLY Energy’s new children’s book—Everyday Superheroes: Women in Energy Careers—and hosted a special Transition On Tap networking event honoring the female founders of Greentown Houston on International Women’s Day.

Let me introduce you to just a few of the rockstar women entrepreneurs in our member and alumni community:

But even as the industry is seeing more inspiring female climatetech entrepreneurs, women continue to face challenges in raising the funds they need to make their dreams a reality. So this year, I also want to highlight and celebrate the investors who are making a thoughtful and focused effort to fund the companies of female founders. These leaders understand that if we are truly going to address the climate crisis, we must have all hands on deck creating the solutions, not just 50 percent of them. 

Venture capital has long been a boys’ club that’s been tough for women to penetrate, and climatetech investment is no exception. As CEO of the nation’s largest climatetech incubator and mentor to female entrepreneurs across the climatetech ecosystem, I am very familiar with the challenges associated with this lack of gender diversity in the climatetech investment community and its impacts on underrepresented founders.

We have all heard the statistics. According to the Harvard Business Review, only 2.3 percent of all venture capital funding went to women-led companies in 2020. It’s perhaps equally unsurprising that women are also drastically underrepresented in VC leadership and decision-making roles, at only about 12 percent as of 2020. The statistics are even more grim for BIPOC women founders: startups led by Black or Latinx women combined raised merely 0.64 percent of all venture capital funding in 2018 and 2019.

But there is some good news in the statistics too. Women VCs are twice as likely to invest in female founding teams. And when they do, women-led startups earn more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested than their male counterparts do. Even better, startups with a female founder fill their staff with 2.5 times more women and companies with a female founder and a female executive hire six times more women. 

Bottom line: when women support women, their companies and their teams are more likely to succeed and support yet more women! 

At Greentown, our Investor Program helps our climatetech startups connect with a network of over 500 investors—matching them with the right capital at the right time for their company’s growth. And during this Women’s History Month, I want to highlight a few standouts who are leading the way and investing in women founders: 

As funding for climatetech skyrockets, we have the opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the Cleantech 1.0 boom of 2006-2008. Investing in diverse founders and supporting and pushing for diverse leadership teams is one of the ways we will be more successful this time. To get there, we need more women founders, women-backed funds, and female leadership guiding investment decisions. I personally am here to help, and the entire Greentown Labs team is committed to supporting our female founders and efforts to increase all types of diversity across the climatetech ecosystem. 

Investors and entrepreneurs: we invite you to join us for Access to Success on April 14. This latest installment of our Investor Speaker Series will feature a panel discussion centered around prioritizing DEI in climate finance and reverse pitches from VCs who are leading unique DEI initiatives.

What else can you do to create a more equitable climatetech landscape, during Women’s History Month and beyond? Offer to mentor incredible female founders. Personally introduce them to climatetech investors in your network. If you’re an investor yourself, invest in these entrepreneurs and their solutions.

We need every idea, every entrepreneur, and every investor engaged and ready to solve the climate crisis. Join us!