Women rise, but parity still a long way off – GeekWire
An increasing number of women are rising through the venture capital ranks, achieving partner or managing director status more than ever before.
That’s the good news. The bad news?
Women still make up a small fraction of the decision makers at venture capital firms across the country, representing just 14.2% of the leaders within venture capital firms, according to an analysis by Axios. That’s up from 12.4% last year, and 5.7% in 2016. Even with those gains, 61% of venture capital firms didn’t have one woman in a key decision-making role, unchanged from the year prior.
Axios analyzed 1,716 venture capital leaders at U.S.-based firms that had raised a fund of $100 million or more over the past five years.
Dan Primack’s research at Axios got us thinking: How do Seattle area venture capital firms do when it comes to gender diversity?
Of course, Seattle’s venture capital industry is small, so we didn’t look at fund size as a determining factor. Instead, we analyzed firms in Washington state from GeekWire’s own venture capital list.
Based on our research, Seattle area venture capital firms are making better strides in gender diversity than the nation as a whole.
We tracked 88 partners across 21 firms, pulling data from public websites and found 63 men and 25 women in leadership roles at the region’s top venture capital firms. That means women in key decision-making roles at Seattle area venture capital firms account for 28% of all senior roles — nearly double the national total.
Pioneer Square Labs Managing Director Julie Sandler addressed the lack of women in the venture capital ranks in GeekWire’s 2025 podcast last week, noting: “Yes, there have been positive strides over the past couple of years. Yes, there is such a long, long way to go on this front.”
And GeekWire has tracked the rising role of women in the startup investing circles, publishing a list of more than 50 women angel investors and venture capitalists from across the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver, B.C. and Portland.
Here’s a look at the raw data we used to determine the breakdown of women and men in key decision-making roles.
Gender diversity at Seattle-area venture capital firms
Biomatics Capital: 1 man, 1 woman.
Cloud City Venture Capital: 2 men, 0 women.
Flying Fish: 2 men, 2 women.
First Row Partners: 0 men, 2 women.
Founder’s Co-op: 2 men, 0 women.
Frazier Healthcare Ventures: 8 men, 0 women.
Fuse Venture Partners: 2 men, 0 women.
Keeler Investments Group: 0 men, 3 women.
Madrona Venture Group: 12 men, 3 women.
Maveron: 4 men, 1 woman.
Montlake Capital: 2 men, 0 women.
Pioneer Square Labs: 5 men, 1 woman
Second Avenue Partners: 3 men, 0 women.
Tacoma Venture Fund: 3 men, 0 women.
Tola Capital: 0 men, 2 women.
Trilogy: 5 men, 2 women.
Unlock Venture Partners: 3 men, 0 women.
Voyager Capital: 4 men, 1 woman.
WestRiver Group: 3 men, 4 women.
WRF Capital: 2 men, 1 woman.
WXR Fund: 0 men, 2 women.
*Our research excluded Bezos Expeditions and Vulcan, since it was unclear who were active investors at the firms. Bezos Expeditions is the venture arm of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Vulcan is the venture arm of the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
**We looked at the highest ranking investment professionals in the venture capital firms. Common titles include: general partner, partner and managing director. We excluded titles such as venture partner, principal, strategic director, associate and investor.
***We excluded firms such as Ascend and Essence, which are operated by one partner.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with data from WXR Fund.