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New Chapter: Why are there less women in leadership positions in German Venture Capital firms vs. the Rest of Europe?

Project Stream:
 HRO Links Project, Summer Term 2023

Industry: Executive Search & Leadership Advisory

The project enhanced our expertise in this area and positioned us as leaders in promoting diversity within the VC sector.

About the company:

New Chapter Executive Search is an Executive Search firm, newly founded, female led organisation with the aim of approaching recruitment differently (no old boys club, digital, smooth, fast).

About the project:

New Chapter previously searched for a female partner at a deep tech VC firm and found that this role was not appealing to many women, particularly after the interview stage. This was after publicly posting the role for a few days, resulting in 970 male applicants vs. 30 female applicants.

Project Objectives:

  • Undertake interviews to find out: Why do women want to/do not want to work in start up investing? Why are women more risk averse? 

  • To assess the ratio share of senior women vs men in VC firms in Germany vs. the Rest of Europe, and the reasons for this.

  • To undertake data analysis of the top 20 European VC firms to find out if VCs with at least one female partner are more succesful than all-male VC firms?

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What do you think the students brought to the business? Were their ideas different from what you could have achieved if you have conducted this project in-house?

The students brought a fresh perspective and academic rigor to the business project. Their ideas and research provided valuable insights that might have been overlooked if we had conducted the project in-house. They conducted a comprehensive study of gender disparities in the German VC industry and highlighted the role of executive search firms, which was an important aspect we needed to understand better. Their academic background and research skills allowed them to analyse the issue from a broader perspective and bring in relevant data and findings from various sources.  

How do you think the Business Projects have helped your business?

The Business Project provided us with a deeper understanding of the challenges surrounding gender diversity in the VC industry, especially in the context of our work as an executive search firm. The research conducted by the students helped us refine our approach to diversity recruitment and provided us with evidence-based strategies to improve our services. It also allowed us to see the importance of coaching and supporting female candidates throughout the recruitment process, which we have since incorporated into our practices. Overall, the project enhanced our expertise in this area and positioned us as leaders in promoting diversity within the VC sector. 

How would you use the outcomes in your business going forward?

We will use the outcomes of the business project to guide our future initiatives and strategies. Specifically: 

  • Assessing the readiness of hiring firms for diverse hiring. 

  • Proactivley discouraging the use of gendered questions in recruitment processes and champion a more inclusive and unbiased approach. 

  • Consistently providing coaching and support to female candidates throughout the recruitment process, with the aim of ensuring their success and advancing diversity within the industry. 

  • Additionally, investing in the development of professional networks and mentorship programs dedicated to supporting female candidates and professionals within the VC sector, aiding them in overcoming internalized biases and facilitating their personal and career growth.

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