First Round Capital is Sexist

So there's this venture capital firm called First Round Capital. The first page I saw of theirs was the first round of their 10 year project, where they present some statistics they supposedly gathered on startups after 10 years of successful investing. I was linked to it as a source from an article claiming that misogyny is prevalent in the industry, and wow, their fallacies are hilariously obvious.


Here's their claimed "Finding #1":

# Female Founders Outperform Their Male Peers
We’ve been fortunate to back many companies with female founders (and women-founded companies represent a greater percentage of our investments than the national VC average). That’s why were so excited to learn that our investments in companies with at least one female founder were meaningfully outperforming our investments in all-male teams. Indeed, companies with a female founder performed 63% better than our investments with all-male founding teams. And, if you look at First Round's top 10 investments of all time based on value created for investors, three of those teams have at least one female founder — far outpacing the percentage of female tech founders in general.

"companies with *a* female founder ... investments with *all-male* founding teams". They're not comparing men to women, they're comparing gender-balanced teams to all-male ones. This alone invalidates the conclusion.

Another flaw in their case is that because leftist ideas about discrimination are popular, it's pretty likely that having female founders is advantageous for a reason unrelated to their ability: public image. A part-female team is a sign of inclusivity, which benefits the company's public image.

Protagonist versus leftist ideas of bigotry

The purest demonstration of their misandry though is that their graphic for the section says "Women Are Winning". They see this as some kind of competition between men and women as groups. Disgusting.

There are, of course, no sources linked anywhere. We're just supposed to take their word for it.

The Invincible Lie

The footnotes claim:

To be clear - we're not expecting this analysis to get us an invitation to join the ASA. And we are not claiming that our data is representative of the industry...or even statistically significant. Rather, we believe that the data can provide some interesting directional insight. We found some of the learnings to be surprising - and I’m sure we'll continue to be surprised many more times over the next ten years.

If you admit it's not statistically significant, why did you see fit to publicly call it a "learning" and say that it could "provide some interesting directional insight"? Doublespeak is the go-to for dishonest people.



So this led me to check out their main page. From there I went to their State of Startups page (update: page disappeared), where they talk about how they consider themselves a lot more trustworthy after the years since, and they say more sexist crap.

3 on their list of "the trends and insights that stood out as important or counterintuitive", titled "Gender bias in hiring is bad, and in fundraising it's worse":

*40%* of female employees reported that their gender hurt their chances of getting hired or landing senior roles in tech.

If you're a founder, the deck is even more stacked against you: *70%* of female founders felt their gender hurt their ability to fundraise.

You got to laugh as you read this. They're not even measuring misogyny at all. They're measuring how many people *claim* to have been subject to misogyny. These folks aren't stupid. They're either bigots willing to be dishonest to promote their agenda, or grifters who thought to gain influence by telling SJWs everything they want to hear.

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