The State of
Black & Latinx
Women Founders

ProjectDiane is the first biennial demographic study commissioned by digitalundivided to provide a snapshot of the state of Black & Latinx women founders, and the startups they lead, in the United States.

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The State of
Black & Latinx
Female Founders

ProjectDiane is the first biennial demographic study commissioned by digitalundivided to provide a snapshot of the state of Black & Latinx female founders, and the startups they lead, in the United States.

Download 2021 Update Report

SCROLL DOWN FOR 2020 REPORT STATS

Where are the Black & Latinx women founders?

The majority of Black & Latinx women–led startups in our 2020 database were founded in three states: California, Georgia and New York.

Click on the map and select from the dropdown menu to learn more about where founders are located across the country.

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The number of Black & Latinx women–founded startups in our 2020 database has doubled.

The number of Black & Latinx women represented in the ProjectDiane 2020 database has doubled since 2018, indicating that more of these women are founding startups in the ecosystem. In 2018, we had 334 startups in our database. In 2020, we have over 650.

…and more of them are funded in 2020 than ever before.

In the ProjectDiane 2018 database,

40%

of Black women-led startups were funded

64%

of Latinx women-led startups were funded

In the ProjectDiane 2020 database,

57%

of Black women-led startups are funded

69%

of Latinx women-led startups are funded

The Increase in Funds Raised by Black & Latinx Women Founders Since ProjectDiane2018

Total Funds Raised by Black & Latinx Women Founders

The $1MM Club is Growing…

The $1MM Club is a list of the Black & Latinx women who have raised over $1MM in outside venture funding. $1MM was chosen as a goal in our ProjectDiane 2016 report because the median seed round raised at the time was approximately $600,000. $1MM raised would indicate the startup had been able to raise additional funding post their seed round. Raising additional funding after the initial seed investment requires startups to show some progress in the development of their business.

Number Who Raised Over $1MM in Venture Funding

Black Women

Latinx Women

The $1MM Club is Growing…

The $1MM Club is a list of the Black & Latinx women who have raised over $1MM in outside venture funding. $1MM was chosen as a goal in our ProjectDiane 2016 report because the median seed round raised at the time was approximately $600,000. $1MM raised would indicate the startup had been able to raise additional funding post their seed round. Raising additional funding after the initial seed investment requires startups to show some progress in the development of their business.

Number Who Raised Over $1MM in Venture Funding

Black Women

Latinx Women

…but fundraising for Black & Latinx women founders still lags far behind the average startup founder.

While there are a growing number of Black and Latinx women-led startups crossing the $1MM threshold, the majority of Black and Latinx women–led startups raise significantly less than the average funded startup.

For those who have not raised over $1MM, the median seed round raised by Black women founders is $125,000 and the median seed round raised by Latinx women founders is $200,000. As of 2020, the national median seed round funding for a startup is $2.5M.

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The most attended school among women in the ProjectDiane database is Stanford University.

At the undergraduate level, Howard University produced more Black women–led startups than Harvard University.

Over 90% of the founders in ProjectDiane 2020 have a bachelor’s degree and 50% have a Master’s or a PhD.

Most Attended Schools (Undergraduate) Among Black & Latinx Women Founders

Rank Black Women Founders Latinx Women Founders
1

Howard University (18)

Stanford (5)
University of California, Los Angeles (5)
2

Harvard University (12)

University of California, Berkeley (4)
MIT (4)
3

Stanford (10)

Columbia (3)

Most Attended Schools (Graduate) Among Black & Latinx Women Founders

Rank School Total # of ProjectDiane Founders
1

Stanford

28
2

Harvard

24
3

Columbia University

16
4 Northwestern University 11

For Black & Latinx women, having a background in STEM is not the primary pathway to founding or funding a company

The majority of ProjectDiane founders (70%) do not have a STEM degree at the undergraduate or graduate level, suggesting that Black and Latinx women founders find their way to entrepreneurship through a variety of educational backgrounds and pathways.

Total Funding Raised by STEM vs Non STEM Degree

Degree Type (Undergrad) Total Funding Raised # of Companies % of Total Funding
Non-STEM

$2.4B

397 85%
STEM

$450M

170 15%

Of Black & Latinx women founders who have received funding, 30% are solo founders and 70% are co-founders.

  • 30%

Solo founders

  • 70%

Co-founders

Black & Latinx women are staying in the arena.

The fail rate for Black & Latinx women-founded startups in our ProjectDiane 2018 database is 27%, lower than the 40% national fail rate for startups founded at that time.

Fail Rate for Black & Latinx Women-led Startups

  • 27%

Average 2-year fail rate for Black & Latinx women-led startups

  • 40%

Average 2-year fail rate for startups

How to Use ProjectDiane 2020 to Impact Change

2020 has shown us why representation truly matters. With the COVID-19 global pandemic disproportionately impacting Black & Latinx communities, economic empowerment through entrepreneurship and innovation is crucial. Here are a few ways to use ProjectDiane to inspire and impact change in the innovation ecosystem for Black and Latinx women founders.

1. Support Black & Latinx women-led startups. Become an investor. Mentor a founder. Sponsor a program. Start a fund. Pour resources into the community with your time and your financial support.

2. Advocate for Black & Latinx women innovators. Underwrite programs and research on underrepresented founders. Support Black & Latinx women innovators within your organization.

3. Join the community. Consider starting your own entrepreneurial journey and be the change you want to see. Let digitalundivided catalyze your genius by applying to our programs or joining our resource-rich online community.

4. Stand up and be counted. ProjectDiane is an ongoing research and data initiative that helps inform global and national policy for Black & Latinx women. Make sure you’re counted by adding yourself to our database.

For more ideas, connect with digitalundivided on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and check out www.digitialundivided.com.

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Methodology

ProjectDiane is the first biennial demographic study to provide a snapshot of the current landscape for Black & Latinx women in the innovation and entrepreneurship space. ProjectDiane 2020 covers the time period of December 2017 – August 2020. A team of data collectors identified companies and founders for the ProjectDiane database by reviewing records from Crunchbase, Pitchbook, partner organizations, and company information submitted directly to the ProjectDiane website. To be included in ProjectDiane, companies must be for-profit, US-based startups with at least one Black and/or Latinx woman founder. Funding data includes publicly announced equity crowdfunding, angel, seed, and venture round investments. Additional company information was verified through email, social media, and review of media content.

About digitalundivided

Founded in 2012, digitalundivided is a non-profit social startup that leverages data and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs in innovation and technology. Our goal is to create a world in which all women of color own their work. We merge data and heart to create systems change. We are connectors and catalysts, supporting Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs through best-in-class programming, mentorship, and investment. We offer unparalleled thought leadership. And we bring together the shared experiences of our community to produce ground-breaking authoritative research on Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.

ProjectDiane 2020 is authored by digitalundivided, funded by generous support from:

ProjectDiane 2020 is authored by digitalundivided, funded by generous support from:

ProjectDiane 2020 is authored by digitalundivided, funded by generous support from:

Want to learn more?

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