Samantha Truex (front, left in the company’s team photo), CEO of Quench Bio, closed a $50M Series A

Since opening the Venture Development Center in 2009, I’ve noticed a much larger number of women in the biopharma startup companies launching at the UMass incubator in Boston than in companies in other industry segments. Much of their leadership in the field rests on the fact that, according to a McKinsey report, women are better represented at all levels in healthcare sectors than in others.

And the surge in healthcare deals so far in 2020 is driving the increase in the number of female CEOs whose companies are receiving venture capital. Of the 19 women who were the CEO’s of companies receiving venture capital in 2020, 13 were in biopharma (12) and healthcare IT (1). Biopharma and healthcare IT deals comprised 49% of the total number of deals, compared to 38% in 2019 and 19% in 2009.

Still, female CEOs only got 15% of the biopharma and healthcare IT deals in 2020 in Massachusetts. By comparison, though, none of the software, security and enterprise IT companies receiving venture capital in 2020 had a female CEO.

According to Pitchbook, companies with a female founder or co-founder companies in 2020 comprised 28% of the venture capital deals in Massachusetts. In 2009 it was 11%. But the number of those females who are the CEO at the time of financing is much smaller.

Overall, female CEOs led 10.4% of all Massachusetts companies receiving venture capital, compared to 8% in 2019 and 5% in 2009. 

My demographic analysis is based on information from January through July from VentureDeal, publicly reported debt and equity investments by angel groups, venture capitalists, corporations, etc.