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‘Bro culture’ means nearly half of UK's venture capital firms still have no women in senior roles

sexism
The latest report found that the number of female investors in the UK has started to rise

Almost half of Britain's venture capital firms have no women working in senior investment roles, a new report has found.

Research released today by Diversity VC found that only 13pc of senior jobs across British venture capital firms were occupied by women. The figure has remained unchanged since the group’s 2017 report.

Female investors and entrepreneurs have criticised the prevailing “bro culture” widespread among many technology investment firms which are usually dominated by white men. Until recently, the term had largely been applied to the US technology industry and in Silicon Valley. 

Leila Zegna, a partner at Kindred Capital, said the industry in Europe suffered from a problem of “arrogance in general”. 

“The attitude used to be ‘this is a closed circle of elites and it's really difficult to break in and you're probably not one of us but you could be around us if you play your cards right’,” she said. 

Silicon Valley has, over recent years, been branded a “brotopia”, amid claims there is pervasive gender discrimination within some of the top technology and venture capital firms. 

Laura Connell, a partner at venture capital firm Balderton said it would be “remiss to say that over the course of my career in finance and venture I haven’t come across the [bro culture] at some point”. 

Amelia Armour, from Cambridge-based Amadeus Capital, said in investment banking you "do or certainly did get, banter which excluded people". 

The latest report found that the number of female investors in the UK has started to rise, however. It found that women now represent 20pc of investment roles, up from 18pc in 2017.

Some 76pc of employees in the UK venture capital sector are white compared to 59pc for all of London where most investment firms are based.

Groups such as Diversity VC have campaigned for better representation in investment firms. They fear that a lack of diversity will stop firms backing businesses which have diverse founders or cater to women.

Check Warner, chief executive and founder of Diversity VC, warned there was a “real danger to having group-think”. 

“Ultimately the job of a VC is to make amazing decisions, that’s the entire point, and if you have very similar people from very similar backgrounds, then you’re very unlikely to get the great diversity of thought and high quality decision making that you would want.”

Venture capital firm Atomico found last year that 93pc of start-up investment went to firms with all-male founding teams. It said that only 6pc of chief executives of venture-backed technology companies were female.

Start-up founder Brittney Bean told The Telegraph earlier this year that she posed as a man in emails to investors because she felt that they did not take her seriously as a female founder.

“We reached this point where I was like 'I think nobody takes us seriously,’” Ms Bean said. “And then I'd reply as a man saying I'm now taking this company's finances over, is it possible that we can extend the credit line?’ and the reply was like 'It's great to start working with you, of course we can help with that.'”