The number of rounds and dollars raised by female-founded, US-based companies fell to 2016 levels, according to data provider PitchBook.

Third-quarter figures showed 136 rounds worth $434m, Pitchbook said. In 2016, US-based, female founders on average raised between $300m and $400m in 100 to 125 rounds per quarter, it added.

In response, corporate venturers are stepping into the diversity and inclusion (D&I) gap. Jiun Kimm, head of diversity and inclusion at Samsung Next, one of the corporate venturing units at South Korea-based conglomerate Samsung, has released its D&I Resource Guide for Startups. The guide provides building blocks to “infuse” D&I in a startup, build diverse teams and nurture an inclusive culture.

Samsung Next, along with Surdna Foundation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, has also sponsored The New Face of a Founder: Uncovering Black Women as the Next Billion Dollar Founder report to better understand black women tech founders’ challenges in building scalable businesses.

Last year, women of colour accounted for 89% of all businesses started by women in the US.

But the entrepreneurial bug is catching. Women are starting three quarters of new businesses, at least according to some early indicators seen by Barbara Stewart for the CFA Institute. This is a sharp reversal to men starting up twice as many companies as women, which has historically been the case.

But D&I in startups has less impact if the investors shy away from them. The potential causation but undoubted correlation is most venture investors have been male, particularly at the top firms, according to studies from Harvard Business School.

Josh Lerner identified 92% of the top 50 VCs were male. And his Harvard Business School colleague, Paul Gompers, provided useful context about the overall venture industry compared to other professions.

Most recently, All Raise collaborated with PitchBook and Crunchbase to focus on venture funds based in the US with $25m or more assets under management, and found the percentage of female decision makers in the venture industry had increased to 13% as of February this year from 9% at the end of 2017. The number of firms with zero women as partners, however, is still a majority. At the end of 2018, 85% of firms did not have a single female partner. At the end of 2019, that number was 65%.

Corporate venturers can help in two ways. As discussed at last month’s GCV Digital Forum panels, Discussion: Including Both Halves of Society and Data: The Financial Impact of Diversity & Inclusion, corporations as limited partners in VC funds can push for diversity and for their direct deal making hire more diverse candidates.

From Global Corporate Venturing’s network, CVCs are more diverse by gender at 21% of the nearly 10,000 professionals globally, but a way from parity.

Let us know how our D&I committee, which includes Samsung Next’s Kimm, can help or issues on this topic.