On the Rise: 2019 Set a Record for New Female-Led Unicorns
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On the Rise: 2019 Set a Record for New Female-Led Unicorns

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The Briefing

  • In 2019, just 9% of total VC investment dollars went to startups with at least one female founder
  • While there’s still a long way to go to narrow the gender gap in VC funding, progress is being made—last year, 21 female-led businesses achieved unicorn status, compared to just 4 in 2013

On the Rise: 2019 Set a Record for New Female-Led Unicorns

In 2019, more female-led start-ups achieved unicorn status than ever before.

A unicorn is a privately held company that’s valued at $1 billion or more. Last year, 21 new female-led companies hit that valuation mark—a 40% increase compared to 2018.

Within the last decade, the number of female-led unicorns has grown steadily:

YearUnicorns with at least one female founder
20134
20148
20159
20165
20178
201815
201921

One of the startups to achieve unicorn status in 2019 was Away, a travel and lifestyle brand based in New York. After launching in 2016, Away made $12 million in sales in its first 12 months, and in 2019, the company closed $100 million in Series D funding.

Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty company, also made the new unicorn list in 2019. Like Away, the New York-based beauty brand raised $100 million in Series D funding—almost double the amount garnered in its $52 million Series C round.

There’s Still Work to Do

While it’s clear that the number of female-led unicorns is increasing, there’s still a wide gender gap in the venture capital and startup landscape.

In 2019, only 9% of VC investment dollars went to companies with at least one female founder. And this proportion of dollars to female/male co-founded companies hasn’t changed much over the years:

YearProportion
20138%
20148%
20159%
20168%
201710%
20189%
20199%

Why does this gap persist? One reason could be the lack of female representation in venture capital leadership. As of 2019, less than 10% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women.

In short—things are looking up, but there’s still a ton of progress to be made.

»Interested in learning more about female founders and the VC landscape? Read our full article on The Top Female Founder in Each Country

Where does this data come from?

Source: Crunchbase report, titled “Funding to the Female Founders”.
Notes: The analysis was based on announced funding to companies with founders associated. Crunchbase included private company fundings from seed through latestage venture; excluding private equity rounds.

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Datastream

The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events, like droughts and heatwaves, have become more common over the years. But things are expected to get worse.

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Extreme Weather Events

The Briefing

  • We’re already seeing the impact of climate change—today, droughts, heatwaves, and extreme rainstorms are 2x more frequent than they were a century ago
  • In less than a decade, Earth’s climate is expected to warm another 0.5°C
  • If this happens, heatwaves will be 4.1x more frequent than they were in the 1850-1900s

The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather

The world is already witnessing the effects of climate change.

A few months ago, the western U.S. experienced one of the worst droughts it’s seen in the last 20 years. At the same time, southern Europe roasted in an extreme heatwave, with temperatures reaching 45°C in some parts.

But things are only expected to get worse in the near future. Here’s a look at how much extreme climate events have changed over the last 200 years, and what’s to come if global temperatures keep rising.

A Century of Warming

The global surface temperature has increased by about 1°C since the 1850s. And according to the IPCC, this warming has been indisputably caused by human influence.

As the global temperatures have risen, the frequency of extreme weather events have increased along with it. Heatwaves, droughts and extreme rainstorms used to happen once in a decade on average, but now:

  • Heatwaves are 2.8x more frequent
  • Droughts are 1.7x more frequent
  • Extreme rainstorms are 1.3x more frequent

By 2030, the global surface temperature is expected to rise 1.5°C above the Earth’s baseline temperature, which means that:

  • Heatwaves would be 4.1x more frequent
  • Droughts would be 2x more frequent
  • Extreme rainstorms would be 1.5x more frequent

The Ripple Effects of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events have far-reaching impacts on communities, especially when they cause critical system failures.

Mass infrastructure breakdowns during Hurricane Ida this year caused widespread power outages in the state of Louisiana that lasted for several days. In 2020, wildfires in Syria devastated hundreds of villages and injured dozens of civilians with skin burns and breathing complications.

As extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency, and communities become increasingly more at risk, sound infrastructure is becoming more important than ever.

Where does this data come from?

Source: IPCC
Details: The data used in this graphic is from the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, which provides a high-level summary of the state of the climate, how it’s changing, and the role of human influence.

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Blockchain Applications: Tokenization of Real Assets

Tokenization is a future application of blockchain technology, and it could make investing in physical assets much easier. (Sponsored Content)

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The Briefing

  • Tokenization is a solution that divides the ownership of an asset into digital tokens
  • This process could democratize investment in physical assets

Blockchain Applications: Tokenization of Real Assets

Did you know that blockchain has the potential to transform the way we invest in physical assets?

Tokenization is a solution that divides the ownership of an asset (such as a building) into digital tokens. These tokens act as “shares”, and are similar to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The difference here, however, is that the tokens are fungible and they are actually tied to the value of the asset.

In this graphic sponsored by Global X ETFs, we visualize how tokenization could be used in real estate.

Tokenization in Real Estate

Blockchain has strong potential in real estate investing because it mitigates many of the asset class’ hurdles. Here’s a brief round-up of its theoretical advantages:

Liquidity

Buying and selling real estate is normally a tedious process. If a property were to be tokenized, it would essentially cut out the middleman and allow buyers and sellers to transfer ownership directly.

These transfers would be as easy as buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Removing barriers to entry

Because properties are expensive, real estate investing is typically limited to institutional investors with large amounts of capital. Individuals can gain exposure through a real estate investment trust (REIT), but these vehicles can carry high minimums and fees.

Tokenization could enable individuals to buy and sell real estate in small denominations (even fractions of a token) and without traditional fees.

Transparency and security

Blockchains are decentralized, digital ledgers known for their security. Tampering with a blockchain’s data is incredibly difficult because the ledger is shared and verified by all of its users.

This provides investors with full transparency into the past transactions of a property, as well as an undeniable proof of ownership.

Democratizing Investment

If tokenization proves to be effective, it could be extended to a whole range of other physical assets—most of which have their own unique barriers. Consider the following table, which lists the 12-month and 10-year return of various luxury goods.

Category12-month return10-year return
Handbags+17%+108%
Wine+13%+127%
Collector cars+6%+193%
Watches+5%+89%
Rare whisky-4%+478%
Art-11%+71%

Source: Knight Frank (Dec 2020)

Rare luxury goods have historically been sold through live auctions, where the highest bidder is awarded ownership. Thanks to blockchain technology, this could change in the future. In fact, Sotheby’s (a 277-year-old auction house) recently began to accept cryptocurrency as a payment option in its auctions.

In short, tokenization has the potential to greatly reduce the barriers around alternative and physical assets. For investors, this means a much wider set of opportunities to pursue.

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