Fair equity is table stakes: 2019 gender equity gap study


At Carta, we think fair equity is table stakes for any venture-backed company. A significant amount of wealth is created from company ownership, and today’s employees are the founders and investors of tomorrow—meaning the impact of unfair equity practices is widespread.

With over 13,000 companies and 800,000 equity holders on our platform, Carta is uniquely positioned to analyze private company ownership—and the gender equity gap. Much like the gender salary gap, the average woman equity holder on Carta cap tables holds less equity than the average man equity holder. 

Last year, we partnered with investment collective #ANGELS, whose mission is to get more women on cap tables. Using aggregated and anonymized cap table data, we were able to analyze the gender equity gap for the first time. The data from our first study has now been cited in over 70 publications.

Today, we are announcing our new initiative, Table Stakes, and the release of our second annual gender equity gap study. Through Table Stakes, we hope to empower more women and underrepresented minorities to get a seat at the [cap] table and ensure they receive fair equity when they get there.

“Equity has been a black box. This year we’ve seen employees get left out of positive outcomes and become collateral damage when startups are overvalued. Wealth remains concentrated among a few individuals, mostly male founders. Employees get the short end of the stick, and our study shows this is especially the case for underrepresented employees. At Carta, we hope to bring broader awareness to these issues, and help close the gaps. Fair equity should be table stakes.”
– Henry Ward, Carta CEO

Below is a summary of our 2019 gender equity gap research. Please visit tablestakes.com to read the full study and learn more about what you can do. The stakes are high—let’s close the gap.

table stakes gender equity gap study

Methodology note: The Table Stakes study uses aggregated and anonymized data from a subset of Carta’s overall cap table data, which included over 320,000 employees, nearly 10,000 companies, and over 25,000 founders. We cannot accurately attribute investor equity by gender, so our study includes founders and employees only. Companies who have contractually requested that we not use their data in anonymized and aggregated studies are not included in this analysis. Gender is non-binary, however, we were only able to associate names to women and men. For more information on methodology, visit tablestakes.com/study.

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