Let’s Prove the Future is Female and Alter Reality

The virtual reality industry has a huge opportunity.

While the VR/AR space is forming, we have a chance to do things differently.

It is a sad state of affairs in the technology industry at large. Women make up less than 20% of the tech space, and only 3% of female students say they would consider a career in tech.

In the venture capital space, it is even worse. Less than 8% of venture capitalists are female, and when more than 90% of investors are male—it’s easy to see why the majority of funded companies are dominated by men.

The immersive technology industry is in its nascent stages. As this powerful medium becomes a massive industry (predicted by Digi-Capital to become worth over $100B in the next 3 years), it’s critical that we rally together to ensure this space does not fall prey to exclusion.

One of the biggest hurdles that women entrepreneurs face is access to funds and the solid support that is needed when the growth stage of a business comes. We’re hoping to help solve that for the VR/AR industry along with a coalition of industry players. These organizations include venture, corporate, media and startup partners dedicated to elevating women founders and offering capital and support resources to advance their startups.

Although tech companies led by women achieve a 35% higher return on investment than those led by men, it turns out that men are 86% more likely to be venture capital funded. These statistics need to be disrupted by radical inclusion and a redesign of this paradigm—while there’s still time.

Martina Welkhoff (L) and Malia Probst (R) announcing Women in XR at VRLA 2017.

Women in XR (XR is an umbrella term that encompasses VR/AR/MR… and every other reality) is an initiative connecting female founders and women-led businesses to capital, resources, and to each other.

Female executives and decision makers help shape the culture of a company, and that trickles down to every level of the organization. Female leaders and mentors affect every aspect of a business, from hiring to marketing to operations to budgeting. Ensuring that women have a road to funding is essential for healthy corporate markets.

We are excited to count the Venture Reality Fund and Norwest Partners as our venture partners, VRScout as our media/creative partner, PMBC Group as our PR partner, and Convene VR as our virtual event partner for Phase I of Women in XR.

For this cardinal stage we are growing our community and building the database, while the second wave of VC/media/corporate partners lock in.

We are looking for founders, aspiring founders, mentors, investors, creators, and allies to join the Women in XR community.

This is not about checking a box to fill a mandated quota. This is a mission for inclusion and a directive for evolution.

Let’s make equality not only a virtual reality. Let’s make equality an actual reality. Sign up now.

For further resources, please check out community organizations Women in VR and SH//FT, who are leaders for equality in the VR/AR industry.

Sources: PwCGirls Who CodeWomen in the WorkplaceKauffman Foundation
Image Credit: Kyle Espeleta, VRLA

About the Scout

Malia Probst

Host of the VRScout Report, a weekly live video show and podcast discussing the best in VR.

About the Scout

Martina Welkhoff

Martina is a serial entrepreneur who launched her latest venture, ConveneVR, in early 2017. Martina has worked in a variety of startup environments, from helping to debut a new media company to developing a new program within a national nonprofit. Most recently, she was the CEO and cofounder of Zealyst, a mobile gaming app that strategically connected employees, which was acquired by the University of Washington. Martina is the Board President of Seattle Women in Tech, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and a board member of Seattle Angel.

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