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Report underscores how little investment goes to women-led firms

In 2021, five women-founded studios received $1.2 million in funding, compared to the $4.1 billion investment male-run studios earned in 2021.

That’s according to data from research firm PitchBook, as featured in a Polygon report on discrepancies in investment support for marginalized developers.

On average, those women-led studios in 2021 received an average of $240,000 in venture capital.

Meanwhile, 223 games firms overseen by men received an average of $18.4 million in funding that year.

“There is a massive disparity on how funding is allocated in the industry, with projects led by women and other gender marginalized persons grossly underfunded when compared with those from cis-male teams,” Eliana Oikawa, CEO of games fund Wings Interactive, told Polygon.

Regarding PitchBook’s research on the disparities that developers of marginalized races and ethnicities face, a spokesperson said, “After extensive investigation on possible ways to gather this dataset, we’re not able to compile a holistic view of investment activity at this time.”

Polygon’s report included first-hand accounts from developers of various identities and their experiences with venture capital funding.

“We’re never given the chance to enter the room in the first place,” said Veritable Joy Studios founder Dani Lalonders. The developer created ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area.

3-Fold Games’ Chella Ramanan shared an experience echoing these disparities. “Let’s try to change our game so investors will invest…We put in all this energy — emotional energy and time — and we haven’t developed the game because we’re applying for funding that’s not going to come,” she said.

The report also noted that publishers often think about the demographic of men when they ask developers who is the intended target audience for their project.

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