White men with master’s degrees: The profile of a venture capitalist

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Prepare to be stunned: The vast majority of venture capitalists are white men.

So says a survey of 600 venture capital professionals released by the National Venture Capital Assn. and Dow Jones VentureSource this week -- an annual report first conducted in 2008.

Nearly 90% of investors are men. Adding in chief financial officers and other administrative positions in marketing and communications, the demographic makeup of the venture capital industry shows that 79% of members are men, 87% are white and 28% are under age 30.

Women are heavily represented among administrative staff, handling 62% of the roles there. As investors, they’re most active in the life sciences and clean-tech industries, making up 18% and 15% respectively.


Newer venture capitalists tend to be more diverse, with 77% of them Caucasian. Of fresh recruits, 17% are Asian and 3% are black or Latino, compared to 9% and 2% generally across the industry.

Investors work hard, with 44% of them saying they clock more than 60 hours each week. And yet eight in 10 venture capitalists are married and three-fourths have children.

And they’re loyal to their companies, with 57% having only ever worked at one firm during their careers and 30% at two. Nearly half expect to be in the same place professionally five years down the line.

Venture capital professionals are well-educated. Two in 10 went to either Stanford or Harvard, while 8% attended the University of Pennsylvania and 5% hail from UC Berkeley. Seventy percent have master’s degrees.

The industry is also plugged in: 85% are on LinkedIn, 62% have Facebook accounts and 33% use Twitter.


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