The vast majority of tech startup founders and investors who identify as LGBTQ+ in the UK hide their identity from industry peers, according to a new survey.
The number of investors who conceal their gender identity and/or sexual orientation was only slightly higher than the number of founders who do so, at a rate of 80% to 75%, respectively.
The data report, which was released on 7 February by Proud Ventures, a UK collective of LGBTQ+ investors and venture capitalists, also highlighted that not enough action is being taken to make sure queer founders feel supported.
Women, lesbians and gender minorities more generally were found to face steeper barriers to progressing than cisgendered gay men.
Asher Ismail, co-founder of revenue-based financing startup Uncapped, said: “Attempts to engage with or support the LGBTQ+ startup community have been held back by the repeated question: is there actually any problem to solve?
“With the release of this report, the data clearly highlights the challenges experienced and opportunities for change. Sharing the findings and telling our stories is a call to action for the tech and VC industries to work towards a more inclusive future.”
Discrimination continues to be an issue in tech
The data report concluded that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination remains rife in the world of tech, with respondents anonymously sharing their experiences of it in the industry.
This included one cisgender bisexual founder being subjected to a drunken slur from an investor after they came out.
This was followed by the investor sending “an email saying he was passing on investing because there wasn’t a very good, quote ‘cultural fit’ with the fund he represented,” according to the report.
The survey, which was supported by GAY TIMES and had the backing of Founders Factory and Investec Wealth, was made up of 118 founders and 61 investors based in the UK.