Venture Capital

In light of Pao: Where are women at top VC funds?

Ellen Pao arrives at San Francisco Superior Court, March 24, 2015.
Robert Galbraith | Reuters

As the Ellen Pao trial wraps up, I've been hearing a low rumble from senior women across Silicon Valley about the other top venture capital firms, which have no women at the highest level. While Kleiner Perkins was sued for gender discrimination, it actually has a woman, Mary Meeker, at its very highest level, which is more than many of the other top VCs can say.

A look through CrunchBase and at the websites of Andreessen Horowitz; Sequoia; Accel; Khosla Ventures; General Catalyst Partners; SV Angel, and Greylock is pretty shocking. There's not a single woman at the very top level.

At Andreessen Horowitz, the six general partners are men. Sequoia's venture team is a dozen men. At General Catalyst Partners, all six managing directors are male. Khosla consists of eight male venture partners.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of women at the top VC firms; there are female partners, and women are far better represented in the roles of CFOs, COOs and in marketing, human resources and as associates. But bottom line: at the top level, women are vastly underrepresented.

Read More Why the Pao verdict could be complex, confusing

Women represent 5.6 percent of investment decision makers at all U.S. VC firms that have raised at least $100 million since 2009, according to Fortune Magazine and PitchBook. To put that in context, the executive ranks at Google are 21 percent female, and at Facebook they are 23 percent female.

And on average, women comprise 11 percent of executives at Silicon Valley's top 150 companies, which is less than the average at the S&P 500, where they are 16 percent of executives.

Women are better represented at the smallest VC firms: 14 percent of investment professionals at firms with under $50 million in assets under management, according to PitchBook. In contrast they're 6 percent of investment professionals at firms with $1 billion-plus.

And there's reason to be optimistic. Mark Andreessen, arguably the highest-profile investor in Silicon Valley, has just founded a boot camp to give women the background they need to sit on boards. That's a key move to help train the next generation of VC leaders.

Many tell me the Pao trial drew much-needed attention to the issue. And many of the biggest firms are investing to develop their younger female executives.