Trans founders to VCs: ‘Cut me a check’

There is no data to show how little venture funding goes to trans founders.

All that exists is a report from Backstage Capital saying 1% of all venture funds went to founders openly identifying as LGBTQ+. (According to a recent Gallup poll, 7.1% of Americans identify as LGBT+.)

That’s a staggeringly low amount of funding, although not surprising when considering how homophobia and transphobia could easily slip in and prevent investors from giving money to those they don’t support or understand.

“Investors would be so hamstrung by the complexities of this patient population that we wouldn’t even be able to pitch our product.” Kate Anthony, founder, Euphoria

Kate Anthony, the founder of the app Euphoria, which connects individuals to gender-affirming healthcare resources, said her fundraising journey was awful and “really difficult.” Investors didn’t understand how big the trans population was or why her company was needed. She also faced a lot of bias.

“There’s a 50-50 chance when I speak to someone they don’t want to see someone like me existing,” she said.

“It was a game of immense trial and error,” she said, adding that she pitched 272 investors and got 12 on Euphoria’s pre-seed cap table. She wants to raise an official seed round, though she is hesitant given the economic climate, not to mention the bias she will likely continue to face as a trans founder. “It’s just depressing and demoralizing.”

TechCrunch conducted an investigation into current market sentiment — what we like to call a “vibe check” — to see what it is like for trans founders looking for venture capital money, specifically when their product targets the trans community. Many said investors often distrust their product’s market potential, while others described an emotional process of outing themselves in every meeting to people who may or may not support their existence.