The Funding Divide 2024: Turned down in the downturn: Funding gap grows for underrepresented founders

· VC and Angels,Press


Jeremy Au was featured in the Funding Divide 2024 report for his insights on the widening funding gap for underrepresented founders. Despite challenging fundraising conditions in 2023, Jeremy highlighted the importance of looking beyond traditional pattern-matching heuristics to recognize the potential of diverse founding teams. His emphasis on the need for investors to dig deeper into the backgrounds and track records of these founders showcases his commitment to equitable funding practices and his advocacy for a more inclusive venture capital environment.


Southeast Asia is diverse with many ethnicities, waves of immigration and cross-cultural mixing. Yet, there are also many talented founders in the region who do not pattern-match to investor expectations. They may not have come from an Ivy League background, or they may be building in verticals or communities that are foreign to many VCs. Savvy investors are those who see through simple pattern-matching heuristics to discern a track record of success in a founding team–beyond whatever a pitch deck might share. It’s comparatively easy to invest in teams that check every recognizable “status” box with their pitch deck, but this strategy doesn’t necessarily lead to outsized returns compared to one’s peers. Investors should dig deeper into teams that show promise but who don’t come from backgrounds that immediately code for venture investment.


This strategy does justice to diverse founders and is also key for investors to gain a competitive edge and work with founders who may be overlooked by other VCs. Deck attention by race 20% 29% 45%more time less timeless time. In 2023, investors spent 20% more time on diverse teams’ team sections. Diverse teams received 29% less time on the business model section.VCs spent 45% less time on diverse teams’ product sections.