St. Louis Is Fastest Growing Market for Female-Led Startups

St. Louis female entrepreneurs have seen their capital increase by 187%, according to new study

click to enlarge St. Louis is becoming a leader in female entrepreneurship. -  Flickr / Tony Faiola
St. Louis is becoming a leader in female entrepreneurship.

St. Louis is quickly becoming the home of female-led startups.

According to data from PitchBook, female-founded startups in St. Louis have raised more capital than any other American city over the past decade.

In the three years since 2020, St. Louis’ female-led startups saw their capital increase by 187 percent — the most in the country, and more than tech hubs like San Francisco, Phoenix and Austin. The increase is compared to their capital from 2008 to 2019.

The study also found that since 2020, St. Louis–based female startups have raised more capital than they did in the entire period between 2008 to 2019.

The increase in capital raised is due to an increase in the number of deals happening, but it's primarily due to a drastic increase in the value of those deals. PitchBook found that St. Louis saw the largest increase in average deal value at 104.77 percent — over three times the amount in San Francisco and New York City.

From 2008 to 2019, the average deal value for female-led startups in St. Louis was $5.4 million. That number has ballooned to $12.4 million since 2020.

Over the past five years, nearly 40,000 new jobs have come to St. Louis due to startups. And a large portion of them are founded by women. Plus, statistics show that 85 percent of St. Louis startups make it to their second year. According to St. Louis Public Radio, that's the highest "startup survivability rate" in the nation.

In 2019, a study by Seek Capital rated St. Louis as the best city for female entrepreneurship. At that time, 45.2 percent of startups had a woman in charge. That came out to 2,726 startups, $150 million to $500 million in gross sales and receipts and 6,257 employees.