Fewer than 5% of venture capitalists are women, but several prominent women in the industry, including Aileen Lee, Theresia Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad, have recently set up firms. Gouw says more than one-third of the companies she has helped over the past 15 years have had women founders or co-founders -- a number she wishes were higher. The trend is good for the market, said Ann Winblad, co-founder of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "They have their own credibility, they have their own gravitas, and they have their own money," she said.

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