Funding for start-ups founded by women is surging.

Last year, venture capital funding for companies founded by women in the U.S. dropped substantially. But new research from PitchBook suggests that change is afoot.

The start of the pandemic had a disproportionate affect on investments in companies with at least one female founder. The number of deals involving companies with all-male founders dipped 5.4 percent in June 2020 compared with March, then rose again through the end of the year. But investment activity in companies with a female founder dropped almost 30 percent and remained suppressed for much of the year, PitchBook data shows.

This year, start-ups with female founders have fared much better. They have raised more venture capital dollars and have executed more exits at greater values than at any point in the last decade. Start-ups with a female founder raised more than $40 billion through September, almost double the amount invested in companies founded by women in all of 2020 or 2019.

Much of the investment surge was concentrated in the tech, health care and retail industries.

Still, those investments represented a small slice of the overall market, amounting to roughly 18 percent of the $239 billion raised by all venture capital-backed companies through September.

The PitchBook report suggests there is a growing pool of female angel investors and general partners at funds who are actively looking to support female founders. At the end of 2019, 12 percent of general partners at venture capital firms were women and there were 740 female angel investors. Today, women make up 15 percent of general partners at venture capital firms, and there are now about 1,000 female angel investors.