New research from PitchBook, a private equity and venture capital database service, showed a marked increase in the number of venture capital going to female founders so far this year.   

Pulling from its database of venture capital deals, PitchBook found that companies with at least one female founder have secured a record 13 percent of U.S. VC rounds so far in 2013--after nearly 10 years of slow or no growth. By comparison, in 2004, women-led companies secured about 4 percent of rounds. 

According to the study, a breakdown of industries showed that this year female-founded companies received about 40 percent of the venture capital in the retail industry and 33 percent in the consumer services space.

Women-led companies had the smallest representation amongst software companies--where they only secured 10 percent the VC rounds in the space, below the average across all industries. 

There have been extensive discussions about why venture capital favors male-founded companies--the leading argument focuses on the fact that women are at the helm of fewer companies. According to The Center for Women’s Business Research, women own 28.2 percent of all businesses in the United States, which could be one factor contributing to the low percentage of VC rounds going to women.

Conversely, The Kauffman Foundation approached the topic from the supply side--identifying that the fewer number of female venture capitalists could be factor. According to the Kauffman Foundation’s Gatekeepers of Venture Growth: The Role and Participation of Women in the Venture Capital Industry, women represent less than 10 percent of the high level venture capitalists but 70 percent of female venture capitalists had closed deals with female-led companies.