Mina Mirzadeh

Gender bias in VCs? A new Swedish study

Blog Post created by Mina Mirzadeh Partner on 20-May-2017

Hello, ladies!
I was surfing around when I saw this eye-catching study result shared by Slay by Mic. Here I try to summarize the report to get its gist. You can also read the full report here.

This study shows that "venture capitalists described male and female entrepreneurs with drastically different words during closed-door meetings, which in turn seemed to affect funding decisions." This becomes more surprising since Sweden is among the top countries fighting for gender equality. Just imagine how such study will be if conducted in other countries! 

On average, women were awarded only about 25% of the money they asked for to fund their companies. The men, by contrast, were awarded about 52%Harvard Business Review

Double Standard ?!
In several cases, the same quality was described as a positive on a man, but a negative for a woman.


Can female entrepreneurs fight back?

It's not as simple as trying to appear confident by overcompensating because a woman trying too hard to appear daring could instead seem reckless. Instead, bringing a sense of passion can help. Passion is more emotionally founded.

Another example, A pizza place is a pizza place — you might tinker with the sauce or the decorations, but it's still the same business. When pitching these kinds of ventures, women almost always fare worse. But when pitching an exceptionally innovative idea, women entrepreneurs were actually higher rated than their male counterparts. In other words, it may help to dream big

The truth is you have to embrace a kind of 'fake it till you make it mentality.
Another issue to consider is how you're going to make an investor understand the problem that you're solving. Many female founders report that the men they pitch often struggle to understand the value of products they're never going to use. That's a reason to come armed with statistics about you market — but also bring in personal stories, humor, and even visual aids or demonstrations to help bring your idea to life.
And the last but not least:

Putting more women front and center at tech conferences and in panels would help normalize the presence of female entrepreneurs.

What do you say?