In Silicon Valley, venture capital funding still overwhelmingly favors men.
Male investors often don’t fully understand the value of ideas women entrepreneurs pitch them. They throw capital at food delivery service after food delivery service, but ignore ideas that cater to groups they’re not part of.
There’s one type of funding, though, where women are outdoing men. According to a new study from consulting firm PWC and The Crowdfunding Center, women are flat-out better at crowdfunding than men.
An analysis of 450,000 campaigns found that campaigns led by women were 32 percent more successful at meeting their fundraising goals than campaigns led by men. People who support crowdfunding campaigns contribute more to women, too: an average of $87 per individual backer to women and $83 per backer to men.
“When women choose to access crowdfunding they are more than capable—and very often more capable than men.”
“What the data in this report shows clearly is that when women choose to access crowdfunding they are more than capable—and very often more capable than men. This undermines these traditional assumptions and casts things in a new light,” the report said. “It demonstrates that opportunities for women entrepreneurs have not been equal, but thanks to crowdfunding, female entrepreneurs can now access the market directly—and this makes a huge difference.”
This isn’t because women dominate crowdfunding by sheer numbers. Of the 450,000 campaigns from around the world, PWC found 139,000 were led by men and 55,000 were led by women.
Even though women are still lagging behind by overall numbers, they do a better job at finding support for their projects and meeting their fundraising goals. Twenty-two percent of campaigns led by women reached their target compared to 17 percent of campaigns led by men.
These discrepancies stand across sectors, even in traditionally male-dominated industries like tech.
Other studies have shown the potential of crowdfunding to increase access to capital for groups underrepresented through traditional funding channels. A study by researchers at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, found that the success of crowdfunding campaigns throughout the United States was forcing venture capitalists to look outside Silicon Valley while investing.
One possible explanation for the success of women on crowdfunding platforms is that the “micro-VCs”—or the people who back a project on Kickstarter—are a more diverse group than investors in Silicon Valley. Investors with more perspectives than just the white men of venture capital see the potential in women’s ideas.
Women also tend to use more inclusive language to describe their campaigns, which is more successful in wooing crowdfunding backers than the business language men more often use, the study found.
But like any other industry, crowdfunding has its own glass ceiling. Men still raise more money than women overall because more men are crowdfunding by sheer numbers. Men tend to set higher fundraising goals, too. Of 63 campaigns PWC studied that raised over $1 million, only seven were led by women.
If women can reach parity in the number of campaigns they’re running and the amount of money they’re asking for, this study shows that they’ll easily outstrip the success rates of projects started by men.
Sounds like it’s time to back a woman-led project on Kickstarter.
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