Female Entrepreneurs Have This One Fundraising Advantage

The data says it's a man's world in entrepreneurship. Few people know this better than female entrepreneurs. But despite the hurdles society throws their way, new research suggests women actually have a leg up in one area of starting your own business.

Indiana University has just released a study investigating how gender affects crowdfunding. According to a press release, "Historically, female-led ventures have found it difficult to procure private equity, bank financing, and venture capital, often because of psychological stereotypes inferring that business leaders should be masculine." The patriarchy is keeping us down, in other words.

However, after studying more than 400 Kickstarter campaigns over three years, researchers found that women were more likely to achieve fully funded projects than men. For once, bias worked in their favor, and the research team suspects it comes down to trustworthiness (or the appearance thereof).

This matches up with earlier research from Binghamton University showing that the most successful crowdfunded campaigns are those that investors perceive as most ethical. That may stem from a sense that giving to a crowdsourced project reflects well on the giver — important information, when we fundraise for everything from medical bills to home ownership now.

"Previous research in venture capital setting has advocated that women should downplay feminine characteristics to increase their chances of obtaining funding," said co-author Regan Stevenson. "This advice not only appears to be dogmatic, but our data shows it is simply bad advice for female entrepreneurs when they are obtaining funding through crowdfunding platforms."