Cosa s'intende per gender investment gap?


Sempre più spesso si parla delle disparità uomo-donna in ambito lavorativo in termini di opportunità economiche e di carriera. Meno frequentemente si parla di gender investment gap: di seguito riportiamo alcune sezioni di un interessante articolo "Why women owned startups are a better bet" che tratta di questo tema.


(...) The gender pay gap is well documented: women make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Less well known: the gender investment gap. According to our research, when women business owners pitch their ideas to investors for early-stage capital, they receive significantly less—a disparity that averages more than $1 million—than men. Yet businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backers. 

(...) Our objective was to see how companies founded by women differ from those founded by men. Our data shows a clear gender gap in new-business funding. We also spoke with investors and women business owners to get a sense of how they perceive the funding status quo. Our findings have clear implications for investors, startup accelerators, and women entrepreneurs seeking backers. (...)

One might think that gender plays no role in the realm of investing in early-stage companies. Investors make calculated decisions that are—or should be—based on business plans and projections. Moreover, a growing body of evidence shows that organizations with a higher percentage of women in leadership roles outperform male-dominated companies.

(...) Unfortunately, however, women-owned companies don’t get the same level of financial backing as those founded by men.(...) In a review of five years of investment and revenue data, the gender-focused analysis showed a clear funding gap.

(...) Investments in companies founded or cofounded by women averaged $935,000, which is less than half the average $2.1 million invested in companies founded by male entrepreneurs. 


  • Despite this disparity, startups founded and cofounded by women actually performed better over time, generating 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period: $730,000 compared with $662,000.
  • In terms of how effectively companies turn a dollar of investment into a dollar of revenue, startups founded and cofounded by women are significantly better financial investments. For every dollar of funding, these startups generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated less than half that—just 31 cents. 

The findings are statistically significant, and we ruled out factors that could have affected investment amounts, such as education levels of the entrepreneurs and the quality of their pitches. (...)


(...) One, more than men, women founders and their presentations are subject to challenges and pushback. For example, more women report being asked during their presentations to establish that they understand basic technical knowledge. And often, investors simply presume that the women founders don’t have that knowledge. (...) We heard that when they are making their pitches, women founders also hesitate to respond directly to criticism. If a potential founder makes negative comments about aspects of a woman’s pitch, rather than disagree with the investor and argue her case, she is more likely than a man to accept it as legitimate feedback. (...)

Two, male founders are more likely to make bold projections and assumptions in their pitches. One investor told us, “Men often overpitch and oversell.” Women, by contrast, are generally more conservative in their projections and may simply be asking for less than men. 

Three, many male investors have little familiarity with the products and services that women-founded businesses market to other women. (...) “In general, women often come up with ideas that they have experience with,” one investor said. “That’s less true with men.” (...)


On the basis of our findings, we have recommendations for three key stakeholder groups. 

VC Firms and Other Investors(...) VC firms and other investors need to be aware of the structural biases built into funding decisions. (...) VC investors...should look for entrepreneurs who are grounding their business plans in realistic projections. And it is critically important that they include women in investment decisions. (...) Bringing more women into these organizations could mean more creative and unconventional problem solving and could help broaden the lens of potential investments.(...)

Startup Accelerators. (...)They must start by making sure that they have a balanced slate of applicants, and to do this, they must actively recruit promising women entrepreneurs. Additionally, accelerators should ensure that they have sufficient numbers of women who are experts across industries and can act as role models and mentors. 

Furthermore, accelerators should coach female entrepreneurs on the realities of the market. (...) Accelerators should work to connect women founders to the external resources—such as women-led, startup-friendly investors, incubators, partnerships, and networking opportunities—that can help them grow their businesses. 

Over the long term, accelerators are uniquely positioned to create positive change. They can bring together a community of startups, women-friendly investors, and other resources—both in person and online—to build a case for change. Accelerators can share aggregate data on successful women-led businesses and become vocal advocates to the investment community while cultivating a strong network of women-friendly VC firms that their startups can tap into.

Women Entrepreneurs. The current system of startup funding puts women entrepreneurs at a clear disadvantage, but in the short term, the reality is that women entrepreneurs must work within the flawed system even as they lobby to improve it. To that end, they can use the results of our findings as market intelligence that can help them reshape their approach. To prepare their formal pitches, they should seek out coaches—ideally, with VC experience—who will assess practice runs and provide feedback. During actual pitches, they should ask for bigger investments, ask more frequently, and avoid underselling their companies. (...) In addition, women entrepreneurs and investors should be aware of which VC firms are led by women or have a strong record of investing in women. Those firms should not be the only options, but they should be priorities. (...)

The investment gap is real—and larger than we thought—but there are ways to help close it. By understanding the kinds of biases that put women at a disadvantage, VC firms and investors can make more objective funding decisions. Accelerators can help in terms of mentorship, resources, and networking. And women founders, while lobbying for long-term change, can operate intelligently within the current system. (...)


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