Women trying to get venture-capital funding face long odds: Somewhere between one and six percent of VC-supported companies were founded by women. Some might explain this by pointing out that women are less likely than men to seek venture-capital funding, which is partially valid. But even then, venture capitalists have been shown to be biased against would-be female entrepreneurs; a study from earlier this year found that professional investors rated pitches from men more highly than those from women, even though the content of those pitches was the same.
A study published last month, authored by New York University’s Jason Greenberg and the University of Pennsylvania’s Ethan Mollick, recommends an alternative for women seeking venture-capital money: Kickstarter. The research found that projects on the site started by women are more likely to succeed than those started by men. Even though Kickstarter operates on a much smaller scale than the VC industry as a whole, the fact that more than 90 percent of its funded projects go on as businesses for one to four years points to the usefulness of the site in promoting more equality in entrepreneurship.
Greenberg and Mollick analyzed 1,250 Kickstarter projects, dividing them into categories of those whose founders and backers tended to be male (technology, gaming), tended to be female (fashion, children’s books), and were about even (film). They didn’t examine any projects with goals under $5,000, endeavors they suspected were liable to have received biased backing from family and friends.