Male and Female Entrepreneurs Get Asked Different Questions by VCs and It Affects How Much Funding They Get

Women in the United Sated in 2017 own 38% of the businesses in the country, but only 2% female manage to get venture capital funding. The hope was with more women becoming venture capitalist this gap will start to move in the right direction and females will begin to get more opportunities but the breach has only increase. 

On the article published by Harvard Business Review by Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, Mark A. Conley, and E. Tory Higgins it was presented the result of their research about the questioning bias that exists when male and female entrepreneurs are trying to raise funding for their start-ups, and they showed that this bias is not only coming from men investors, but also from women.

During TechCrunch Disrupt New York, an annual startup funding competition, they recorded the sessions between 140 venture capitalists (40% of them female) and 189 entrepreneurs (12% of them female). They learned that venture capitalists asked different questions to men and women, asking the male entrepreneurs about their potential gains, and to the females about their potential losses. 

In other terms, men were asked promotions questions, which are focused on hopes, achievements, advancement, and ideals. While women were asked prevention questions, these ones are concerned about safety, responsibility, security, and vigilance. In the table below it’s clear the difference between both.

Harvard Business Review, Venture Capital

Not all hope is lost. They realized a second study to see if changing the answers to the prevention questions with more promotion answers could help women to get more funding, and it did. So what’s important to highlight from this very interesting and informative article is that even though there is a bias in the questioning, the answers that women give about their companies still can make a huge impact in persuading the venture capitalist. But female entrepreneur need to be aware of this bias, in order to prepare, before having these important meetings. Because as the investigation shows, a proper answer is not the correct answer, women need to carefully guide these meetings in the right direction if they want to have a chance to succeed.

To read the whole article publish at the Harvard Business Review by Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, Mark A. Conley, and E. Tory Higgins June 27, 2017

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