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Are Early Stage Investors Biased Against Women?

49 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017 Last revised: 3 Feb 2018

Michael Ewens

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Richard Townsend

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Date Written: January 31, 2018

Abstract

We examine whether male investors are biased against female entrepreneurs. To do so, we use a proprietary dataset from AngelList, which allows us to observe various private interactions between fundraising startups and potential investors. We find that female founders garner less interest from male investors compared to observably similar male founders. In contrast, the same female founders garner more interest from female investors. Using unique aspects of the AngelList setting, we show that the results do not appear to be driven by differences across founder gender in startup quality, sector focus, or risk. Given that investors are predominately male, our results suggest that an increase in female investors is likely necessary to support an increase in female entrepreneurship.

Keywords: gender, entrepreneurship, angel investing, venture capital

Suggested Citation

Ewens, Michael and Townsend, Richard, Are Early Stage Investors Biased Against Women? (January 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2953011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2953011

Michael Ewens (Contact Author)

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

Richard Townsend

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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