The Gender of Money: Investor Gender Effects on Early-Stage Venture Financing

48 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019 Last revised: 2 Sep 2022

Date Written: December 14, 2021


Increasing female representation among the pool of investors has been advanced as a potential solution to the persistent gender gap in startup financing. But do all female founders stand to benefit from an increase in female investment capital? I exploit data on 3,264 investor-entrepreneur pairings from the televised pitch competition Shark Tank to explore the gendered preferences of male and female investors. I find that both male and female investors are more likely to extend investment offers to entrepreneurs of the same gender, consistent with a homophily hypothesis. I also find that male investors are more likely to show interest in male-typed businesses, while female investors are less likely to invest in these businesses, independent of entrepreneur gender. This preference for investing in industry sectors that are gender-congruent, especially for women, suggests a potential limit to increased numeric representation as a driver of greater gender equality. Additional analyses indicate that experience attenuates women’s gendered preferences.

Keywords: Gender, Homophily, Gender-congruence, Entrepreneurship, Financing

Suggested Citation

Solal, Isabelle, The Gender of Money: Investor Gender Effects on Early-Stage Venture Financing (December 14, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Isabelle Solal (Contact Author)

ESSEC Business School ( email )

1 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
Cergy, 50105

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