Crowdsourcing Conversation on the Startup Funding Gap

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By J. Maureen Henderson (Contributor, Forbes) Australian entrepreneur Pemo Theodore spent five years in London trying to drum up venture capital funding for her digital matchmaking start-up. She came away empty-handed, but with a desire to explore the well-documented gender gap in funding for female-led startups.

Theodore interviewed dozens of venture capitalists, female founders and tech industry experts (both female and male), quizzing them on the challenges facing female founders and soliciting their perspectives on what was driving the female funding shortfall. In the end, she packaged a cross-section of these interviews into an e-book. The conclusions that Theodore arrived at via her project aren’t news to women currently working in the male-dominated tech field or trying to get a fledgling business off the ground -– the differences in how men and women are socialized show up in business, sexual harassment and discrimination is still an issue,  the nature of startup culture may not align well with a female founder’s family life and obligations and that women are underrepresented as both venture capitalists and angel investors  were points that  came up again and again.

Theodore says that the venture capitalists  she interviewed all expressed an interest in investing in women-led firms, with some citing a competitive advantage in supporting hidden gems that other VC firms may not have taken a chance on. She believes, however, that the responsibility of addressing the startup funding gap lies both with potential investors and with founders themselves.

”We all need to become conscious of where bias resides in us all. In the technical world there is a certain stereotype of the young, white, male geek that has been the driving force in startups and with funders.  It is important that female entrepreneurs challenge this stereotype and leverage their differences, which can lead to success both in their start-ups and in achieving funding.  The best way to challenge this stereotype is to be disruptive with new ways of solving problems and working in businesses that can also achieve success and make for great startups.”

» Read the full article at Forbes.