Crowdfunding is good news for women in business

A new study offers some good news for female entrepreneurs; women outperform men on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. In 2014, two PhDs discovered that women who launch technology-related crowdfunding projects are more successful than every other demographic and category, even fashion and publishing.

An astonishing 65% of all women-led tech startups reached their funding goal on Kickstarter, compared to just 30 percent of men-led tech startups. Interestingly, though, it’s not just tech that female entrepreneurs are succeeding in; in all industries reviewed by the study, women-founded ventures prevailed.

According to Julia Elliott-Brown, CEO of Upper Street, crowdfunding could be just the thing that democratises investment for women. In her article for the Telegraph, she details how easy it is for women to be intimidated by traditional financing routes: “It feels significantly less intimidating to create and run your pitch online than having to present at a testosterone fuelled pitching event, or walk into the fancy offices of a venture capital firm for an in-person grilling from the guys in suits.”

Her own company crowdfunded for a small investment earlier this year. She said she was encouraged to see that 36 per cent of our new investors were women, who actually put in on average almost four-times as much money as the men. In a male dominated industry, online crowdfunding offers women an easy in-road into the world of business financing; and on top of that, it offers an audience of investors who are actively looking to support ventures started by women like them.

Online crowdfunding seems to have led to the creation of a group of female “activist” investors, who seek out investment opportunities offered by women in order to offer their financial support. In the US, crowdfunding platform PlumAlley launched last year, a site designed to showcase investments by women for other women to back. Started by Deborah Jackson, it is a site ‘designed to help women succeed.’

She says: “Women-led projects are more successful on the whole than men’s projects, across all sites. Research shows women to support women. You can see that as a bias, but we choose to see that as actually a really empowering thing. There’s so much about when taking one another other down or the competition between women in the workplace, and it’s really good to see that when it comes something as tangible and economic as crowdfunding, women really do want to support other women.”

There have been plenty of suggestions that crowdfunding has democratised business as a whole; it’s not just about knowing some wealthy backers anymore – anyone can find funding, with a good business plan and access to the internet. However, it’s interesting to see these statistics in the light of women entering the business world, especially that of technology. It is increasingly clear that women are under-represented in business, and the technology sector in particular – perhaps crowdfunding will pave the way for this to change.

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