The funding disparity between female founders and their male counterparts is blatant—so much so that U.S. first daughter Ivanka Trump has made fixing the gap a pillar of her women’s empowerment agenda.
“Among women who have started businesses, only 10% have access to the capital they need to grow them,” she wrote in an op-ed in April that called for an increase in female funding.
Indeed, in March, Fortune‘s analysis of PitchBook data found that women received $1.46 billion in venture capital money in the past year, while companies with all-male founders collected $58.2 billion. Rather than improving, the problem is getting worse.
But there is one area outside established funding mechanisms where women are outpacing men: crowdfunding platforms.
A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Crowdfunding Center found that globally in 2015 and 2016 women-led crowdfunding campaigns were 32% more successful than male-led efforts in hitting their funding targets.
The report’s analysis focuses on 450,000 seed crowdfunding campaigns, which let backers pay upfront for products or services they’ll receive later. It is the most prevalent type of crowdfunding and one that’s ballooned in recent years, with the amount of money raised skyrocketing from $10 million globally in 2009 to over $767 million (through just nine of the biggest global platforms alone) in 2016.
The study shows that men launch more crowdfunding campaigns, yet women reach their funding goals 22% of the time, compared to men’s 17% success rate. The trend holds true across geographies to varying degrees.
It’s even true in traditionally male-dominated industries. Women who launched tech-oriented crowdfunding campaigns hit their fundraising mark at a rate of 13%; for men, it’s 10%.
Female-led projects also achieve a greater average pledge amount from each individual backer: $87 versus $83 for male-led campaigns. The study says investors are attracted to the emotional and inclusive language women tend to use in their pitches rather than the business language men usually favor.
In addition to quantifying women’s knack for crowdfunding, the research offers meaningful commentary on the current state of traditional funding methods. The global market that crowdfunding campaigns solicit serves as a kind of control group and shows how a gender-balanced audience—rather than the male-dominated VC world—receives female founders. In a word: enthusiastically.
The research also undermines some of the rationales—other than bias—offered up to explain why female entrepreneurs receive less than male entrepreneurs through traditional funding channels; that fewer women are interested in entrepreneurship or that they’re worse at it than men. The new report shows that the global consumer base has recognized—far sooner than VCs—that female entrepreneurs are just as capable as men—and sometimes, even more so.
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|New York Times|
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