Crowdfunding platforms may be bridging the gender gap for women in the historically male-dominated fields of investing and entrepreneurship, allowing more female entrepreneurs and investors to participate more fully and successfully.
“Our findings provide some indication that crowdfunding platforms may lead to increased participation of women on the investing side and increased flows of capital of female-led projects,” wrote the authors of a recent study.
This study — from Dan Marom from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Alicia Robb from University of California, Berkeley; and Orly Sade from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — of more than 16,000 successful Kickstarter projects found that the percentage of women who meet their fundraising goal is higher than that of men, with a 69.5% success for women and 61.4% for men.
In fact, another recent study found that women have higher rates of success than men in funding their projects on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.
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Another study, by Jason Greenberg from New York University and Ethan Mollick from the University of Pennsylvania, looked at 1,250 random U.S.-based Kickstarter projects with goals more than $5,000 from five categories: gaming, technology, film, fashion and children’s books. Greenberg and Mollick found that women were about 13% more likely to meet their Kickstarter goals than men.
They also found that the success rate of women dramatically rose in the male-driven technology category — where less than 10% of the technology projects featured teams led by women. Of those projects, 65% reached their fundraising goals, whereas 30% of the male-led projects succeeded.
Previous studies have shown that the investment community often favors male entrepreneurs and businesses started by women receive little venture capital money, with crowdfunding often cited as a way to democratize finance.
Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, launched the platform in 2008 with the goal of democratizing finance.
“[At Indiegogo,] we have created a completely level funding playing field, and when you do that, biases go out the window,” she said during a live discussion for Forbes. “Look at the venture capital industry; only 3-8% of venture practices that raise venture funding are run by women, but on Indiegogo 47% of campaigns that reach their funding target are run by women. So that just shows that if you level the playing field, women do just as well as men.”
And part of that success may be due to women helping women.
Marom, Robb and Sade’s findings show that female-led projects were predominantly financed by women. According to their research, the percentage of female investors was significantly higher for female-led projects (55%) than for male-led projects (46.7%). About 23% of projects that men invested in had female project leads, whereas more than 40% of projects that women invested in had female project leads.
Greenberg and Mollick found that this is particularly true for female-led projects that are in traditionally male-dominated categories, like technology. They found that women succeed where they are least represented as both funders and founders, citing a “motivation to help someone that shares one’s gender overcome perceived structural barriers.”