Why are Women Funded Less than Men?

a crowdsourced conversation

by Pemo Theodore Media Producer & Startup Coach

Acknowledgement
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the fabulous & brilliant people that I video interviewed during the course of this year long project. If it wasn’t for your generosity of spirit & willingness to see a much more equal landscape with more opportunity for female entrepreneurs this project would never have grown & evolved.

I would also like to thank my family & friends, who are scattered all over the world, but who have all supported me to pursue & finish this project. Your love & encouragement has sustained me. Pemo Theodore

Foreword
Fred Destin, Partner Atlas Venture “Simply put, every time I work with a woman, be it an entrepreneur or a VC, I love it. Although you would think that in a world of constant change, lateral thinking, teamwork and creativity would be well suited to the female gender, the trouble remains, dear female maverick, that there are way too few of you around. Pemo Theodore takes the smart approach: to rise above the platitudes that generally characterize the gender diversity debate, she goes into the trenches: interview after interview of many of the thought leaders of our industry, she explores each facet of what it's like to be a woman building a company. What emerges from these great vignettes is a fascinating picture not only of why fewer women are getting funded and how that's changing, but more importantly for me, of what it's like to be a female entrepreneur in all its glory and complexity. I watched video after video and felt excited and uplifted by the awesome stories being told. I hope you will too, and feel compelled to join the growing ranks of women entrepreneurs. Oh, and please come pitch me... Onward ! “

Penny Herscher, CEO First Rain “While the facts are that only 3-5% of venture capital goes to female entrepreneurs there is simply no good reason for this to be the case. Women are as strong and smart as men, and often have the advantages of better management skills and stronger team building ability. But today's venture world is dominated by men looking for the classical male style of leadership and until that changes women need to adapt to the current rules of the game, get funded and win so they can change the game. It take confidence, courage and authenticity and a healthy dose of advice and encouragement. This wonderful collection of advice, shared experience and often humorous stories will be an inspiration to any female entrepreneur. Pemo interviews across the spectrum: VCs, entrepreneurs, those who have succeeded, some that have failed, all that have learned and share their experience with you. It's a terrific resource if you are raising money from venture capital, plan to do so for your next brilliant idea or are a VC yourself wanting to unlock higher quality deals by tapping into the female advantage.”

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld “Do you want to own the future? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to back the most innovative, groundbreaking, transformative ventures? Do you want to make bucketloads of money? Then you HAVE to read this book. Pemo Theodore's extremely thorough, thoughtful, insightful, balanced and crowdsourced research into why women get funded less than men demonstrates why so many investors are shooting themselves in the foot when, as Ernst & Young have publicly stated, 'Women entrepreneurs are a failsafe investment.' Read this book; change your attitude, mindset and behavior; make an active decision to move out of your comfort zone whether you are an investor in whose world the default setting is always male, or whether you are a female entrepreneur going after funding in that world; and you could be the one benefiting from, or becoming one of, the female tech billionaires of the future.”

Sharon Vosmek, CEO Astia “The importance of women’s role in fueling innovation and economic growth is proven. Specifically within high-growth entrepreneurship, the benefits of women's participation are substantial. Research indicates that if women had the same access to capital as their male counterparts we would see 6 million new jobs created within five years – 2 million of them in year one alone. This is our economic recovery we all seek. What Pemo Theodore has done in her powerful video book is capture for us all to see, the individual journey of the female entrepreneur. Through this unscripted lens Pemo has translated the opportunity at hand for the economy, innovation, and society. Pemo's book is both timely and timeless. Brava!”

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

The Unequal Landscape

Infographic: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/the-rise-of-women-ownedbusinesses-infographic-jason-del-rey

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

The Unequal Landscape
This book, as with the video interview project from which it arises is an attempt to bring human faces & voices to the issue of the lack of female entrepreneurs that are successful raising venture or angel capital & also the lack of women venture capitalists & angel investors in comparison with men. There are a few organizations that have done some research & provided data which is the backdrop some of which I have included below. Unfortunately most investment firms do have data about the percentages of female founders or females on founding teams who pitch for capital, whether successful or not. The financial industry was created by men and it has been revealed over the last few years that they didn't do such a great job with that. Women still are not generally paid as high as men. Despite growth the average revenues of the majority of women owned businesses were still only 27% of the average of majority men-owned businesses. “Even as women-owned firms continue to grow at rates exceeding the national average – they are not moving along the growth continuum. In terms of both revenue and employment, the share of womenowned firms at higher levels of business accomplishment (specifically those with 100 or more employees or $1 million or more in revenues) has remained essentially unchanged over the past 14 years. This situation is much the same for men-owned firms. “ http://media.nucleus.naprojects.com/pdf/WomanReport_EcomomicClout.pdf

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

The Unequal Landscape
I recently collaborated with the female founder of Piktochart to create this infographic about Investing in Women.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

The Unequal Landscape
The statistics for women entrepreneurs achieving funding are very low: 3 to 5% get venture funded, less than 10% even if you expand that to include the entire team & any of the co founders. Data shows that the percentage of dollars going into women led companies have actually declined by about 30% over the last 10 years. http://www.illuminate.com/whitepaper/ In 2010 women angels represented 13% of the angel market. Women-owned ventures accounted for 21% of the entrepreneurs that are seeking angel capital and 13% of these women entrepreneurs received angel investment in 2010. Both the number of women seeking angel capital and the percentage that receives angel investments are low compared to the overall market. These data indicate that when women do seek angel capital they lag behind the market yield rate by 5%. Center for Venture Research (CVR) http://wsbe.unh.edu/cvr "The venture capital industry is among the last bastions of male dominance in the business world," says Carl J. Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, noting that the current picture for women venture capitalists is similar to that for female attorneys in 1985, when women made up only 13 percent of the legal profession, compared to nearly 30 percent today. "This study underscores the importance of women entrepreneurs to our nation's economy and is a critical first step in understanding the reasons for the tremendous capital gap." Study referred to http://www.scribd.com/doc/13619264/Gatekeepers-of-Venture-Growth-The-Role-and-Participationof-Women-in-the-Venture-Capital-Industry According to the study, having more women venture capitalists would mean: • • • • • increased opportunities for direct network connections between venture capitalists and women entrepreneurs a greater number of proposals brought to the partnership by women entrepreneurs less chance that firms would miss out on investing in promising ventures led by women more opportunities for women-led ventures to access capital and build wealth a more powerful voice for women in the entrepreneurial progress of our country

http://www.kauffman.org/research-and-policy/gatekeepers-of-venture-growth.aspx

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

The Unequal Landscape
My Story
I spent 5 years in London trying to raise funding for my online matchmaking business & in the end had to admit failure. My story is only one of many. Very early on in that journey I had committed to help women source venture when I was successful. As it turned out I have been doing just that for the last year, not because I was successful but because I failed. Possibly if I had been successful I would never have had the time to accomplish a project like this. I have been video interviewing venture capitalists, angel investors & women founders on the shortfall in funding for women. My goal has been to listen to as many people as I could from both sides of the table, so I could hopefully determine where all these conversations intersected. @pemo

Pemo Theodore All videos transcribed in this ebook can be viewed in their entirety as video interviews on youtube & EZebis

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Is there Overt Discrimination?
“I have an idea that the phrase "weaker sex" was coined by some woman to disarm some man she was preparing to overwhelm.” Ogden Nash Catharine Merigold, General Partner Vista Ventures talks about how differences equals more risk for venture capitalists, not overt discrimination. “I want to start with the basic precept about human behavior. Humans when they need to make a decision that is about the future, that has some risk to it, in general, subconsciously whatever they go to things that are more known to them. This is why in the beginning it was harder for women to get promotions for women doctors. When you have to make a decision if there was something different about the person that seemed a bit unknown to you, you didn’t know necessarily how they would react in a certain situation. People go to their comfort zone. This is not necessarily about discrimination. It’s just an inherent thing that we do. Somehow someone that’s like us, we believe we know how they may act or it just feels less risky. So I think that’s part of what goes on." “Again I don't think its overt discrimination, I think that they're trying to make decisions about the future & there's a risk profile in there.”

"Now when you talk about vcs funding, you’re not only talking about them taking risk but they’re investing other people’s money & they’re starting a long term relationship & they have a responsibility. Again I don’t think its overt discrimination, I think that they’re trying to make decisions about the future & there’s a risk profile in there."
Cydni Tetro, Founder Women Tech Council speaks about being careful about brand & not speaking about bias issues. "At the end of the day you’re building this story about your career, your brand & who you are & you want it all positive. So you’re very, very careful about how you talk about things, about how you position those. I think it comes because what you don’t want is any back lash on you from creating any negative stories, which those are generally perceived as. So you just play the game of saying in general that hasn’t been my experience. By & large in general my experience hasn’t been that either. I haven’t ever really felt like my career has really been limited by being a female. I’ve had point experiences where you say that shouldn’t have happened or that’s really frustrating but it really doesn’t define my career."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Is there Overt Discrimination?

Indu Navar, Founder Serus Corporation speaks about her lack of awareness of gender when she is pitching her company.

"You know I really don’t see myself as a female or male when I’m out there pitching my company, my ideas or what I want to do. Really that thought does not come into my head. So I guess not thinking about it or not worrying about it is one of the first things you’ve got to do."

Jason Mendelson , CoFounder Foundry Group speaks about the old boy legacy network in the venture capital industry & bias towards women & others. "I do think there is still some ‘old boy’ legacy network in the vc world. You & I have spoken before about this. On a generous day, I like 50% of the venture capitalists that I know & that other half, I think what frustrates me is some of that ‘old boy’ network. I can see situations that I think are ugly. We spoke about Claire Cain Miller’s article ‘Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley’ about some horror stories she had found. I completely believe those happened. The old white guy who is assuming that a woman is going to start a company, raise money & then immediately get pregnant & leave & not be engaged with the company, I think is total BS. Because there are plenty of stories out there about women who have had children whilst with company & taken a small amount of time off obviously but have come back as engaged as they ever were. So I don’t believe that at all, but there is going to be some perception there. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that it’s not just against women, it’s against the younger class. I think there is a lot of the old boy network who are uncomfortable dealing with 20 something entrepreneurs or first time entrepreneurs. It’s not just women, it could be different races, different classes. To sit around & think you can fund 40 or 50 year old white guys, I think that’s a stupid business model & you’re doomed to fail as a venture capitalist."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Is there Overt Discrimination?

Cindy Padnos, Founder Illuminate Ventures talks about the stats & data on women achieving angel & venture capital. "That data exists at the Angel Capital level so the interesting thing is that today the amount of women sourcing venture is around 16%. That is up dramatically over the last 5 years. It’s literally tripled from 3 to 4% to today’s level. The data also shows that they are achieving funding at literally roughly those levels so roughly 16% of Angel Capital is now going into women led businesses. Now let’s look at that from the venture perspective. We don’t have the data, I don’t think it exists simply, as to what percentage of each gender is seeking capital. I think it would be extremely difficult to gather that data. What we do know is what percentage are achieving capital. If you look at that percentage it is quite small 3 to 5% are achieving, even if you expand that to include the entire team & any of the cofounders, I believe that it is still less than 10%. So there is something happening there, there's a disconnect between those who are achieving Angel Capital & those who are achieving venture funding. It might be off by as much as 50% according to these numbers or maybe even higher. So it doesn’t make sense to me that the pool of women entrepreneurs who are venture ready or what I call venture backable, meaning they have the right education, they have the right skills & experience & they have the desire. But that pool is very clearly growing dramatically & yet the data shows that the dollars going into women led companies have actually declined by about 30% over the last 10 years. I can’t explain it."

Demian Entrekin, Founder Innotas talks about his belief that there is no gender bias & the issues are about a female entrepreneur's business skills. "I think that the discrepancy with men versus women is a historical fact that doesn’t need to be discussed. In some businesses more than others, perhaps in some sectors more than others. In fact I was reading an article recently about there was a fair number of women in sort of bio/life science whereas in IT it’s a pretty small number. So that’s the historical fact but I think that if a woman is going to pitch & raise money & try & build a business, the issue is really just about their business skills. I think it’s really all that matters! So if a person knows how to sell, if a person knows how to build a product, if a person knows how to manage finance, if a person knows how to create a vision, if a person knows how to inspire other people, if a person knows how to get people to come together & solve really hard problems? Those are the skills that matter, those are going to come through, if you have them or not. In my experience with women in business & men in business is that gender really doesn’t seem to be a part of the puzzle. What matters is can they solve those problems? Can they perform those complicated duties?"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Is there Overt Discrimination?

Trae Vassallo, Partner Kleiner Perkins suggests that the reason there are lower numbers of female entrepreneurs is because we need to increase the number of women in technology & science from a young age. "The number of women in the portfolio is low. I would say I don’t think it’s because women get funded at a lesser rate than men. I think the problem is the funnel & the funnel starts earlier! We need more women studying engineering & science who then go work in startup companies, who then get inspired to go start companies. So again I don’t think its something structurally about women getting venture. I think it’s just that we don’t have enough technical women out there who want to go start companies." Eve Phillips, Co-Founder Empower Interactive Inc says that gender does matter & it is important for people to recognize their biases rather than saying they have no bias. The reality is that the numbers are smaller for female entrepreneurs. "Gender does matter! Nobody is coming in & saying that it doesn’t matter & that it doesn’t impact the person that you are. What is actually much more important is that people kind of recognizing their biases or recognize that they might have them. So whatever gender you are, whatever side of the table, by just saying it doesn’t matter, I think you’re sweeping a problem with which all these numbers say there’s something going on here, something’s got to exist? So the better thing I think is to say ‘Am I treating this person differently? Are there things going on in my head as I interact in this conversation that might be impacting my perception of them? This stuff doesn’t change overnight but that would be the methodology that has been successful in other areas of life."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Does Bias keep Women Disadvantaged for Investment?
“Being a woman is of special interest only to aspiring male transsexuals. To actual women, it is simply a good excuse not to play football.” Fran Lebowitz Cydni Tetro, Founder Women Tech Council speaks about bias for female entrepreneurs & her experiences of being ignored in meetings. "There are those stories out there, there are definitely biases that happen & it’s a tragedy but it does. Just an interesting point when I was thinking through this question. One of my friends actually ran a study on a business plan from a University. He created the exact same business plan & one of the business plans he put a male name & on the other a female name. Then he sent it out for funding. The plan that had the name of a man on it got funded 80% more than the female plan. I’ve been in a number of meetings where you could clearly tell, that even if a question got answered, that I was the one that asked, that I was the one that was going to answer, that eye contact didn’t come to me, because I’m the female in the room. I’ve had those experiences. To me it’s not a big deal but there have definitely been meetings that you sit in & you’re like wait that’s not supposed to happen? You’re supposed to have the conversation with me!" Fred Destin, Partner Atlas Venture suggests that women need to recognize that the industry is not woman friendly. He also mentions the difference for women in their self awareness & that they deal with rejection in ways that are different from men. "I think you have to be realistic, you have to recognize the fact that the market is not that woman friendly & there are people that are going to question some of your skills. So one of the things that women are blessed with more than men & I guess is both a blessing & a curse, is self awareness. In fact when a guy gets told no after a funding meeting, he’ll probably say ‘Screw you, I’ll go & demonstrate that I can build it!’ Whereas when a woman is being told no, she’ll probably go home & say ‘What did I do wrong? What is fundamentally inappropriate about my behavior, who I am or my idea? And why did this person reject me?’ So there is a tendency to deal with rejection here, that is quite different, where women tend to internalize it & look within themselves as to what they need to change & what’s wrong. Whereas guys will tend to almost be energized by rejection & they’ll want to get into a fight & go prove that they can do it better than you think they can."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Does Bias keep Women Disadvantaged for Investment?

Dr Telle Whitney, CEO Anita Borg Institute speaks about unconscious bias & how that affects everyone. Because there are so few women entrepreneurs it makes this bias more unconscious. She also speaks about the conflict that many successful women face as they want to be successful on their own merits not because of being a woman. So they often deny that there are any problems for women. "I happen to know that most of us have unconscious bias. That we have pictures about what is successful. One of the most insightful findings from our study “Mid Career Technical Women’ is that both men & women saw some of the women bosses as less technical. And that’s just one example of ways that we all see the people around us through our own lenses & you better believe that it’s unconscious. So with venture what they are interested in is success, so if you can paint a picture for them that you will be successful with credible data, there are certainly many venture people, men & women who will invest in you. But because they see so few women, it does mean that there are these unconscious biases where they will often be less open to investing in women. Only because it is less common for them so it doesn’t feel as comfortable." "If you are ambitious & you really want to be successful, if you are successful you want to believe that you’ve succeeded on your own merits. So recognizing that there might be biases in the system, most of us don’t want that to be true. And certainly for me, I have felt that, I want to succeed on my own merits. As I’ve learned more about the research & understood a little more about the playing field, it’s been an eye opening experience for me. It’s this interesting dichotomy that we face once again that if you’re an entrepreneur that this is part of the playing field & that knowledge of this can help you to be successful." Danae Ringelmann, CoFounder Indiegogo speaks about crowd sourcing, the democratization of the internet & how a greater percentage of women raise money on Indiegogo than raise venture capital. "One thing I’m actually quite proud of is that on Indiegogo, women are 5 times more successful on Indiegogo as they are in the venture world. So that’s pretty shocking, I think about 8% of venture backed companies are run or cofounded by women. And on Indiegogo 41% of successful campaigns are run by women. So I think that just speaks to the democratization of the internet & of Indiegogo & what platform we’ve created where we literally give anybody the same tools to succeed. And it’s up to them to work hard & raise money but I think women are just as competent. Our platform is proving that having great ideas & raising the money from the people that care the most about those ideas."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Are there Advantages of Diversity?
“I would rather trust a woman's instinct than a man's reason.” Stanley Baldwin Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO Pipeline Fund speaks about diversity in startups, reflecting the potential market! Startups can have their own focus group then to tap into the trends in the market. "In terms of the importance of gender diversity or any sort of diversity in a startup, the same as within a company, the actual team can reflect the potential market. What is at least for me, super interesting in having a team that reflects the market is that one can get closer to the potential of current consumer use of one’s product or one’s service. Because then in some ways it’s an internal focus group that one can have. One is actually closer to whatever trends or whatever else is happening in the market." Fred Destin, Partner Atlas Venture speaks about how successful businesses thrive with diversity. The only certainty is the lack of certainty! He is amazed that more companies don't leverage having more women. "Let’s take Paypal for an example. There’s a good body of evidence that Paypal became such a fabulous company because it had a lot of diversity. Diversity in the sense of sometimes complex talent with people coming from very different walks of life. So Elon Musk who went on to create the electric car company, Tesla, well the rest of the team had highly varied background. There’s a recognition that a richness comes from diversity. You really need, especially in the age we live in, where there’s a lot of lateral thinking that happens between biology, chemistry, IT etc, you need a lot of lateral thinking, you need different ways of doing things! The only certainty is the lack of certainty, in other words we live in a world of continuous change! And diversity is the best response you can have to that! So I would just consider that have female people in your company, having women you can work along with is a strong factor of diversity. And I’m just amazed that more people don’t leverage that more!" Cindy Padnos, Founder Illuminate Ventures speaks about research stats on diversity in startups. "The data we’ve seen is very compelling to show that teams that are made up of diversity & gender outperform. They have more innovation, they have creative ways of doing things, and they learn from one another & leverage that. And so we are enthusiastic about that, but we don’t exclude an opportunity for that reason at all."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Are there differences between Men & Women?
“Women are wiser than men because they know less and understand more.” James Thurber Jeff Clavier, Founder SoftTech VC speaks about potential differences between men & women. “How can they deal with the issue of spending more time at work, dealing with families, kids & everything?’ To be honest I am just in awe & always have deep respect for people like my wife who essentially deal with their careers & their kids & everything else they do. You look at that & you go ‘I’m not sure how you do it but I love you for that!’ And so the issue is how can you spend all those hours leading the companies & so forth? What I have seen with the women who are in the portfolio & have kids & everything is that they have found a way to work smart, very hard but work smart more than hard. Whereas guys tend to work hard but sometimes not smart. They use brute force & spend a ton of time, instead of working out how they can optimize. Women by definition will have to optimize if they want to balance everything.” Alison Davis, CEO Fifth Era Financial suspects that men’s & women’s brains are different & that reflects our different attitudes & behavior. "There’s a lot of research to support that. Women don't like to ask for increase in salaries. One of the reasons that women are paid less than men, is that women are reluctant to go ask for it. That's a common theme. I don’t know whether you’ve read those books The Female Brain and The Male Brain . They’re excellent books by a Harvard Medical School Professor who is now at UCSF. They’re worth reading & provide a bit of perspective on the female brain & how it has evolved through adulthood. The chemicals that are flooding women’s brains versus men’s brains. I think for men, the accumulation of power & resources, it's something that comes much more naturally to them. If you're a man with power, money & resources then you're able to protect your family & your clan & keep your community safe. Whereas women are just geared very differently & our brain chemistry is from birth onwards more about community & nurturing & relationships. You do find that women can go & ask for money if it's not about them. You should go & ask for that bonus & that increase because it's about fairness & also you have your family to look after. If you get a bigger bonus you can write a bigger check for the non-profits you care about or help more people with it. I think women can get their minds around asking for money when they can come to terms with the message that seems right to them."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Are there differences between Men & Women?
Mark Suster, Partner GRP Partners speaks about general differences between women & men. Women tend to be bridge builders, more organized. Healthy dose of both is best. “Men tend to be confrontational, they tend to be bull headed, they tend to want to fight, and they tend to want to one up each other in terms of knowledge & contests. And women seem to be more bridge builders & finding common solutions I think a healthy dose of both is very good.”

Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner Future Perfect Ventures, talks about how women are different from men & can be more conservative in their business plans. She suggests that if male venture capitalists were more aware of these differences it would support more females in being funded. "I think there needs to be a realization that men & women are different. There has been a lot of press recently & I have to say that my own experience verifies that women are more conservative a lot of times when putting together business plans. In my experience they often weigh the risks a lot more & so there’ll be more downside scenarios in their plans sometimes. Or they don’t want to overcommit and vcs are used to seeing things through a certain lens in terms plans & doing their standard haircuts of the plans. So I think there just needs to be more an understanding (& again you don’t want to overgeneralize) but there is some reality behind these real differences. Recognition of what those differences are so that it doesn’t negatively impact them when they are out there looking for venture." Randy Komisar, Partner Kleiner Perkins speaks about general strengths of women whereas men may treat business as a game. Women can be as competitive & capable & often think holistically. “The women I work with in business tend to be more purposeful in the way they approach business. Where we are here to make some gross generalities, I think that it is not an uncommon trait amongst men to treat business as a game, to think about it as buying low & selling high, to think about winning & losing. Whereas the women entrepreneurs I work with, are as competitive & as capable as any of the men, but often think much more holistically about what they are doing, why they are doing it & how that impacts others, not just their customers & employees but their communities. And so I think that women bring a holistic sensibility to business that business sorely needs. As we’ve just seen in the last big downturn where corners were cut & gambits were hatched that sunk an entire economy, a global economy. I don’t think that’s what I’d expect from women leaders in similar roles.” Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Are there differences between Men & Women?
Dimple Sahni, Fund Principal Hattery speaks about the differences in men & women who pitch to venture capitalists. “In terms of preparation I feel like that the women are very well prepared. It's their delivery which is what set's them back. They're not confident in speaking. They're aren't looking to play on their strengths or talk about their successes. They're quite humble in their approach. Men I meet are oozing with confidence but they often lack preparation. They like to shoot from the hip & when I ask detailed questions, they stick to their bigger picture answers. Those are the major differences I see & it's just a question of volume as well. I see 95% of business plans from men, 5% from women.”

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Should we Generalize about Gender?
“I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb ... and I also know that I'm not blonde.” Dolly Parton

Brad Feld, Managing Director Foundry Group: Brad speaks about anecdotal generalizations rather than data driven conclusions. If you build off pure anecdotes then you just reinforce the bad ones. Gender bias is not a productive thing & women have equal stature & impact as men do. "One of the things that I’ve really struggled with, in the context of the research we’ve done with NCWIT, is that an awful lot of assertions around women in technology & women in computer science & entrepreneurial women are anecdotal generalizations rather than data driven conclusions. I actually think in any socio-economic gender functional dynamic if you’re building off pure anecdotes you can get into some trouble. I think the anecdotes that you build on top of other anecdotes just reinforce the bad ones. This is one of those places; I think that most reasonably well educated, somewhat enlightened humans recognize that gender bias is not a productive thing. That women, for example in the economy, in business & the world have equal stature & equal impact as men do. Whether or not there’s an actual understanding of that put into practice of that by the venture capital community, I have no idea to respond to that as a generalization. I would tell you that people who are focused on or negatively biased towards a particular gender, specifically in the context of technology being male gender biased, those people are fools! It’s not helpful, it doesn’t add anything!"

Demian Entrekin, Founder Innotas: Demian notes that it is not

good to generalize about women & men's strengths & weaknesses. He advises not to go there! But the historical facts of the small numbers of female entrepreneurs still exist.
"Women do better in collaborative environments? I think once you open the door by saying that women do better at x, you’re in trouble. Because it suggests that now maybe there are areas which they don’t do as well. See now you’ve opened this door for all of these generalizations. Oh so if women are good at collaborative environments then men aren’t, well that’s not true. Or if women are good in collaborative environments, they’re not good in hierarchical environments, well that’s clearly not true. And then it also opens the question if women are better at this, then men are better at that. So I think that’s a real danger zone & I guess I would avoid that path completely. But the empirical fact is still in front of us right, 2% of women in IT, running IT. So what’s that about, why? I really don’t know."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

How does the Female Market Impact Investment?
“I hate women because they always know where things are.” Voltaire

Patricia Nakache, General Partner Trinity Ventures likes to invest in startups target the female market. "I’ve been spending a lot of time on over the last couple of years is what I call the Woman’s Web. So leveraging the fact that women now spend much more time on social networks than men, are spending more time online. In fact in terms of socio economic activity, the web is starting to reflect the real world offline."

Shaherose Chairania, CEO Women2.0 believes the only difference between male & female entrepreneurs is that they target different markets. "The only difference that I would make note of is the problems that women want to solve with their startups. So they tackle markets that they’re familiar with or that they have a better resonance with."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

How does the Female Market Impact Investment?

Chris Dixon, CoFounder Founder’s Collective believes that the venture industry is slow moving but that half of the market is female. "I hope, as I mentioned before, it's a legacy of a bygone era & ironically it's a very, very slow moving industry. It's ironic (I don't know if it's really ironic) but they are all about changing the world & investing in change but because of the structures of these funds, it just takes so long. So what happens is that these partnerships, they'll raise a fund. If you look at the average returns of the industry as a whole, they're basically zero for the last decade. Which means that they're really making all their money on these management fees which basically the disproportionate amount goes to partner's salaries. So there's a real financial incentive to just hunker down & just not promote new people to be partners. By the way I think it’s not just some kind of societal import for gender equality & all these things, I think they would be better investors. Because half the market is women & a lot of investments are going to target women. Women investors are probably better at understanding a lot of those things. If I had my own vc firm today & could pick anyone to run it, no doubt I would have a couple of them being women just for financial reasons."

Cindy Gallop, Founder IfWeRanTheWorld speaks about the potential of the female market & the positive qualities that women entrepreneurs bring to the table in business. "Many, many people are realizing that as Paco Underhill said recently to Ad Age ‘If you want business success then you have to find mass acceptance with women.’ More & more people are realizing what powerful economic force women are as purchasers. Also the things that women bring to the table in terms of business & different approaches & perspectives on business are increasingly valuable & increasingly valued. Because feminine qualities exist on their own, just as masculine qualities exist on their own & they have a value whether they are found in men or women. So I absolutely believe that the future will bring much more receptive conditions & much more opportunity for female entrepreneurs."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

How does the Female Market Impact Investment?
Guy Kawasaki , Founder Alltop & author Enchantment speaks about the value of women in the market & encourages focus on women. He also speaks about his theory about the difference between men & women. "I believe that if you get a woman to buy your product, you can always get a man. A man is much easier. So if you can get a man, it’s no big deal. It’s not any predictor of your success with women. So what you should focus on is getting women because women are the harder test. Because women are smarter! I have another theory, not exactly perhaps scientifically confirmed. I believe that men have a predisposition to want to kill things. So men want to kill other people. They want to kill plants. They want to kill animals. They want to kill. They just have a predisposition to conquer. Yes that’s in their hunter gatherer DNA, ok? By contrast women do not have this need to kill things. They’re nurturers. They’re mothers. So if you show a man anything & you say to the man, this is a way to kill Apple, to kill Microsoft, to kill Virgin America, to kill whatever, to kill the competition, almost every time the man will say ‘Yes it’s a good idea!’ Because men like to kill things! You show the same idea to a woman, a woman doesn’t have that predisposition to want to kill things, you get a much sounder judgment. Therefore, my theory is when you have a product or service & you want to see if it would be successful, you should always ask women. But not waste your time asking men! That’s my theory! I am a champion of women! I have a very strong wife & a very strong daughter."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

FOCUS ON WOMEN
Female Entrepreneurs
Lisa Stone, CEO Blogher suggests that many female entrepreneurs desire to create startups "I love what Cindy Gallop said. She said ‘Women burn with the same intense desire to be entrepreneurs as men do!’ I find that’s totally true. My email’s filled with women who want to do something every week."

Victoria Ransom, CoFounder Widfire App suggests qualities that female entrepreneurs need to raise venture capital . "So some of the things I would say that you probably really need to have are (I probably didn’t need to have in this scenario). But things like perseverance & having a thick skin, I think are probably really important for a lot of people who are raising money. If you’re not in a situation where the vc firms are reaching out to you & you’re trying to get in front of them then persevering & persevering & persevering. And not taking it personally when you do get rejected, I’m sure are very, very important. I think negotiation skills are important. When you get to that point of having a term sheet & choosing who you’re going to work with, I think it’s pretty important because it can get fairly intense. Then being really articulate, being a good sales person, telling a story, so you’ve got to be convincing & be able to get the investors really excited about your vision & about your story, so being able to articulate that really well."

Emily Olson, CoFounder Foodzie identifies the qualities that are necessary to be an entrepreneur. "They like to see that you can build something pretty quickly. That you have a well rounded team who can do a lot with that little team. Passion about that idea & I think that passion is a really important part to be able to get through. There’s a lot of ups & downs & there’s a lot of times when you sort of uncertain but if you’re passionate about the why (why you got into it in the first place) you’re able to get through a lot of those rough times. I think when you’re raising capital, they know that you’re trying to build a big business & there’s a lot to figure out! So those are just some of the core things as an entrepreneur." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

FOCUS ON WOMEN
Female Entrepreneurs
Jeff Clavier, Founder SoftTech VC speaks about general strengths that women founders bring to startups. "I think they pay attention to the social, the personal side of things a bit more. They tend to communicate well, essentially everything that a woman brings to a management team or a founding team so you find the way they build a culture."

Jane Wurwand, Founder FITE & Dermalogica speaks about what good credit risks women are. Kiva generally well over 83% of their micro loans to women & they have a 99.9% payback history. She also speaks about women in talent pool, 70% Dermalogica Corporate are women. Women contribute a balanced approach to business. "It's also a misperception because women actually are very good loan risks. We pay back loans. Kiva generally lend well over 83% of their microloans to women & they have a close to 99% repayment rate. So it's a myth that women are bad credit risks." "As far as operating & owning a business, the benchmark for me about having women included, why is it excluded? It doesn’t make sense to exclude about 50% of your talent pool in any business, in any country or on any planet if you own a company. I’m a company employer of 1,600 people & I would say about 70% of the workforce at Dermalogica Corporate are women. But in any regard it doesn’t make sense to exclude 50% of the talent pool which is what women are on the planet. And to have women included at a conversation around the table as well as men, you have a much more balanced approach to business. It’s critically important."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

FOCUS ON WOMEN
Female Entrepreneurs
Adeo Ressi , Founding Member TheFunded & The Founders Institute, speaks about the challenges for female entrepreneurs & the advantages that they have. "If something’s too hard it becomes impossible whereas if something is hard enough, it makes you better for going through it. I think female entrepreneurs definitely face an environment that is on the border of almost too hard but hard enough that it makes you stronger. There are some advantages to being a female entrepreneur that haven’t been discussed. There are many disadvantages for sure, but there are some advantages. For the most part the females that I’ve dealt with in startups have stronger, innate management ability. They also have female specific networks that they can tap into, such as GirlsinTech or Astia & many others that certainly don’t exist for men. The females who are in funding positions are good targets to talk to about funding opportunities. There are definitely advantages to being a woman in technology but I would say that it’s quite hard."

Vivek Wadhwa, Senior Research Associate Harvard Law School speaks about advantages of women & how they can be disadvantages in tech world. "Women have a lot of advantages. They're are a lot more sensible than men are. They are a lot more caring than men often are. They lack the arrogance. They're down to earth. And those are big advantages. Now the same advantages in the tech world can be disadvantages because if you look at the stereotypical person that vcs & Silicon Valley fund it's a Stanford dropout."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

FOCUS ON WOMEN
Female Entrepreneurs
Beth Seidenberg, Partner Kleiner Perkins Beth speaks about the benefits of being a woman being more comfortable with feelings. They can feel situations along with think them. This can be very powerful for women. Women may not be assertive & ask for what we want. "Women have different characteristics that are good & bad in general right. There’s definitely a lot that’s carried on the xx chromosomes that’s a good thing, I think. So one of the things that we get with the xx chromosome is that many women are more comfortable with the emotional side of things & are able to feel situations as much as they can think them. Being able to feel situations often times makes you a really good leader because you have that emotional connection to your project & to your venture capitalist & to your team, your company. I think that’s an element that can be really powerful for a woman. You mentioned that sometimes women are not as assertive & they may not ask for what they want? Men are really comfortable, this is just in general. And I find even in myself & other women, that we tend to be tentative. We tend to wait for somebody to ask us or we tend not to be as bold in what we ask for. Be bold, ask for what you want, ask the hard question. If you don’t, you’re not going to get what you ultimately desire."

Ann Miura-Ko, Partner Floodgate encourages women to become entrepreneurs if they feel the calling & don't hold off back. "I think that they just need to play the game! I truly believe that every woman that believes that they could be an entrepreneur, they can be! Especially when you’re young, you need to play that game. If you believe, even for the slightest bit, that you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to do it! You need to do it in that moment! You can’t hold off for a better time. You can’t hold off for a moment when things are more stable or you have a little bit more experience. You have to do it then!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

FOCUS ON WOMEN
Female Entrepreneurs
Jason Mendelson, CoFounder Foundry Group speaks about being self aware both as a venture capitalist & female entrepreneurs. He also talks about how Foundry Group has a female executive coach to assist them in dealing with issues. "It’s being self aware, being honest & transparent about what you’re doing. If I could make any generalization, I would tell you that the women entrepreneurs that I have worked with tend to be a little more self aware than some of the men. If you look at the typical Hollywood casting couch CEO who’s beating his chest & leading the troops into battle & all that, a lot of these folks they may be amazing leaders but they’ve got no clue on a self aware factor of the externalities that are happening due to their behavior. One of the things we do here at Foundry Group is we work with an Executive Coach twice a year. We get together with her, she’s a woman, we talk about all the things that are going on with our business & interpersonal stuff & so we spend a lot of time training ourselves about how to be aware & how to deal with conflict & how to deal with different personalities. And I think the fact that we chose a woman as the person we look up to to help guide us, I think that helps us interact."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Raising Capital
“The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women. If it's educating its girls, if women have equal rights, that country is going to move forward. But if women are oppressed and abused and illiterate, then they're going to fall behind.” Barack Obama, Ladies' Home Journal, Sep. 2008

Victoria Ransom, CoFounder Wildfire App speaks about how helpful it is to raise venture after you prove your success. "A thing that really, really helped us was waiting as long as we could before we raised money so that we had traction. We had a really good story, we had proven success, and we had proven that we could scale a team (even though we were much smaller than we are now in terms of team). We brought in revenues; we’d proven we had customers so I think possibly, to the extent that some vcs have concerns about women entrepreneurs, maybe if you’ve already proven it to them? Maybe if you said Look I’ve already built this company, I have these revenues, I’ve had success. Maybe some of these concerns go away?"

Patricia Nakache, General Partner Trinity Ventures speaks about networking with venture capitalists & entrepreneurs before raising capital. "I think that meeting people in a more informal setting allows you to surface a lot of the objections & understand where an investor might be coming from in their position & be prepared. Frankly it’s good feedback, right? If you’re incorporating in your business what metrics you should be tracking, what investors care about. I think in those informal settings, you may be more likely to get really frank feedback than in that moment of the pitch? Maybe? I’m not saying that it’s always true, but I think that it’s possible that would be the case."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Raising Capital

Penny Herscher, CEO First Rain shares her tips about how to recognize whether a venture capitalist is really engaged when she pitches her business or not. "If I can get them to engage with ME & my ideas with my personality & my experience set then I have a good shot a second meeting getting them to at least really to consider my idea. If they don’t engage with me, if there is no connection, it sort of a distant thing & it’s more of a judgmental discussion, not in a negative way but just as distance & judgment, I’m not going to get a second meeting. Because if the person I’m pitching doesn’t get me, they’re not going to fund me because I’m not the right profile. Are they really looking at you? Are they laughing at your jokes (that’s a classic trigger for me)? Do they ask intelligent questions? Do they challenge my assumptions? Do they really engage in a discussion around substance? Or do they just flip to the spreadsheets & go ‘Well I think your pricing model is wrong.’ or ‘there’s 5 other people doing the same thing, what’s your differentiation? Then it’s a more disconnected discussion.”

Catharine Merigold, General Partner Vista Ventures speaks about how to present yourself as a female entrepreneur to a venture capital. How power is & isn't communicated. "So when women are pitching to venture capitalists or any kind of men, there are subtleties about our verbal behavior, what you wear, how you act. Again venture capitalists are taking a risk, they want somebody that’s confident & a certain amount of power as a leader. And there are subtle cues that convey that or not convey that. There’s some great research. I just went to a seminar last night on Women on Boards. Professor Deborah Gruenfeld at Stanford University is doing some great research on the subtleties on how power is & isn’t communicated. Now how power isn’t communicated is fast movements & touching your face & higher voice & too much stipulation versus more of an open stance, low & slow. Now again you have to be enthusiastic, you have to be yourself but you can choose to be yourself in more powerful ways. Because that’s going to matter!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Raising Capital
Janice Roberts, Managing Director Mayfield Fund speaks about empowering yourself in choosing the right venture capitalist. "First of all I think it’s really important that an entrepreneur really has enough confidence in themselves to believe that they can select the venture capitalist as well, you know. And so I would encourage them to do a lot of research in terms of looking at the type of firm & the type of partner that they believe would be a good match for them. So it might be that you are looking at prior investments in terms of stage or sector. Or indeed people that you’ve been referred to from other entrepreneurs."

Jason Mendelson, CoFounder Foundry Group gives female entrepreneurs tips for pitching to venture capitalists, remain confident! He also encourages women to become engineers & technical which helps entrepreneurs raise funding. "The first thing I would say is that don’t get discouraged by all the noise that is out there. There is a ton of noise, whether it’s from the New York Times, whether it’s from Techcrunch & the whole stuff that’s been going on with Arrington. Don’t believe that everybody is bad & evil & you need a chip on your shoulder because you have less of a chance. You’ve really got a great chance, so go out there be confident, do what you do best! I think the second thing is that we need more women engineers. I think one of the advantages that some men have is that when somebody is walking into a pitch & we only invest in technology & that founder is a technical person, you are by definition going to have a little more confidence that that technical person is going to deliver on what they say they can. It’s a little more tenuous if I’ve got 2 non technical cofounders saying ‘Hey we’re going to build this!’ Obviously it’s too late for a lot of people but if you’re watching this & you’re trying to decide what you want to do when you grow up, I think an Engineering Degree is a huge advantage."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Female Venture Capitalists
“Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” Charlotte Whitton

Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner DBL Investors speaks about the qualities necessary for a female venture capitalist. Make sure you don't drink the Kool Aid! "Patience, curiosity, a thick skin, ability to navigate through very changing often difficult circumstances & keep level headed & keep a team together & be responsive. A lot of times you start off in a business & you have to change because the world changes around you or your original thesis needed a lot of tweaking. So it’s important to be optimistic & use your intuition but also being really, really dedicated to testing & retesting & database query & making sure that you’re not drinking the kool-aid!"

Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner FuturePerfect Venture speaks about how few women are on boards & venture capitalists. She often has to fight harder to get across a female perspective. "I think it’s always interesting to be the only one of anything in a room and there are times when I notice it & times I don’t. But I am most often the only woman on a board and I do think I bring a different perspective, that’s being a woman & being a minority and there’s a whole set of experiences that I bring to the table & everybody brings their own. But there’s not enough of me out there in terms of perspectives. And often having to argue more for that perspective or recognize that I am going to have to sometimes work harder to get others to see that perspective."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Female Venture Capitalists

Rachel Sheinbein, Principal CMEA speaks about the dearth of female venture capitalists & the skills & talents that are required which are not gender biased. "Why is there a dearth of women? Because a lot of what we do is stereotypically a women field such as we’re hiring the CEOs & sometimes dealing with firing which is associated with HR. This is often where women are in a company but for some reason we’re not. And facilitating relationships, that’s a lot of what we do once we invest. Relationships to get into deals. They’re not skills that should be gender biased per se. But what I’ve noticed is especially in Energy Materials, most of the investors in the space have a technical background & technical degree. We know the stats on that, they’re low & as you know I’m on the Board of Expanding your Horizons, a non profit that encourages girls in science, technology, engineering & math. So we are losing girls up front. That program targets 6th & 9th grade & we’re all over the country; about 25,000 girls go a year. But what we’ve seen, for instance Biology PhDs 60% are now being awarded to women is about the numbers that I saw last. Unfortunately Computer Science which goes into the IT field we’ve been coming down. We’re now in the teens again. Electrical Engineering & Chemical Engineering the numbers are even more abysmal. So that starts with this pipeline problem. Then I would say it’s a little bit about the network: people pull from who they know & they pull often former entrepreneurs. Who are those entrepreneurs? They’re men! I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are successful; all of a sudden get 2 or 3 recruiting calls from vcs. If there aren’t women to pull from & to run these companies? Often on our boards we’re pulling former CEOs for independent seats. That’s a pull of men as well. In some degree it’s a matter of awareness & maybe a little bit wanting to seek out that diverse opinion. I think some boards & some leaders are seeing the importance."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Female Venture Capitalists
Cindy Padnos, Founder Illuminate Ventures speaks about the small percentage of female venture capitalists & the advantages of that. "So in an interesting way, because there are not that many of us in venture, roughly 5%, of the partners in high tech venture capital today are women, it creates an interesting camaraderie, it creates an interesting opportunity to reach out to other women in the sector, we aren’t hard to find. I think that's a positive. I don’t have any doubt that there are some things we miss out on, not being on the basketball court together, not going to other activities, and not going to poker. It’s not that I’m not invited; it’s just that poker isn’t my favorite thing to do or cigar smoking. I have no doubt there are some things along the way that we’re not connected in but we are in other ways. I also believe most of the investors I work with & sit on boards with see a value add to having someone with a slightly different perspective on the board with them. The data we collected on this topic a year ago is very interesting because it literally showed that smaller, newer firms, those with under $250million under management had twice the percentage of women partners as those that were the largest firms. Now that sounds really exciting until you look hard at that & see that those firms only have 2 to 5 partners versus the firms that may have 5 to 15 team partners so while it’s great that that is happening it’s a slow process of building the sheer numbers, building the actual ratio. Because one partner suddenly means you are at 50%."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Advantages of Being a Female Entrepreneur
“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.” Lady Gaga

Jeff Bussgang, Partner Flybridge Capital Partners speaks about how women entrepreneurs stand out & their advantages. "I’m not sure that today women startups aren’t actually advantaged frankly. Because I think they stand out & I think there’s a lean forward on the part of many vcs to effect change, to be more helpful, to give on the margin more time to women entrepreneurs. I think that a small proportion of vcs that are women are leaning forward trying to be more helpful to women entrepreneurs. So I think in many ways there are opportunities for more women entrepreneurs that may not have been available 10 or 20 years ago where they can find champions more readily."

Julia Hu, CoFounder Lark speaks about the advantages of being a female entrepreneur. Leverage the hell out of your womanhood! "Sometimes I do feel that it’s very obvious that I’m a woman & it almost helps me stand out in certain ways! So sometimes it’s a positive. Yeah being a woman. I think women bring a lot of different skill sets. I think while most of the venture partners that I talk to are men, you can express your core assets as a woman. I just have to say I remember back in the day before I started raising venture I had this fabulous woman advisor, Mara Fitzgerald who was a PR firm founder. She would just say ‘Julia you’ve just got to leverage the hell out of your womanhood!’ It was so funny. I was kind of in shock. Not to say that we have to do anything out of the ordinary. Just recognize your own strengths. Recognize that you are given this opportunity to stand out & that you have a very different core set of assets & to use that not in any demeaning type of way. Just be confident!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

What do Female Entrepreneurs have Going for Them?
“The people I'm furious with are the women's liberationists. They keep getting up on soapboxes and proclaiming women are brighter than men. That's true, but it should be kept quiet or it ruins the whole racket.” Anita Loos, New York Times, 10 February 1974

Julia Hu, CoFounder Lark speaks about being a CEO & offering stability to the team. "You really need to be disciplined & even keeled in your internal perspective as well. I feel like entrepreneurship is a ton of fun. It's also a ton of work & a ton of troubles. t’s very intense. It’s an emotional roller coaster more than anything else. I would say as a female, to be able to smooth that roller coaster out & to create a stability that will be core for you to continue forward. And for your team to feel that stability. I think it’s the CEO’s responsibility to create an atmosphere of extreme, continual stability for the team & protection from the outside world that is the roller coaster."

Jeff Bussgang, Partner Flybridge Capital Partners speaks about the positive qualities of women entrepreneurs & their leadership abilities. "I would say that in general women entrepreneurs tend to be more team oriented, less egotistical….they have low ego & therefore open to bringing in new leadership at the right time."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

What do Female Entrepreneurs have Going for Them?
Margit Wennmachers, Partner Andreessen Horowitz talks about the gender gap & the positive qualities that women entrepreneurs have & how they support each other. "Well, the gender gap…I think if women are given a shot, they tend to work hard. They tend to be very team focused. They tend to be pretty good communicators. They tend to be very team oriented. They tend to have a lot of collective female burden on their shoulders. So I think once they’re given a shot, they tend to do really, really well. I think as a group, we do really well & then we support each other. We’re going to make within a generation or 2 generations we’re probably going to make a lot of changes."

Janice Roberts, Managing Director Mayfield Fund speaks about the opportunities for female entrepreneurs & venture capitalists. Consumer internet is a strong area where successful women are appearing. She encourages women to build strong team around them. "But we should see more women in this industry & I do think that the opportunities are there. Certainly nobody is saying we don’t want women to start companies, we don’t want women as venture capitalists. I think it’s really getting women to feel the confidence that they can go out & build companies. In certain sectors we’ve seen that, we’ve seen very successful women in the internet sector. But maybe women feel more comfortable with that? So really applying what they know to the internet world. I think that’s a really interesting sector where we see more women. I think we see less women in certain sectors, semi conductors for instance, maybe it’s not an area of interest? But I certainly think we are seeing more women. Women are really grasping what the internet can do & opening up new opportunities, whether its ecommerce, gaming, entertainment, those sorts of sectors. And I would just encourage women to really go out & build a strong team around them because I do think women like to work as part of a team. So I think if you can be part of a great team, you’ll see more women entrepreneurs coming forward."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Being Yourself
“I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.” Roseanne Barr

Guy Kawasaki, Founder Alltop & author Enchantment speaks about scaling a business & being authentic in how you present yourself to a venture capitalist. "At the moment you’re raising venture capital you have to present a picture that without too much hallucination you could be hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s Plan A. Plan B is you start small, you worry about cash flow & lo & behold one day you wake up & hallelujah, you’re the next IBM, Microsoft, Apple or whatever. But it’s not because you got that initial funding. It’s because you got on a rocket & by god it took off! I’ve had women pitch me. I’ll give some advice. First of all don’t think you need to play the role! Some people come & say I have to be a hard ass bitch because men are hard ass. Hard asses succeed so I need to be a hard ass. It doesn’t work! People don’t like hard ass men too! If a hard ass man got funded it’s because he showed the path to make money. So he would have probably succeeded anyway if he wasn’t a hard ass. So it’s very tempting to confuse correlation with causation. So don’t believe that you need to play this bitch role. On the other hand don’t think you need to play the ditsy role either, the hot woman babe whatever. That also is like…..So basically be what you are. I would tell this to a man too & the book says this too, dress as an equal. Don’t dress under, don’t dress over, whatever. I would not play the bitch card. I would not play the ditsy card. I would not play the hot babe card. Play the card that you have a great fricking product! Simple as that!"

Jane Wurwand, Founder FITE & Dermalogica says that women should be themselves, not act like a man. Be Fierce with your own Reality! "One of the biggest myths (& I think it’s changing now with younger women now coming into industry) but one of the greatest myths is that in order for a woman to be successful a woman had to behave more like a man. It’s a complete mistake because in order to be successful you have to be at your most, what I call ‘fierce with your own reality’. You have to be completely authentic to who you are! The minute we start thinking I can be successful if I’m more like this person; you’re already second best because you’re never going to be that person. Oscar Wilde had an expression: ‘Be yourself, because everybody else is taken.’ Your authenticity as a woman is that you are a woman. Make no apologies for it. Take no prisoners for it. Don’t try & behave in a way that is more obviously going to make you successful. Be yourself!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Being Yourself
Fred Destin, Partner Atlas Venture speaks about how the venture world favors a style that is highly directional. It's not natural for women entrepreneurs to do well in that environment because there are unwritten rules of the game. He says ignorance is the starting point which helps people to be more open. The women he has seen do best are the ones that are authentic & themselves. "The venture world probably favors a style of leadership that is highly directional. It depends on how well your Board listens but a bunch of the Boards I’ve been involved with are basically an environment where influence matters a lot. And where people expect you to show extremely strong direction. A lot of times you are basically faced with 4 or 5 white males from Stanford or Harvard, whatever they may be, expecting a lot of direction. So it’s not a natural environment where you if you don’t belong to that world, whether you’re a female or whether you’re Russian or both, where it’s particularly easy to express yourself. Because there are almost unwritten rules of the game as to how you manage these environments. Now I think the good news is that we’re moving towards a world where - look at the work that Brad Feld has done; we’re moving towards a world where there is a lot more acceptance of our own ignorance. And I always posit ignorance as a starting point, in other words I’m not sure it’s going to work but I’m for sure going to measure it. But I don’t know at the outset what the recipe is for success because I don’t think there is one. I think there is a lot more open mindedness that should help. You know female leadership style has more to do with building consensus, with being a leader who’s accepted by skills & ability to take input etc. So maybe this leadership style may be more efficient but not one that people are used to in the venture environment. Of course people fund within their zones of comfort. Because the venture game is so much about long term trust relationships & whether you fall in love with a project, the people running it & whether you know you have the feeling that you’re going to be able to count on them. So anything that is a strong affiliation, whether it’s ‘I recognize myself as younger’; ‘We come from the same university’; whatever it may be, it helps people get over these hurdles. A challenge that the venture industry has to embrace is, which is hey you know there are actually a lot of ideas that are way outside your normal comfort zone that may deliver outsize returns that don’t come from this typical profile. And you know maybe women fit that mold too?? I’ll tell you what I would say, generally speaking, I think when you’re going into entrepreneurship & you’re going to meet entrepreneurs, the women that I’ve seen that do best are women who are absolutely willing to embrace who they are. So there is absolutely no attempt at being tougher than the boys or whatever it may be? In fact you use humility frankly & female characteristics to their full. You’re just not ashamed to be a woman! You’re absolutely are who you are! You’ll dress the way you feel like dressing! That gives you inner confidence to be more yourself in these environments & ultimately if you can’t be yourself & you can’t make it without faking who you are, you’ll never make it! So I think we’ve moved very far away from an environment where it was recommended that women try & fit into a certain mold. I think in the world of entrepreneurship, a Caterina Fake or a Gina Ash or whoever it may be, are very complete personalities. They are very awesome personalities & every instance of successful women entrepreneurs I can think of are people who embraced who they are." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Potential Challenges
“Do I have an option? when asked by the press if she was ‘running as a woman.’ “Patricia Schroeder, former US Representative

Julia Hu, CoFounder Lark speaks about her receptivity with others & how that may come across to males in business. "I think because by my nature as a woman, maybe, I am not as aggressive. Sometimes not that I’m unconfident, but that I like to listen to people’s other alternatives & recognize the validity of those. Sometimes it comes across as if I am not completely sure of one particular direction."

Jeff Bussgang, Partner Flybridge Capital Partners speaks about the need to be aggressive & other qualities that are necessary for entrepreneurs. "What I’ve seen in my work as a venture capitalist here on the east coast in Boston & New York City & I teach part time at Harvard Business School. I have observed again that because they are in the minority, women can be many times more effective at networking. But it takes a certain personality. You have to be aggressive. There are attributes that cut across genders. Aggressive, compelling, credible, knowledgeable, authoritative, passionate. And if you have those qualities as a woman entrepreneur I think you can do a terrific job."

Beth Seidenberg, Partner Kleiner Perkins speaks about selecting friendly environment. Women may tolerate people who are not as friendly to them or who they are. She says it’s ok to select. "A lot of the time, you have to select the environment that is friendly & it may be based on gender friendly but it also maybe based on personality or skill set. But a lot of women, I think as much as we talked about the emotional connection, when it comes to themselves & figuring out who they want to be around, they’re more tolerant of being around people who are not as friendly to them or who they are. It’s ok to select." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Potential Challenges
Patricia Nakache, General Partner Trinity Ventures speaks about the style challenge for a female venture capitalist. "I think some of the challenges are similar to what women face in any profession. There’s a style challenge: how do you be assertive without being perceived as a bitch? How can you be warm without appearing soft hearted? Finding that stylistic sweet spot that everybody is comfortable with & you can appear assertive in a board setting & not have negative repercussions. Then also how do you show warmth without being perceived as too feminine. So I think that that’s true in other professions as well. It’s not unique to venture capital. The other thing, given that networking is super important both for entrepreneurs & venture capitalists, one of the challenges is that some networking venues are more or less comfortable for women. Finding ways to network effectively that are comfortable for you as a woman venture capitalist, I think are important."

Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Samasource speaks about the need for aggressiveness in selling vision & the need for really big vision for entrepreneurs. She also speaks about often not being recognized as CEO for her business because she is a woman. Need to be able to play in a man's world. "I think a big part of it is first of all, women are less aggressive about pitching than men. I think when they do pitch they sell a much smaller vision. VCs want to know that they’re going to make a lot of money out of your enterprise in a short period of time. So a lot of the pitches I’ve seen that my male friends do are extremely aggressive – over the top! I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving them & I think I’m a pretty aggressive person. So I think it really requires that because there’s a discount factor that the vc is going to apply to your model anyway. So I think if you don’t have an incredibly large vision, if you don’t have your sights set on a huge market & really disrupting that market, it’s going to be incredibly hard to interest a venture capital firm. For whatever reason I think that women are by nature more conservative." "It may be uncomfortable sometimes. Occasionally I’ll be at a tech conference & people will ask me to meet the CEO of the company & assume that I’m some hired woman who’s there to hand out brochures. As demeaning as that initially feels, ultimately that’s great. I can get all sorts of information out of somebody who stops by the booth & doesn’t think that I’m the CEO. Is it bad for my business? No! That the people don’t think that I’m the CEO? Not at all! We have to get over some of that as women. We also have to understand that if we’re playing in a man’s world, there are lots of things we can do to play better than men in that world that aren’t about imitating men or acting like them but are about being ourselves & being confident." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Potential Challenges
Cindy Gallop, Founder IfWeRanTheWorld talks about how difficult it is for women to find a winning attitude. She advises women to take the hard nose bitch role as a better option. "So a study of women in the workplace identified several years back unsurprisingly that women who play the game according to how it comes naturally to them are seen as pathetic, weak, feminine & ineffectual. Whereas women who play the game by men’s rules are seen as aggressive, domineering bitches. The research study summed it up & it was called ‘Damned if you do, Doomed if you don’t’ and the New York Times article covering the survey said literally women can’t win. In that scenario what I say to all women whom I advise is ‘Go for the domineering bitch option, it’s the lesser of the two evils. You will at least be heard, you will at least be seen & you will make more happen than if you didn’t take that approach.’ On the venture front, its critically important that the venture capital industry opens itself up to women. And its critically important for both women & vcs. The reason it’s important for women is because you are not taken seriously in this world, until you are taken seriously financially. I was just looking today at Vanity Fair’s new establishment list the top 100 of what they call the new establishment. The top three slots occupied by Mark Zuckerberg of facebook at number 1; Steve Jobs of Apple at number 2 and Sergey Brin & Larry Page of Google at number 3. The first woman appears on that list at number 23 (Lady Gaga)."

Randy Komisar, Partner Kleiner Perkins speaks about how women entrepreneurs may not be as bold or far reaching as males. Caution is not a good thing when it comes to venture capital. He advises that women should not hold back & should be as bold & aspirational & the venture industry needs to be more embracing. "My sense is that, I hear this concern from women who I have a lot of confidence in, in this business all the time who tell me that they think that women entrepreneurs aren’t as bold, aren’t as inspirational aren’t as far reaching as their male counterparts. And I don’t think that caution is a good thing when it comes to venture capital. Venture capitalists like bold ideas, they like people who they think are going to have high aspirations & are going to reach for large, disruptive inflexion points in the marketplace. So I think that women should not hold back, they should be as bold & as aspirational as they feel in approaching their businesses. And the venture capital community needs to be more welcoming of differences & heterogeneity."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Potential Challenges
Natalie Wood, CEO TheThoughtNet speaks about how important it is for female entrepreneurs need to be able to be calm in the face of problems as that is what investors are looking for. "I would say that part of the process of getting venture funded is that you really have to understand & learn a new language. Because you have to go out & present financials & an idea & with most venture companies they call it the ‘aspirin syndrome’ they want you to provide an aspirin to a pain point. And if there isn’t a market that already exists (it’s good to have competition) you have to show what’s happening how is that market going to accept your solution & how are you going to grow that over time? The biggest thing is that you can’t be defensive or you can’t just shut down. That’s important because anyone who’s going to invest in you, they want to see that you can comport yourself in a manner that’s going to be calm & rational.”

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Confidence
People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that distinguish me from a doormat. Rebecca West, 1913

Ann Miura-Ko, CoFounder Floodgate speaks about the challenges that women have developing their confidence & dealing with doubt. "If I look at myself versus my husband is a really good example. In college he told me that he never left an exam having thought he’d done anything but ace it! I actually remember every single exam being one where I thought oh problem number 4 maybe I didn’t do it quite perfectly, there’s another approach to that proof that I could’ve taken which was much more elegant. I would agonize over every single detail. It’s not that my husband actually aced every single test but he believed it. I think that’s prevalent with a lot of women. Even after you get out of school you’ve finished all your exams but actually you’ve got a lot of data points that prove out that your fundamental instincts aren’t right about how you’ve performed, yet still you have that nagging doubt. I think that is part of the problem. A lot of female entrepreneurs, a lot of female professionals will always feel that nagging doubt. You have to push through that. Whereas a lot of male entrepreneurs & male professionals will just believe. I think that’s the part that becomes very difficult in entrepreneurship is that there are so many people around you that are telling you no, this isn’t possible; these are the reasons why it’s going to be so hard. If you give yourself even the slightest bit of opening to even listen or hear those comments, then there’s a higher probability that you’re going to give up. So you have to see those barriers or those walls as minor speed bumps. That optimism is really, really important to develop. I think with women you really have to develop it internally."

Emily Olson, CoFounder Foodzie speaks about the need for confidence in a female entrepreneur. "I do think that you have to have confidence & you have to be able to be bold to say what you believe & to stand behind it & to have opinions & be confident that you’re no inferior for any reason."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Confidence

Robin Wolaner, author Naked in the Boardroom speaks about the challenges of emotional insecurity & need to suspend disbelief. 'Men are better at denial than Women!' "In a way it's bad to be in tune with your emotions when your emotions are making you feel insecure. women need whatever it takes to make them feel invulnerable. Basically if you’re going into vcs as a founder, you have to suspend disbelief or you wouldn’t be a founder. The odds are overwhelmingly against you. Most things fail. So you’ve got to suspend any disbelief about your ability to get it done. I don’t know if most founders see the possible problems. I’ve worked with male founders. I’ve worked with female founders. I’ve been a founder several times. I don’t know any of them who fit the image of ‘never doubt, the complete Silicon Valley asshole theory. I’ve met those assholes later in their lives & I don’t think Larry Ellison would ever admit to a moment of self doubt. But the founders that I meet generally ‘Oh my God can I actually get everything to happen?’ & you just have to suspend that. I think in some ways men are better at denial than women. But have a friend, have somebody who’s going to give you the tough feedback."

Gina Raimondo, CoFounder Point Judith Capital speaks about the need for confidence in entrepreneurs & to portray that showing confidence in your ability to face the unknown. Women may be more reluctant to do this. "When you are a CEO of a startup you need to portray confidence even though you don’t have all the answers. Every startup there is a lot which is unknown. But you need to portray that you are going to figure out the answers, that you are not going to let anything stop you. You are going to climb over mountains, break through walls to get that done. And you have to exude that confidence and whether you want to call that egotistical or not? I think women are reluctant to do that & therefore I think it hurts them. I think you need to sit down with a venture capitalist & say this is my plan, my team, this is my product and we’re going to get it done & nothing is going to stop us. That extreme confidence can be very helpful in securing venture capital. Again I don’t want to over generalize but women may be inclined to say ‘This is our plan & we think it’s going to work.’ Or ‘This is our plan & these are all the things wrong with it’, kind of leading with their chin. I think some of the bravado that guys bring to the table helps them to secure venture capital particularly because 9 times out of 10 the person on the other side with the check book is a man & will relate to that."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Confidence

Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO Pipeline Fund speaks about risk & women owning their own expertise which facilitates self promotion & pitching. She also speaks about supporting female entrepreneurs who are innovators & their stories. This provides role models for other women & for women entrepreneurs to own their expertise. "First of all as women we need to get more comfortable with risk taking. And the other one is that we need to become comfortable being experts, owning our expertise, our thought leadership. When we feel more comfortable with risk taking & when we feel more comfortable being thought leaders & knowing that we have an expertise then the 2 main things that we hear so much especially in the blogosphere, then self promoting becomes easier & pitching becomes easier." "The other 2 initiatives that I would love to share with you: One of them I actually created called #womaninnovator which is a media campaign to increase the visibility of women change makers & mainstream their stories. This came out of my frustration from seeing all the lists from all the top media being top 40 top 25. And the issue is no longer that there are no examples, the examples are there. It’s just they’re not connecting the sources to people who are doing the stories. They’re probably going to their traditional sources & those sources are saying ‘Well Mike, Jeff is doing something really great!’ It’s very much about helping get these stories out. What’s interesting about that is what we do is create a video series. We ask women, first of all they tell us what they’re up to & to define what woman innovator means to them. Then the 3rd question has actually become very transformative individually is ‘How are you a woman innovator?’ That is a moment, a space in time where we are providing in a way the opportunity for women to own their expertise."

Cindy Gallop, Founder IfWeRanTheWorld talks about women's struggle with being nice. "As women from the moment we are born everything around us conspires to make us feel insecure absolutely everything to do with ourselves: the way we look, the way we dress, the way we talk, whether people like us or not. And we are taught that nice girls don't put themselves forward, nice girls are always nice to other people."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Confidence

Dr Telle Whitney, CEO Anita Borg Institute speaks about how many women entrepreneurs struggle with confidence & the ability to assure investors that they will make a good return on investment. "The hardest part with closing venture capital is understanding what they’re after is making money. So you need to go in front of them & convince them that you will be able to give them a good return on investment. Since I often see that confidence is an area that women struggle with a bit more than men, going in & telling someone ‘I will make you money!’ can be challenging."

Jason Mendelson, CoFounder Foundry Group speaks about quiet confidence that is necessary when pitching to a venture capitalist. "Yes whether it’s gravitas or moxy or quiet confidence or whatever it is! When I’m interviewing an entrepreneur, this is for everybody; you want to imagine what the worse thing is going to happen. Which by the way in startups, the worse thing usually does happen at some point. How is this person going to be under fire & under pressure? It’s a ton of pressure to come & meet with a vc & if you come off as relaxed and you’re basically riding your bike in Central Park, that’s very impressive regardless if you’re a male or a female.”

Natalie Wood, CEO TheThoughtNet speaks about how important it is for a female CEO to be able to listen to advice but at the end of the day to make decisions for herself, trusting in her own judgment. "As you go through building your business one of the most important things you have to realize is that you need to trust your own experience & your own gut. Having been through this, I now think and operate differently. I collect feedback, kind of like how Obama manages his administration, trust in my knowledge and then make my decision. But what I’m going to do is make the decision based on my own experience!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Risk & Failure
“Someone asked me why women don't gamble as much as men do, and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don't have as much money. That was a true and incomplete answer. In fact, women's total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.” Gloria Steinhem

Gina Raimondo, CoFounder Point Judith Capital speaks about dealing with risk for female entrepreneurs & the difference between men & women's presentation of risk. "If I were to make a general comment it relates to confidence. So I think what you will see often in any startup is there’s a lot of unanswered questions. Startup companies are by their nature filled with risk & unknowns. How will the product sell? How will the market receive it? How will the product perform? And I would say that female entrepreneurs on average would be more open about the potential risks & deficiencies. And also less inclined to portray that everything is known & that everything is confident & everything is going to work. When in fact in won’t. When in fact sometimes you see male entrepreneurs come in overconfident or oversell. Again I would say if I generalized a little, I think male entrepreneurs are a little bit inclined to oversell & diminish the risk & be overly confident whereas female entrepreneurs are less likely to do that."

Demian Entrekin, Founder Innotas speaks about how it is difficult to raise venture for anyone & surmises that possibly women may not be encouraged. Also he adds that investors are looking for low risk & high reward. "Raising venture is hard for anybody. There’s a really small number that gets funded. I haven’t looked recently but I wanted to say 2% get funded & probably 10% of those have some kind of successful outcome (rough numbers). So it’s hard anyway & it could just be that they’re not being encouraged. I haven’t done the research. I’ve been so busy building companies that I haven’t focused on the sort of statistics or seen the numbers. That game is about low risk, high reward. If they say high risk, low reward, they’re not telling you the truth. Investors are looking for low risk high reward."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Risk & Failure
Susan Coelius Keplinger, CoFounder Triggit speaks about how to handle risk by becoming used to asking for money & having investors say no. It’s important to become comfortable with failure. "Starting at a very, very young age taking risks & realizing that when you take a risk it will probably just work itself out. Having that gut instinct is I think what’s core to an entrepreneur. Then when it comes to sourcing venture, the risk is asking for money & having them say no but at the end of the day, having them say no is the worst thing that can happen! Having that understanding & being comfortable with that understanding is important. You can start it at a young age, by getting comfortable with risk & getting comfortable with failure knowing that there will be more opportunities, there will be more places. But its hard, even for someone that is comfortable with it, it’s still hard!"

Eve Phillips, Co-Founder Empower Interactive Inc speaks about risk & how men & women promote & handle that differently. Ignoring risk is not necessarily what an investor wants but that is probably why young white male geeks get funded easier. She also speaks about the
difference for girls & boys as regards sports & that girls may just have less experience with failing & winning. She also adds that women need not to take things personally.

"Going back to evolutionary biology, men are generally more willing to take risks? Now is that something that you actually want as an investor looking at an entrepreneur? I don’t know? I think you want someone who knows how to calculate risk really well. So I don’t think that having someone who’s a big risk taker as an entrepreneur is really necessarily what you want. But if you look at who’s starting companies from ages 20 to 25, it’s mostly men. Because I think they’re less afraid of what they don’t know. And so suddenly you’ve got a lot of people who are willing to just jump on." "If you go back & look at how boys & girls grow up. Boys are more likely to play sports, do things where you have to keep going out & failing but trying again. I don’t think women are any less good at that, but we may have had less experience doing it. So just recognizing that it takes a lot of ‘nos’ till you get a ‘yes’ in almost any sales cycle so once you get lucky things happen quickly. But that you going to have to keep taking this feedback & figuring out if it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s good feedback & sometimes it’s not & incorporating that into your thinking & your process. Whether it’s specifically to your pitch or more broadly into the way that you’re running your business. Take this whole thing as a learning experience & in a lot of cases don’t take things too personally!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Risk & Failure
Lisa Stone, CEO Blogher speaks about failure & managing fear. 'You
need to have a great deodorant! This is hard!'

"You absolutely need people who are going to be honest champions of what you’re doing. But also you need a great deodorant! This is not easy! I’m sorry but you’ve got to be willing to fail. What could be so bad? 5 out of 6 American businesses have a tough time sustaining profitability. 9 out of 10 startups never see a profitable quarter. What could be so bad? You fail? Wouldn’t that be better than never trying what no-one else has tried? It has to be!"

Natalie Wood, CEO TheThoughtNet speaks about risk & how younger women who do not have dependents & mortgages may be more open to risk as they don't have as much to lose if a startup fails. "There are women who are younger than I am & they’ve come up in a different paradigm than I have. For them taking that risk if they’re in their 20′s is not as frightening because they haven’t had any failures to speak of. And they also may not have as much invested, maybe they’re not married, they don’t have children, they don’t have a mortgage payment? So when you start adding years & other effects, it’s not only yourself that you have other people who will suffer if the risk doesn’t turn out, it makes you think! And that goes for men & women."

Marissa Mayer, CEO Yahoo gives advice to female entrepreneurs on failure: fail fast! “Well failure is a fact of life. The most important thing of course is to learn from failure. I also think the other thing that people don't realize about failure is it's totally fine as long as you do it fast. If you fail fast & then you're onto the next thing, that's actually successful you're much better off. So you've got to be constantly monitoring your effort, figuring out are you on a trajectory for success or are you on a trajectory for failure. If you're on a trajectory for failure, decide to fail fast, give it up & move onto the next thing that will be successful.”

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Think Big – Scale your Business
“Women really do rule the world. They just haven't figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we're all in big big trouble.” ‘Doctor Leon,’ drleons.com

Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Samasource speaks about the stamina required to pitch their startups & need for more aggressiveness in female entrepreneurs. Women may be far too conservative in selling their vision & this may hold them back as founders. "I heard every objection you can imagine. I think the biggest, boldest ideas are those that require a lot of stamina to get going & rely on a lot of persistence on the part of the entrepreneur. That’s the first lesson I learned. I’d say secondly, I hate to make generalizations, but the women that I know confirm this & the studies I’ve read confirm this, women are less aggressive than men in raising money & in pitching an idea. If you’re trying to get legitimacy for an idea that hasn’t yet materialized as a company you have to be aggressive. You have to sell the vision 5 years out. You can’t be selling what you currently have, which is you, your friend’s futon & your laptop. I think that women are far too conservative in business settings particularly when it comes to raising money & selling a vision for whatever reason. I find that that conservatism can be really good for the business. I have a COO who is much more conservative than I am & much more risk averse & that’s wonderful because she makes contingency plans & ensures that our books are done correctly. But in terms of the founder, you need to have somebody who is going to aggressively sell the vision & aggressively make people buy into this idea. Otherwise it will never get launched."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Money
“Some leaders are born women.” Unknown

Tereza Nemessanyi, CoFounder HonestlyNow speaks about how having a team made her more assertive & confident about raising capital for their needs. "I believed in my own idea from the beginning & I was confident in my skills & my experience. But there was a change when I started to have people committing to me & committing to that vision. Whereas earlier, it was a little bit scary for me to go to someone & ask for money just for me, suddenly when I was standing for a group of people who believed in me the equation & the chemistry there was completely different. So going & asking on behalf of my team who are dedicated to this was a completely empowering moment & I'd liken to the lioness with cubs. I'm a mother, once your children or your people need something, they need tools to get done what they need to get done, you don't hesitate for one minute not only to make the ask, but to turn every single stone that you can to do right by them. It becomes not only a rational question but a totally emotional one in the most positive way. You just will not take no for an answer! I think that's a great strength that women have, that we just want to see more & more of."

Susan Coelius Keplinger , CoFounder Triggit speaks about the need to have a willingness to ask for money & be willing to have someone say no & go back again later. "Perseverance & a willingness to ask for money & that holds for the majority of entrepreneurs, both men & women. I think that the reason that Zac is so good & what I’ve learnt from watching Zac raise money, is that you have to be willing to ask for money! And you have to be willing to have someone say no & you have to be willing to go back & ask for money again later & not be afraid. Nancy Pelosi, the most prolific fund raiser currently in politics, is a woman & she just asks for money. She then of course leverages it correctly so it’s useful. I think asking!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Money
Alison Davis, CEO Fifth Era Financial speaks about how may not like to ask for money. She also speaks about the difference in male & female brains that attempt to identify why men & women think differently. "If you look at the number of small businesses in the country, small business creation that is driving our economy, a much higher percentage of small businesses are started & run by women. It's much closer to 50/50. think what happens is that when women are starting a business, they’re thinking how do I get to $100k, $150k, $200k cause then I can put my kids in school, I can buy the groceries, I can be comfortable, I can have a car. They’re not sitting there thinking how can I make $100m & be the CEO of facebook. So women start businesses because they have a passion they want to pursue. I don’t think they’re shooting for the big payout. They’re tend to be less focused on being an entrepreneur for the big money. Self sufficiency is important because then they can look after their families & then pursuing a passion & doing something they love. I think that’s why you see the percentages go down. But I have a lot of female networks, and there are plenty of women looking for venture capital who say they just don’t get funded."

Beth Seidenberg, Partner Kleiner Perkins speaks about the benefits of being a woman being more comfortable with feelings. They can feel situations along with think them. This can be very powerful for women. Women may not be assertive & ask for what we want. "Women have different characteristics that are good & bad in general right. There’s definitely a lot that’s carried on the xx chromosomes that’s a good thing, I think. So one of the things that we get with the xx chromosome is that many women are more comfortable with the emotional side of things & are able to feel situations as much as they can think them. Being able to feel situations often times makes you a really good leader because you have that emotional connection to your project & to your venture capitalist & to your team, your company. I think that’s an element that can be really powerful for a woman. You mentioned that sometimes women are not as assertive & they may not ask for what they want? Men are really comfortable, this is just in general. And I find even in myself & other women, that we tend to be tentative. We tend to wait for somebody to ask us or we tend not to be as bold in what we ask for. Be bold, ask for what you want, ask the hard question. If you don’t, you’re not going to get what you ultimately desire."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Possible Hindrances
“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.” Faith Whittlesey

Jessica Jackley, CoFounder Kiva response to a venture capitalists concern that she would let her business down by getting pregnant & issues about work/life balance. I know that Paige Craig said: “A pregnant founder / CEO is going to fail her company”) that popped up in his head, I’m glad he asked the specific question he did – specifically: “…how in the hell is this founder* going to lead a team, build a company and change the world for these businesses carrying a kid around for the next few months and then caring for the kids after?” Jessica response"There’s another aspect of this conversation about a founder of a company to have the goal of achieving balance at all when in start-up mode, and I’d like to address that too. Do I work long hours? Weekends? Of course! Pull all-nighters when needed? Sure. But working until I fall asleep on my laptop and doing nothing else on a regular basis makes me less effective. Turns out that getting at least a little sleep, exercising regularly, having healthy relationships outside of work, spending time with my family, reading a book for fun now and then, etc. makes me a better Founder/CEO."

Adeo Ressi, Founder Founder Institute speaks about how they find women have differing perceptions from men as entrepreneurs. He also speaks about how startup culture may need to change to encourage more women. "For whatever reason, we find that the females drop out a little easier. I’ve spoken with other women’s groups about why that is. And I think that a lot of females have perceptions that differ from male perceptions on the world. I think men expect things to be often times hard & sometimes women expect things not to be as hard. And I think women deal with things differently. So I think there’s going to be a balancing where some of the norms have to change in how startups are done to attract more females in? Because if we just say hey we’re just going to give you stuff that you need to do in a startup regardless of gender, race, age & we see more females drop out, clearly the way that startups are being built & run today do not appeal to females as much as they do to males. With that said the way startups are built & managed will need to change to attract more females. Startups are very cut throat & maybe too cut throat I would argue? The work load is often excessive & it’s arguably too excessive. So I think if we can balance startup life a little bit more, that will also help attract females into startups."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Possible Hindrances
Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner DBL Investors speaks about the challenges of being a female venture capitalist. She also speaks further about the challenges of being a female venture capitalist & the benefits. 'ADD is a benefit!' You need to have a love of entrepreneurship & you get to work with really cool people! "First of all it's a very challenging field. It's not for the faint of heart! It has immense rewards on all levels but it's very difficult. You have to be comfortable with the fact that some of your efforts will fail because no-one has 100% perfect track record. I think for women really it's not the kind of job that is as predictable & confining to a work place. It kind of takes over your life in a way! I think you have to have a mentality & a life style that's accepting of that rather than resenting that. There are women & men that like that & then there are women & men that don’t. They want to have their work & then they want to have the rest of their life. I would just say that if you’re in the latter category it’s not going to be a happy job for you." "I always like to say in this profession ADD is a benefit! Because you are dealing with a lot of businesses & a lot of management teams, a lot of exogenous factors. Something is blowing up, while something is doing terrific. You have to be nimble, you have to like that kind of environment. A lot of people don’t & that’s why it’s a bit of a self selecting pool. It all comes down to the people & having that love of invention, of entrepreneurship. I mean we get to work with really cool people that are making the world a better place! So that makes all of the hassle worthwhile."

Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Samasource speaks about the myth of work/life balance for entrepreneurs. Partners of female entrepreneurs need to be accepting of the demands of being an entrepreneur. "Carol Bartz said in a report that I thought was really interesting, she’s the CEO of Yahoo & quite an outspoken woman entrepreneur, she said that women believe in this myth that you can have work/life balance. In a startup or if you’re running a technology company there’s no such thing as work/life balance. You can’t wake up in the morning & make breakfast for the kids & do some yoga, go to work, run a company all day, come home & manage to have time to make love to your husband! It’s just not possible, right! A lot of the men who do this work end up getting divorced or devoting every second of their lives to the company because that’s what it takes. I think that means that the partners of women entrepreneurs have to be accepting of that & women have to recruit partners who know that the business is going to take priority over everything else for a certain amount of time. We have to be realistic about what we can do. Part of that is expectations that are placed on women by others. But we can set those expectations!" Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Possible Hindrances
“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.” Faith Whittlesey

Jessica Jackley, CoFounder Kiva response to a venture capitalists concern that she would let her business down by getting pregnant & issues about work/life balance. I know that Paige Craig said: “A pregnant founder / CEO is going to fail her company”) that popped up in his head, I’m glad he asked the specific question he did – specifically: “…how in the hell is this founder* going to lead a team, build a company and change the world for these businesses carrying a kid around for the next few months and then caring for the kids after?” Jessica response"There’s another aspect of this conversation about a founder of a company to have the goal of achieving balance at all when in start-up mode, and I’d like to address that too. Do I work long hours? Weekends? Of course! Pull all-nighters when needed? Sure. But working until I fall asleep on my laptop and doing nothing else on a regular basis makes me less effective. Turns out that getting at least a little sleep, exercising regularly, having healthy relationships outside of work, spending time with my family, reading a book for fun now and then, etc. makes me a better Founder/CEO."

Adeo Ressi, Founder Founder Institute speaks about how they find women have differing perceptions from men as entrepreneurs. He also speaks about how startup culture may need to change to encourage more women. "For whatever reason, we find that the females drop out a little easier. I’ve spoken with other women’s groups about why that is. And I think that a lot of females have perceptions that differ from male perceptions on the world. I think men expect things to be often times hard & sometimes women expect things not to be as hard. And I think women deal with things differently. So I think there’s going to be a balancing where some of the norms have to change in how startups are done to attract more females in? Because if we just say hey we’re just going to give you stuff that you need to do in a startup regardless of gender, race, age & we see more females drop out, clearly the way that startups are being built & run today do not appeal to females as much as they do to males. With that said the way startups are built & managed will need to change to attract more females. Startups are very cut throat & maybe too cut throat I would argue? The work load is often excessive & it’s arguably too excessive. So I think if we can balance startup life a little bit more, that will also help attract females into startups."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Possible Hindrances
Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner DBL Investors speaks about the challenges of being a female venture capitalist. She also speaks further about the challenges of being a female venture capitalist & the benefits. 'ADD is a benefit!' You need to have a love of entrepreneurship & you get to work with really cool people! "First of all it's a very challenging field. It's not for the faint of heart! It has immense rewards on all levels but it's very difficult. You have to be comfortable with the fact that some of your efforts will fail because no-one has 100% perfect track record. I think for women really it's not the kind of job that is as predictable & confining to a work place. It kind of takes over your life in a way! I think you have to have a mentality & a life style that's accepting of that rather than resenting that. There are women & men that like that & then there are women & men that don’t. They want to have their work & then they want to have the rest of their life. I would just say that if you’re in the latter category it’s not going to be a happy job for you." "I always like to say in this profession ADD is a benefit! Because you are dealing with a lot of businesses & a lot of management teams, a lot of exogenous factors. Something is blowing up, while something is doing terrific. You have to be nimble, you have to like that kind of environment. A lot of people don’t & that’s why it’s a bit of a self selecting pool. It all comes down to the people & having that love of invention, of entrepreneurship. I mean we get to work with really cool people that are making the world a better place! So that makes all of the hassle worthwhile."

Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Samasource speaks about the myth of work/life balance for entrepreneurs. Partners of female entrepreneurs need to be accepting of the demands of being an entrepreneur. "Carol Bartz said in a report that I thought was really interesting, she’s the CEO of Yahoo & quite an outspoken woman entrepreneur, she said that women believe in this myth that you can have work/life balance. In a startup or if you’re running a technology company there’s no such thing as work/life balance. You can’t wake up in the morning & make breakfast for the kids & do some yoga, go to work, run a company all day, come home & manage to have time to make love to your husband! It’s just not possible, right! A lot of the men who do this work end up getting divorced or devoting every second of their lives to the company because that’s what it takes. I think that means that the partners of women entrepreneurs have to be accepting of that & women have to recruit partners who know that the business is going to take priority over everything else for a certain amount of time. We have to be realistic about what we can do. Part of that is expectations that are placed on women by others. But we can set those expectations!" Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Sex & Power
“I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” Gloria Steinem

Dave McClure, Founder 500 Startups speaks about the challenge of sexual chemistry between a venture capitalist & a female founder. "On the risk of tarnishing my image: I think it’s impossible to completely ignore the human sexuality issues & other sensitive issues in all contexts. I think you always have to fight biases one way or another when you’re making investments. Sometimes it’s a positive & sometimes it’s a negative but it does enter into the equation. I think if I believe in what I’m doing as a venture capitalist, you take risk in all forms & match it. That’s part of the equation."

Prerna Gupta, CEO khu.sh speaks about the tension between being sexually attractive & powerful. "One thing that I just want to say about this whole issue of sexuality which I think is really important. I think that this is one issue that definitely affects women from a really early age. The reason we don’t have more women in technology & as a result more women in entrepreneurship is because there’s this tension. And again it’s a human tension, individuals are not bad people, they’re not doing it on purpose. I think when you’re a woman being attractive is one of the most important things you can do as a woman, as a human female. For whatever reason, being intelligent & being powerful, these things are at odds with being sexually attractive for a woman. We are very sensitive to this at a young age. I think if you have to choose between the two, a lot of women go towards being attractive. That is one thing that I hope will change."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Sex & Power

Adeo Ressi , Founding Member Founder Institute speaks about the challenges female entrepreneurs face when raising capital with venture capitalists. "So many of the female founders that I consider my friends have told stories that you would obviously guess. They often get meetings for the wrong reasons, potentially their looks or something of that nature. A lot of times they may even do an investment based on looks & things like that. Then the second something goes wrong, they’re eliminated very quickly. When things go wrong people are eliminated pretty quickly in the venture industry no matter what. But it’s pretty clear that the shoe drops faster based on the experiences I’ve had with female founders."

Jessica Jackley, CoFounder Kiva speaks about interesting events whilst raising venture with venture capitalists, including being hit upon & being sidelined for being female. "Yes we’ve had some interesting struggles & interesting comments to us. We’ve been asked out. We’ve had the flippant comments here & there about being women. One funder who we’re not working with, made a comment about that he was worried about future funding (even though he wouldn’t do this) conversations going down a different path & us being hit on by other funders. It was just such a strange sort of cop out for it. But again in general it’s a big wide world out there & there are a lot of people. Even though you might be sitting across the table from someone who doesn’t look like you, is not the same gender as you, I feel like i learn all the time from men who themselves would fit that old stereotype funders entrepreneurs & teach me about how to treat people the right way."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Children
“You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.” Dave Barry, 'Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn'

Indu Navar, Founder Serus Corporation speaks about making a difference & commitment as a female entrepreneur. Be yourself! She also mentions balancing being a mother & having a business. "I really think focusing on the value. I really think right now is a good time for women to be in the world & trying to say I can make a difference! Because we’re not really proving anymore? There was a lot of other women who’ve been very successful, look at the CEO of Pepsi or look at Meg Whitman that have actually proven that they can run a business & be very successful at it. So I don’t feel I need to prove but at the same time not many women have come out & said I’m going to take my career very seriously & have the same amount of perseverance & dedication & commitment to anything else I do to my career. I think that’s what somebody would want to see that is that you are really committed & you are going to make sure that this is one of the big goals in your life. It’s not an experiment, it’s not a test! So I would say the attitude should be not to worry if you are a female or not, not to worry that you are different."

Wendy Lea, CEO Get Satisfaction talks about how women can cycle in & out of the life cycle of their careers at different ages & stages of their lives. "The wonderful thing about the female gender (there’s so many wonderful things about the female gender!) but I think we’re much better at pulsing in & out. What I mean by that is, you take a run, you take a 5 year chunk & you say ‘I’m in between movies!’ Let’s pretend like I’m an actor. ‘I’m going to go have my children!’ I’m at the stage either early or late, I’ll adopt them or have them. I’m going to take a break & do that & come back. When I come back, I’m going to start the next Google or the next facebook. Then I’m going to take a pause, because I want to go to Bali & do a meditation path & I want to come back & I want to be in politics. Then I’m going to come back & run a non-profit. It seems to me, based on my observation of my friends from 20 year olds to 70 year olds, that we feel more comfortable opting in & out over the life cycle of our career. I think that’s a beautiful thing. I think that makes us better at each stage. I think it makes us more whole. I think it gives us more ability to lead because we have more empathy relative to where everyone else is. I think that’s a beautiful thing."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Children
Jennifer Toney, CoFounder WeMakeItSafer speaks about the bias about mothers in the business community. She offers a new way at looking at the criticism that mothers don't have time to be an entrepreneur. A new model of work/life balance by being intelligently creative about how to get things done! She also speaks about being a mompreneur and how she manages her time along with having a family "I do think there are some biases towards mothers in general in business in general. And the venture community is probably not separate from that at all? I think there tends to be a fear that Moms aren’t going to have the same amount of time as a single person or someone without children to spend on their startups. To that I would say everybody has something else that they’re working on. I think by definition if you’re a successful entrepreneur you’re most likely an overachiever. So whether you’re a marathon runner or a sailor or you’re sitting on boards of other startups or you’re trying to work on a charity & solve world hunger, you’re doing something else anyway. So for a Mom your something else happens to be your children. When I had kids it wasn’t the business & technology & entrepreneurship that got sidelined, it was the other things that I was doing. I didn’t spend as much time at the gym. I didn’t compete in triathlons anymore. I didn’t do painting & things that I normally did. So it changes but it doesn’t mean necessarily that you have less time to work on your business. I think also talking about work/life balance; you switch how you think about things. I’ve sat in a number of conferences where there would be a panel on work/life balance & you do unfortunately hear a lot of women who are in positions or CEO positions that will say it’s not possible to do both. I think that will always come from somebody who doesn’t already have kids. So they feel like I know what I’m doing now, I know how hard it is, I know how much time I’m spending, there’s no way I could have children. That’s probably true! In that mind frame & in that model that you’ve set yourself, you probably couldn’t also have children & do a good job. I think that a lot of work/life balance is being very creative, intelligently creative about your organization & changing your mind about how things work when you get things done." "Again it’s about changing the model. It’s being willing to erase the lines & redraw them & step outside of the box. Sure you might not be able to do the 10am to 4am work & incubator with a bunch of people. But you’re also not doing other things that take away from other entrepreneurs/startups. So Thursday, Friday, and Saturday you will never find me at a bar from 9pm to 2am. I’m back at my computer working very hard & progressing on the company. Whereas my single entrepreneur friends will out at the bar drunk tweeting. Some of it I’m sure is helpful to their business & networking but a lot of it is just drunk tweeting. They’re having a great time & it’s great. But those are a lot of hours during the week that Moms are spending, or people who have other obligations are spending on their companies. So I think it’s a misnomer to think that just because you have children that you have less time to spend on your company. I think if you were to compare productive hours, it would be very similar it’s just that they’re happening at different times & in different ways."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Children
Emily Olson, CoFounder Foodzie speaks about the age ranges that women can be entrepreneurs if they also want to raise children. "I think there is something simply biological about a woman having a child that kind of affects the time frame that we have. I fortunately started a company when I was 24, so pretty young, & companies take a long time to build to be successful, right. So I have another, hopefully 8 years ahead of me doing this. So if you think about the window of time child bearing years, the time you need to start a business to be successful, there’s an interesting dynamic going on. So I think it’s less about ability or traits that a woman has to be an entrepreneur, that there are maybe biological factors that we may put our focus elsewhere for a period of time. And I think that’s ok. The post that Fred Wilson wrote about women in their 40s starting companies & there was like a wave of, after the kids were grown & they start having time again? And they’re in an interesting phase of life where they have a perspective of certain problems that can be solved that other younger generations don’t. There are a lot of younger entrepreneurs these days & that can be solved. And they need a support system to be able do that. There’s this group of people after they raise their children and I think it’s an interesting thing that women sit on each end of that. "

Mark Suster, Partner GRP Partners speaks about the ages that women want to have kids & somehow eliminates them from working as entrepreneurs during that time & therefore limits the number of female entrepreneurs raising capital. "If we’re going to have an honest discussion about men versus women, we have to be honest with each other about the biggest difference. The biggest difference is that somewhere between the age of 30 and 42 many women have kids. Obviously families have kids and our society, rightly or wrongly, (I’m not having a judgment call) tends to be such that the man continues with full time work & the woman either does part time work or stops working completely or takes 6 months off or whatever. She then usually has primary child rearing/caring activities. Well then let’s look at the age of most men when they’re out raising capital? Well it’s probably somewhere in the 28 to 35 range. And I honestly think, again if we’re going to talk openly about this, I think that plays a role in it."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Children
Margit Wennmachers, Partner Andreessen Horowitz speaks about women's biological clock & how that can slow a woman's career down. Her advice is that you can work it, so go for it! "I think sometimes women can be their own worst enemy. There’s the whole biological clock. Sometimes women put their career on slow burn in anticipation of having to juggle it all & those kinds of things. I would say if you’re a woman, you’re smart, you’re ambitious, go, go for it & don’t stop. Because once you have children or the husband or both you will figure it out!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Helping Other Women
“It is because of men that women dislike one another.” Jean de La Bruyère, Characters, 1688

Fred Wilson, Partner Union Square Ventures speaks about self belief in women entrepreneurs & the need for good role models for women. He says there is too much emphasis in the culture on male entrepreneurs. "I think it’s a question of whether or not women believe that they can be successful. I think it’s just a question of changing people’s perspectives on that. I think if women felt that they could be successful entrepreneurs, you would see more women do it. I think that there aren’t as many role models out there. If you think about popular culture, whether it’s in movies or tv shows, books or magazines, reading on the web, I think that the role model of the entrepreneur is most often played by a man. And I think that as a result there’s a little bit of a perception that it’s a man thing. I don’t think that’s true. So if we just had more role models & we saw more women being portrayed as entrepreneurs, I think that a lot of this would shift very quickly."

Brad Feld, Managing Director Foundry Group speaks about bias being driven out of the system as more & more women become entrepreneurs & then are funded. Women need to help each other remove the bias & men need to not reinforce the bias. "It’s a self fulfilling prophecy both positive & negative, the more women entrepreneurs there are, the more successful women entrepreneurs there will be, the easier it will be for that bias to be driven out of the system or the more that bias will get driven out of the system. And subsequently the more women entrepreneurs will be funded. It’s not just a’ be funded’ phenomena, it’s engage in the process? You asked me at the beginning what percentage of companies are women & it’s a small percentage. And it’s not because we’re looking for male oriented businesses or we are explicitly looking for female entrepreneurs oriented businesses. We don’t care whether an entrepreneur is male, female, young and old & frankly if they were from Mars or from Pluto & they were working on something interesting to us, that would be fine. So we’re not focused on the gender, age, ethnicity of the person but interestingly that population is such that it is much skewed male. I think what women do to help each other is important. I think that’s true of all aspects of society, if there’s a bias in the system the people that are in the minority should work together to overcome the bias. And more importantly the people that are in the majority should be very tuned into the bias & should work hard to try to eliminate the bias, not necessarily by modifying their specific decisions but by eliminating the bias from their decisions."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Helping Other Women
Vivek Wadhwa, Senior Research Associate Harvard Law School speaks about how if women help each other it will change the ratio. "The lesson for women is that by pulling each other up, one woman achieves some success, she pulls up another 2 women behind her. If they started doing that, I have zero doubt that you would have a major impact here."

Cydni Tetro, Founder Womens Tech Council speaks about women who give back to their community & therefore are more successful in raising venture. "Women who are willing to spend some amount of time giving back to communities tend to have higher success rates in venture. Because they’re seen as these well rounded individuals where they’re giving time in certain places, they’re leading specific initiatives. They have business skills outside of the venture that they’re giving. So people see them in all sorts of fashions, so when you sit in front of an angel group or venture firm they get exposed to all these experiences that you’ve had because they start talking to people. And they say Oh yes I worked with so & so at this & it just creates these lasting connections that you can’t create if you’re just in a bubble. I think that dramatically helps women! It’s all just part of this ecosystem you have to build if you really want to play in the entrepreneurial community."

Cameron Lester, General Partner Azure Capital Partners speaks about how women entrepreneurs are helping each other by networking & how that will change the ecosystem. "I think there is a concerted effort on the part of the successful women entrepreneurs in the valley to really build their own set of networks & help those who are less connected get inserted into the main stream venture capital entrepreneurial network. I think that this is a work in progress, 10 years from now it’ll be much further along. But I do think that these types of initiatives & the kind of rallying cry that I’ve seen here amongst some of the most successful women CEOs is having a good effect. That coupled with the fact that some of these women CEOs are generating great results." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Helping Other Women
Cindy Gallop, Founder IfWeRanTheWorld quotes Madeleine Albright to encourage women to help other women. "I could not more heartily endorse Madeline Albright’s wonderful quote: ‘There’s a special place reserved in Hell for women who do not help other women.’"

Penny Herscher, CEO First Rain encourages female entrepreneurs to help each other to increase our numbers. "When I started there were no women in management in the firms that I joined & I was the first woman executive in the company I worked for. And then in Semi-Conductor I was the first woman to be a CEO of a company in the space. And now I see more women running companies, more women with technology degrees, more women studying Computer Science. So I think it’s more a generational thing & I think it’s only a matter of time now. But we have to help each other, those of us that do it, need to help the other women at least get trained so they have a fair shot at it!"

Dr Telle Whitney, CEO Anita Borg Institute talks about the Impostor Syndrome which many women experience & how mentoring helps change the culture of bias. "Look at women who choose technology. We work a lot with women who stay in technology & we’re offering this wonderful panel called ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ where so many very talented & very successful women talk about how much they feel they are an imposter. If you think of a young woman who is just starting out on her career, being able to talk with someone & understanding that lack of confidence is something that many of us suffer from. So being able to reach out to role models is certainly one of the things that I feel is really important. Mentoring is widely quoted as being a very successful practice of changing the culture. And I think that often peer mentoring is as successful."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Helping Other Women
Natalie Wood, CEO TheThoughtNet speaks about how women are great consensus takers & how helpful it is to get advice & mentoring from women who are successful. "Women are good at researching & so I think they can usually can come up with & understand who might be a good match for them. Also women are great consensus takers & so if we can go out & tap into other women who have made it, we can alleviate some of the issues & problems that we’re going to have to face trying to do it all on our own."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

INVESTORS
Investors Position
“Being a VC in a room full of entrepreneurs is like being the hot girl at a nerd party.” Venture Capitalist friend of brianrothenberg.com

Fred Destin, Partner Atlas Venture speaks about venture capitalists being very ego & passion driven. The reality is that vcs should enable entrepreneurs to get on with growing their startups & not driving the business themselves. "I’ve seen a lot of vcs are alpha males. They’re generally very smart (but they’d like you to know they’re smart!) Unfortunately that applies to me, but I’m working on it! You get a fair amount of ego! You get people who want to be respected, want people to recognize their smart, feel they’re important. Even though the vc industry is an absolutely tiny industry but nevertheless. Then combined with a general passion for creating stuff & so there’s a ton of very different profiles out there & there’s also a lot of marketing hype! So we always say success has many fathers & failure is an orphan! The reality is the vcs basically direct money & vaguely influence the course of the company. In rare cases do we play a fundamental role in shaping it but I would say that’s the outlier. Usually the better the entrepreneur, the less we provide in terms of absolute value add, right. So fundamentally our role is to help the entrepreneur spread their wings & add really create value & avoid massive mistakes we’ve seen before to help them attract good talent."

Randy Komisar, Partner Kleiner Perkins suggests that the venture industry needs to embrace all heterogeneity. He also speaks about the lack of female venture capitalists & how people may tend to stick with people they feel are alike them. He suggests that younger male vcs may be more comfortable with women. "I think that it’s important for venture capital to be more embracing of heterogeneity not just gender heterogeneity, but all heterogeneity. And I think gender heterogeneity is part of that." "There are not enough women in venture capital today & that’s part of the problem. Venture capital tends to be clubby in the sense that you tend to have confidence & trust & perhaps better communications with people that you feel are more alike than you feel are less alike. And that applies across genders too as well. I do think that there is a generation of younger venture capitalists who are male who are particularly more comfortable with heterogeneity including gender heterogeneity."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

INVESTORS
Investors Position

Robin Wolaner, author Naked in the Boardroom speaks about how venture capitalists are like sheep & follow trends. "So every time you’ve got something that reduces the pool of available women whether it’s whether they’re in engineering or whether they’ve had the track record, there’s less for the vcs to invest in. But vcs are complete sheep. They follow the trend, right! So if a woman walks in with what they’re funding that week (I’m not saying they all do but the lion’s share of them are lemmings) so if a woman walks in with that hot sector that they’re all funding that week, they’ll fund her company. Whether she’s done it before, female, male or anything in between. They will overlook anything in the race to get in on the next hot deal."

Rachel Sheinbein, Principal CMEA speaks about awareness of gender in venture capital. She also talks about her collaborative attitude & the lone wolf & personality branding in venture industry. Her collaborative style has been successful for her. "For some reason in this, its finance related or a bunch of really smart ambitious people, it’s become much more evident to me, the bit about my gender. One thing is there is a bravado & competition among vcs, getting into deals or having the connections or relationships. I came out of Intel, a very intense environment but very collaborative. I always felt that you’re rewarded for win/win: everyone can win! (Well maybe I naively felt that way?) But here I’ve noticed there is more of a lone wolf mentality, a little bit of celebrity, personality branding. But I have to say that I’ve been rewarded for sticking to my personal style & way of doing things. I always feel if someone has great skill set in finance, why wouldn’t I have them help me with due diligence."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

INVESTORS
Investors Position

Penny Herscher, CEO First Rain speaks about lemming behavior in venture capital & how she is a venture capital snob. She also talks about different types of venture capitalists & whether they are biased or not when you are pitching your business. "I think there is a lot of lemming behavior in venture capital. I’m a venture capital snob! I think there are 5 or 10 firms worth spending your time with & the rest are not worth spending your time with” "I think there are 2 kinds of vcs: 1) There are vcs who really don’t care what gender or color you are. They care about who you are as a person. They care about your experience & your ability to build a team. So if you have strong ideas & you’re very sure of yourself & as I said, you have operating experience so you know how to build a team, you know how to build a product, you know how to go to market. Whatever your experience is? You’ve come from Sales & Marketing or you’ve come from Engineering. By the way you’ve a much higher probability if you are Technical than if you are not, just statistically much higher chance. There’s a set of VC’s who just don’t care. 2) There’s a set of vcs who politely listen to you & are slightly patronizing through the whole thing & say ‘I’ll get back to you!’ And I’ve learnt how to sort those out very early on in the process & make sure I only spend my time with the guys who actually looking for ‘Are you a spark, are you a leader? Are you going to change the world with your ideas?’ And focus your time on them. The ones who patronize you, just shake their hand & thank them."

Jason Mendelson, CoFounder Foundry Group talks about the lack of transparency of some venture capitalists. He also mentions how good vcs say yes & no very quickly which is kinder to an entrepreneur "I think a lot of vcs are not very transparent in what they’re thinking. An entrepreneur comes & says ‘Hey I’d like you to fund my company’ and they never really engage emotionally, they’re never really intellectually honest & they never say no quickly, they say get back to me, get back to me, get back to me & I think that just adds to this whole perception of this wall. I think that the good vcs these days are the folks who say yes & no very quickly. In fact the nicest thing you can do for an entrepreneur is to say no very quickly.."

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Disadvantages of Investing in Similarity
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." Ellen Glasgow

Cameron Lester, General Partner Azure Capital Partners speaks about why most vcs invest in those similar to them & how this is not how to make money in this industry. Diversity brings disruption. "So I think vcs have in general been victim to the fact that they see if you come with a Stanford background or another Ivy League background or Havard background & you have worked at an Apple or a Google or a Netscape or pick your hot tech company & you’re typically younger therefore associated with working the 100 hour weeks & you’re well spoken therefore you can be viewed as someone who can market your business to customers, future other investors or acquirers, then you’re somebody that should be backed. So as we sit in partner meetings & somebody comes in with that school background & that pedigree in terms of where they worked & pitches. If they speak well & they have that background there’s a comfort zone. That being said, I think that that can lead to a lot of erroneous decisions. The way to make money in this business is not to make money by backing what everybody else is backing. The way to make money in venture capital is to think against the grain & be ahead of the curve to invest in something that has yet to be discovered by everybody else & to build it into something great. Whether it’s a male CEO or female CEO doing that is really irrelevant. What we’ve found is, at least in the experience we’ve had in over a decade of doing this is that there’s a crop of women CEOs who are doing great things in this industry. What we’re trying to do as a firm here is to back something that doesn’t necessarily check all the boxes but has the potential to be great. I think if you take that mindset, you get out of the trap that you’ve just described of backing the pedigreed male CEO from the right school with the right work background." Eve Phillips, Co-Founder Empower Interactive Inc speaks about the relationship between CEO & investors. Female entrepreneurs need to show that they can build relationship with investors as well as male entrepreneurs. "The investor & CEO relationship is one where you are likely to be together for several years. It’s not just sending information back & forth kind of thing. You’re both going to learn more from the process if you know how to communicate together & can share constructive feedback or criticism in both directions being able to share back & forth. Being able to share bad news & celebrate good news. These things all work much better when you can build that connection with the other person. That’s why I think, being female, showing that other person that you can build that same kind of relationship even though that person probably has fewer business relationships with people like with you, you just have to get them over that hurdle." Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Disadvantages of Investing in Similarity
Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO Samasource speaks about the evidence that people fund those that are similar to them. VCs need to look at results & be meritocratic. "I think that there’s this myth that it’s harder to get visibility as a woman. I don’t think it’s harder to get visibility. I think where there’s substance to that myth, is that it may be harder to actually close funding deals. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that people fund companies or people fund other people who look & act & are from the same social milieu as them. I think something like 85% or 90% of venture capitalists are men from certain socio economic backgrounds? I’m sure that plays into who they eventually fund. I don’t think it’s conscious & I don’t think there’s any malice on the part of people in this community. I also think that if you run a good venture capital firm, your job is look at results & to try & find people who are going to deliver results. The best firms are highly meritocratic in the entrepreneurs they select."

Chris Dixon, CoFounder Founders Collective talks about venture capital Monday meetings & the flawed process that test for qualities that are not necessarily about good startups. "So it depends. When I invest for example our process is a much shorter process: you meet with a few people individually & then we make the decision. With almost all big vcs, you do that & then you have the most important event you present to the entire partnership. And this is like this ritual every Monday they have people come in & you sit there in front of 20 people & maybe 10 more people on video conference or something. And you know it’s a very intimidating thing. You’re going to have to walk into a very skeptical crowd & act like you own the place or something, I don’t know. I personally think it’s a flawed process. I think it ends up optimizing for the wrong things. I think it optimizes for things which I don’t see as necessarily being correlated with pretty good startups!"

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Conclusion
Is There a Problem?
Whilst I have been doing these interviews, many people have said to me that no problem exists & that women can be as easily funded as men if they have a great idea, team, plan & advisors. However the statistics, some of which have been mentioned at the beginning of this book, show another story. The percentages of women in technology, female entrepreneurs & female venture capitalists are extremely low compared to men. The reasons are multifold & complex and cannot be answered or resolved quickly or easily. Many wonderful people & organizations are working to #change the ratio & I am sure that this situation will slowly shift due to their efforts. When I started this project a year ago, the conversation & debate was hot & heavy & continues to carry a lot of emotional response from both genders. So I surmise that it is timely to showcase these conversations about the lack of women being funded compared to men, to shed further light & awareness on the subject.

Is There Overt Discrimination?
Many suggested that there is no conscious bias on the part of investors but that we all naturally feel more comfortable with those who are similar to ourselves. Investors are using other people's money to invest & therefore are looking for low risk & high reward. If someone is dissimilar to themselves & they do not understand them, they may see them as a riskier investment & pass them by. True to the law of you get what you put out; many suggested that if you acted as if there was no overt discrimination, then you may tend not to be discriminated against. However women may tend to keep mum about discriminating behavior by men in business to protect their credibility & careers.

Does Bias Keep Women Disadvantaged for Investment?
Studies suggest that we all have unconscious bias & that of course then can affect female entrepreneurs when raising investment due to their low numbers. Also if more women are raising investment through other means like crowd sourcing, debt etc, then this fact may also point to the fact of unconscious bias operating in the venture & angel industry. Successful women may also strive to succeed through their own merits & therefore collude with the notion that there is no gender bias.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Are there Advantages of Diversity?
There have been studies done about the advantages of diversity & many people spoke about how startups, just like corporations can produce better results having a diverse executive team & board. It was suggested by some that having women on the executive team of a startup would then reflect the markets that are being targeted, being a truer representation of the real world. Women bring different perspectives to board decisions & teams that can usually promote more stability.

Should we Generalize about Gender?
Many of those interviewed baulked or apologized about generalizing about gender but most did do just that at some point in the conversation, including myself. Obviously this is a human propensity for us to try & make sense of those dissimilar to us? However it was pointed out to me that this really doesn't help the issue & any ideas generated through this avenue have a shaky & very limited foundation.

Are there differences between Men & Women?
Despite that fact, I will mention some generalizations that people discussed. We all acknowledge that men & women are different, not just physically but our early training & roles deliver a different version of life. There are also many studies on the fact that our brains are wired differently along with the fact that we are ruled by different hormones. It was suggested by many that women generally perform better with management & teams & human factors in business & often attribute their success to others. Due to their varied roles & responsibilities they also seem to be able to manage both home & business well. Women may tend to take business more seriously than men. However it was also suggested that women can be just as competitive & ambitious as men, particularly when that is encouraged & supported.

How does the Female Market Impact Investment?
The female market is huge particularly in online businesses & drives a lot of revenue. Women are also a tougher market to target as they are more demanding. Therefore having more women in startups means that the teams have better insight into customer needs. They could possibly serve those markets better & therefore achieve greater success. Female entrepreneurs could inspire confidence in investors who are looking to reap benefits from this huge market.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Female Entrepreneurs
Are women even interested in becoming entrepreneurs? A great many small businesses are run by women so it follows that the answer should be yes. The demands of startups are great however & there are adjustments & learning curves that may need to happen for women to embrace the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Women have been proved to be good credit risks & are a major force now in business so there possibly needs to be a new focus on the strengths of women in business to counteract old erroneous images in the culture. In the technical world there is a certain stereotype of the young, white, male geek that has been the driving force in startups & with funders. It is important that female entrepreneurs challenge this stereotype & leverage their differences that can lead to success both in their startups & in achieving funding. The best way to challenge this stereotype is to be disruptive with new ways of solving problems & working in businesses that can also achieve success & make for great startups.

Raising Capital
A lot of feminine strengths may not match up to historical & media portraits of successful entrepreneurs. This could mean that some women may need to learn skills & shore up certain qualities to be a good fit. Many tips & hints have been included in these interviews. Many spoke about the need for great female entrepreneurial role models & mentoring of women both by men & women, which includes peer mentoring as well. Women entrepreneurs may also need to learn about the venture & angel industry & to identify the best investors to whom they should pitch their startup. There are now many women friendly investors, all of those interviewed in this book at the very least. It is helpful to establish networks & to get to know investors before stepping up to the plate to raise investment capital. This can help a female entrepreneur’s general confidence & help her identify the best avenues for her to target.

Female Venture Capitalists
Female venture capitalists are a very small percentage of the venture industry. It was noted that many successful entrepreneurs become venture capitalists later in their careers & due to the small numbers of female entrepreneurs this has limited the number of female venture capitalists. The problem is the funnel & by increasing the numbers of female entrepreneurs, that will also increase the numbers of female venture capitalists. There are a few great organizations that encourage & support young girls to study science, maths & engineering like NCWIT & Anita Borg Institute. Also if investment firms allow for mentoring & encouraging women into their ranks, this too will increase the numbers.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Advantages of Being a Female Entrepreneur
One of the current advantages of being one of the few female entrepreneurs is that you are noticed & often remembered more than men. If an investor is conscious of bias then this could work to her advantage. If women entrepreneurs can deliver the necessary requirements when pitching & develop the qualities that investors are looking for, then they should not be held back from raising capital.

What do Female Entrepreneurs have Going for Them?
Consumer internet has already a number of successful women & this may be an area that women feel comfortable leveraging their considerable strengths to achieve successful startups initially. By leveraging women’s strengths, resourcefulness & creativity there is no reason why more female startups cannot succeed. By networking, creating fabulous teams & advisory boards & managing their businesses & staff well, women can win the startup & venture game

Importance of Being Yourself
It was stressed by most investors & founders that it is crucial to the success of a startup & raising funding to be yourself. Being a minority, women may be under pressure to act like men but most of those interviewed suggested that it was important for entrepreneurs to be authentic when pitching for investment. Therefore acting like a man is out of the question, unless of course you are one? It does not help anyone’s confidence & sense of presence if they are not relaxed & comfortable with whom they are, no matter what gender.

Potential Challenges
Women's receptivity to others may at times undermine their confidence & they may not come across as brash as some men. However a positive focus & encouragement can easily change this issue. It was also noted that extreme aggressiveness is required to achieve success in business. This may be a key factor that holds some women back. There may also be a challenge for women in their style, finding a middle path between being empathic & warm & making tough decisions. It is of course possible for women to become very balanced in these different modes of operating or feeling. Women may have higher toleration rates of unfriendly or unsupportive people around them. Inner strength & confidence raise awareness of this propensity & skills such as assertiveness, active listening & negotiation can be learnt. Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Importance of Confidence
Everyone spoke about the need for extreme confidence & passion in entrepreneurs when building their businesses & raising capital. Women often attribute their success to others or circumstance & may not focus enough on building a healthy ego container. Our training & our culture encourage us to put others first, as the principal care takers in the community. It is helpful to stay objective & ensure that you have great data & research to show investors that your startup can succeed. Having the necessary requirements to inspire confidence in investors & knowing the data well can be the best confidence boost. A healthy ego makes for a balanced person & a great business. Overconfidence & brashness may be confused with authentic confidence but many investors suggested that this can be a turn off & doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence! Women are often great consensus takers but ultimately a good CEO will be able to make her own decisions after listening to her advisors

Risk & Failure
Many people that I interviewed suggested that also women can be less risk tolerant than men. Risk always implies the possibility of failure. Women may take risk more seriously than men; it may feel more like a life & death challenge. If women are not exposed or interested in sports when they are young, the question remains are there other ways to support them in being willing to sustain risk & failure & at times to even enjoy the thrill. We need to encourage the competitive urge without damaging women’s receptivity to others.

Think Big – Scale your Business
Whereas many men have big dreams, women may tend to ‘think too small’. This may stem hormonally from our primary focus on the immediate people in our care or responsibility. Historically big picture thinking & exploring may have just been the domain of the male hunters. However this can easily be learnt & changed if needed. Women’s sports & working on teams can provide confidence in winning & losing on a big scale.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Money
Another big issue is that women don’t like to ask for money & this many mentioned. Of course this is a huge problem if you are an entrepreneur & you must pitch for funding. You definitely have to become comfortable with asking for money! There seems to be something deeply ingrained in us as women that we should do what we can with what we have.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Possible Hindrances
Then there is the challenge of the intensity & crazy lack of balance in startup culture that is not appealing to many women who value their family & personal lives. This necessitates women’s organizations & networks, along with individual female entrepreneurs developing their own version of startup culture. Creativity is necessary to match the time demands & pressures. A few mompreneurs spoke about thinking outside the box & solving these problems.

Sex & Power
One of the big differences for female entrepreneurs is the physicality of their gender. Some had been propositioned by investors. It is important that both investors & women keep clear about sexual boundaries in the pitching process. Everyone needs to understand that funding is based on merits of the startup & team. However when chemistry does happen between people who are looking to work together, it can easily be mistaken for sexual chemistry because it comes from the same place in us, our passion! Rather than pretending this important part of the creative process doesn’t exist or misinterpreting it by fearing it, literalizing & acting out sexual innuendo or relationship, investors & women entrepreneurs need to respect & honor this chemistry so that they can work together successfully. Investors need to take this risk along with the financial risk, just as Dave does & know that this is fertile energy to harness & work with a female entrepreneur & do great things. And female entrepreneurs should not be afraid of the power of this chemistry & its transformative affect on them & their business.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Children
Female entrepreneurs may choose to segment their careers around child rearing ages before & after or not but it is important that investors do not prejudice their choices in funding an entrepreneur on supposition that they will abandon their business to start a family. For female entrepreneurs it is important to address the elephant in the room (as Mark Suster suggests) & update investors even before they ask, how they have prioritized their business & family issues.

Helping Other Women
Many people suggested that things will change is when more women help other women. Most women are juggling a lot on their plates but that does encourage empathy for others in the same boat. There are already some great organizations that support female entrepreneurs like Astia, Pipeline Fund & Women2.0. However it is on each one of us to do what we can for other women as we move forward. The female startup ecosystem will only become stronger & therefore will be more conducive for meritocratic funding.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

Investors Position
The role of a venture capitalist is to support & encourage & fund startups to become successful & profitable businesses. It is a cottage industry & has developed its own culture. As with the startup culture it is composed mainly of men & even though they deal with risk in a major way, it has been shown to be an industry that is slow to change. Limited Partners who provide the funds to venture firms are resistant to change & insist on continuing with a model that is possibly broken. As Chris Dixon said to me “They're people that work at pension funds, endowments etc. and just like in any situation where somebody is investing on behalf of somebody else, there's what economists call 'agency problems'.” Despite this background challenge in the industry, the one constant that we all face is change & the venture industry will not be immune to this force of nature, particularly as it hits the bottom line. All the venture capitalists that I interviewed were open & willing to invest in great female founded ventures. Some have already discovered the benefit & advantages of being ahead of the pack & are deliberately investing in great women led startups. And of course venture capitalists & angel investors will ultimately benefit more when there are greater numbers of female startups.

Disadvantages of Investing in Similarity
Because women think differently & see the world through different eyes than male entrepreneurs there may be great opportunity now. If we encourage openness with each other & respectful networking then all will benefit. This is also the path to improve economies in the western world which continue to suffer from collapses in past years that were led by mainly by men in the financial industry. This hardly tapped potential of accessing female business leaders through encouraging more female entrepreneurs to build great startups & be funded with venture & angel capital could bring the prosperity that we all want.

Why are Women Funded Less Than Men? a crowdsourced conversation

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