Women are better at crowdfunding, but miss out on the big bucks

12 Jul 2017

Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Despite well-documented inequality within VC funding for women entrepreneurs, those who crowdfund actually surpass men, but not financially.

A new survey from PwC charting the experience of men and women in the competitive space of crowdfunding has found some surprising statistics, which show that despite being a male-dominated space, women on average outperform men in raising funding.

The report – entitled Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential – was looking particularly at crowdfunding as opposed to more traditional routes, with 450,000 campaigns analysed.

In almost every other field – despite larger numbers of women starting their own businesses – men continue to reap greater amounts from venture capital funding, with recent research finding problems in the way questions are asked to entrepreneurs in a pitch.

Trend appears global

According to the PwC and The Crowdfunding Center report, however, in crowdfunding, women-led campaigns were 32pc more successful at reaching their funding target than start-ups led by men.

Even in sectors where male participation dominates, such as the technology sector (so much so that women crowdfunders make up just one in 10 there), women-led campaigns are more successful, at 13pc to 10pc, respectively.

Despite the fact that men typically seek higher funding targets, projects led by women were found to achieve a greater average pledge amount ($87) than men ($83).

Women were also shown to be more successful at meeting their targets, with 22pc achieving their goal compared to 17pc of men.

While the US and the UK currently dominate in terms of the number of crowdfunding campaigns, growing markets have also shown a similar trend, where women in E7 countries (China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey) outperform men in achieving their goal by 10pc to 3pc, respectively.

Not all good news

It isn’t all so one-sided, however, as the report also showed that men continue to use seed crowdfunding substantially more than women, and raise a lot more finance than women-led campaigns.

Statistically, 89pc of campaigns were led by men, raising more than $1m, compared with women who accounted for just 11pc.

Speaking of the findings, co-founder and CEO of The Crowdfunding Center, Barry E James, said: “Who could have expected that when the middlemen are removed from the equation, and women and men entrepreneurs get equal and direct access to the market, it would turn out that women would, immediately and decisively, outperform the men, across the board?

“That only half as many women currently embark on a crowdfunding campaign is undoubtedly a reflection of low expectations stemming from the same roots.”

One Irish entrepreneur who has found success through the crowdfunding model is Inspirefest speaker and Sugru inventor Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh, who announced earlier this year that her company had surpassed its £1.5m funding target.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic