Did you know that women represent 19% of all European entrepreneurs and 27% of the entrepreneurs abroad? Or that only 5% of investment funds in the United States have a woman on their team? Did you know that less than 3% of all venture capital in the United States goes to startups headed by women?
The world of entrepreneurship and investment seems to be driven not by borders between countries but by gender. Where does this come from? In order to celebrate Women’s Day, Fellow Funders wanted to discuss the figure of the female entrepreneur and investor, so we interviewed some of the women entrepreneurs and investors. We had the opportunity to interview Mayte Pardo, Danielle D’Agostaro, and Elena García Armada in the last few months. From an entrepreneurial and investor perspective, these three women show us that, despite all the obstacles, there is still hope of closing the gender gap. Their insights are the key.
Danielle: “Investors finance those who look like them.”
Firstly, we must understand that the search for financing and investment activity is part of a whole. The scarce presence of women in the investment sector critically affects women entrepreneurs seeking investment. According to Danielle, a senior partner at the American fund WV Ventures, “Investors finance those who look like them. Therefore, a sector whose women outnumber men would attract less funding for women-led companies.”
Although Danielle knows firsthand the gender gap – especially in a sector where most of her colleagues are men – she brings us optimism from the other side of the pond. “Now that women have made their way in this world, a debate has arisen to explain why this disparity, resulting in greater awareness and steps to rectify it.”
Returning to our country, we look at the entrepreneurial women’s side of the coin. To this end, we interview two women whose projects have passed through our equity crowdfunding platform with a common denominator: success.
Elena: “It is important to visibilize women who lead projects.”
Elena is the CEO of Marsi Bionics and one of the Spanish scientists of the moment. According to Elena, the reason why the rate of female entrepreneurship is lower in Europe than elsewhere in the world is the result of a cultural issue. She believes that entrepreneurship and the world of business is one of the areas in which the inequalities women are experiencing are palpable. So, what’s the solution? According to Elena, the solution is to visibilize all women who lead business projects and who can act as a lever for this cultural change.
Still, there are reasons for optimism. One of them is crowdfunding, where women have a higher probability of success than men. According to Elena, “this has to do with the fact that crowdfunding is the most democratic way to obtain funding. What matters is the project and the idea”.
Mayte: ” We have proven that we are more than capable.”
Mayte, manager of the craft brewery Althaia and an insider in a sector traditionally dominated by men (the brewing industry), has a similar view. According to Mayte, when women entrepreneurs present their projects in this type of financing, ” we have proven that we are more than capable.” Mayte considers that the differences between men and women in terms of capacity are non-existent, as she tells us, “once we see ourselves as equals, all other advice they can offer you is the same whether you are a man or a woman.”
For Mayte, the main problem that women entrepreneurs face goes beyond the search for financing: “I notice that, unfortunately, we are still caregivers in the family and at home. It makes it very difficult to be an entrepreneur because you need to dedicate yourself 100% to it in order to be an entrepreneur. It takes courage.” Our three interviewees clearly do not lack courage. There is still a long way to overcome the kilometer-long gender gap that affects investment, financing, and entrepreneurship worldwide. However, there are reasons for optimism: Mayte Pardo, Danielle D’Agostaro and Elena García.