Gender Gap in Start-Ups and Access to Financing
The issue of gender inequality in the tech industry has been making headlines over the past year. The most prominent technology companies – most notably Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter – have released reports that disclose just how diverse their workforce is, detailing the percentage of men vs. women, as well as the ethnicity of their employees. The results? From a gender perspective, the employees of these companies are overwhelmingly male (about 70-80% on average).
New York Times writer Claire Cain Miller commented on these results: “There can be a sexist culture that turns away women, as evidenced by the high attrition rate among technical women as compared to men. And women who try to start tech companies face exclusion by a venture capital network dominated by a chummy fraternity of men.”
We decided to turn our attention to this very issue, analyzing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and startups. We used as reference the AngelList database, a platform that lists over 650,000 profiles of entrepreneurs, startup professionals, venture capitalists and business angels – globally. Using the NamSor API we determined the likely gender of every person that belongs to AngelList.
Before you see our results, it is important to point out that as a source, AngelList has a bias towards North America and towards startups that aim for a global market. For example, 1700 investors in AngelList are looking to invest in Vancouver – a city which has a local business angels ecosystem with about 13,000 members. Earlier this year, researchers have started to explore this database to analyse which start-up characteristics are most important to investors in early-stage firms [Stanford, May 2014].