These results relate to a study of Swedish Government VC's and funding decision making, where 7 VC's decided on 229 applications for funding.
Hold senior investors accountable,
for metrics and making progress
A quick measure of key metrics will tell the story of where you are,
with clarity on
what is happening
Lead from the top, partners convinced,
with knowledge to be convince others.
As a leader, ask tough questions, request data
and metrics and dig deeper for insights.
Transparency, share the metrics and results with teams internally, and even better, externally
eg. private equity firm 1
Simple measurements of key milestone points,
highlight the investment stage to question and act on,
and a quick track on impact.
Interested, curious, worth a quick check?
Take a quick count of your portfolio founders by gender.
Plot a graphic route from sources, IM review, pitch, to invested in.
What does it tell you is happening and where?
In your network for sources, do you tap into diverse networks?
How diverse is the room at networking events?
Listen & compare
Record your pitches, the Q&A, and post-pitch discussions.
Track Q&A questions by potential versus prevention.
In discussions, note where stereotype notions may appear. Compare comments back to business performance and founders skills/experiences, and check for disparities.
Or have a go yourselves with these questions
How are potential investments sourced?
Are the sources 'leaned'?
Do they tap into a diverse pool of business coaches, mentors, advisors and sector experts?
Who's in the room at the networking events they attend?
Do they invite a balanced list to their networking events?
Does their website and LinkedIn reflect and appeal to a diverse audience?
Do their web images project a predominately male profile of founders and teams?
Language & meaning
Are differences in gender (tendencies on average) for language getting lost in translation?
Same growth & risk, different approach
Do they hear a founder talk of growth options, and hear 'indecisive' rather than 'broad growth options give greater growth scope'?
Do they hear a founder discuss risk and hear 'risk averse' rather than 'calculated risk-taker'?
Do they ask questions with a balance of 'risk prevention' and 'growth potential' across pitches?
Would they consider an experiment to video-record pitch meetings, and compare questions?
Do they ask critic questions and find male founders tend to counter with reasons why not, and women tend to reflect on the question? If so, women founders can be taught/asked to maintain their openness to being coached, and in their answers give the stronger counter evidence that investors need.
Are they aware of how strong stereotypes are in impacting our decisions?
Stereotypes of gender based expectations of behaviour, crossed with stereotype images of how an entrepreneur looks and behaves, tend to find 'role incongruence' between 'feminine' behaviours and 'entrepreneurial' behaviours in our unconscious mapping of roles. These stereotypes have been proven to play out in post-pitch discussions, where investors unwittingly penalised female founders and bolstered male founders in their entrepreneurial potential.