Male and Female Entrepreneurs Get Asked Different Questions by VCs — and It Affects How Much Funding They Get by Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, Mark A. Conley and E. Tory Higgins

TL;DR - VCs are biased against women during pitches.

Helpfulness -5

Topic Tags - Women in VC, pitching, bias, statistics, current VC, problem

Questions answered:

  • What Biases do women in VC face?
  • Where is VC headed?
  • Why is there so little female funding?


  • Women only get 2% of VC funding but own 38% of businesses. (2017)
    • This was predicted to change as more women went into VC, but even as more women took positions in VC, the funding gap became bigger.
  • Promotional questions “focused on hopes, achievements, advancement, and ideals.”
  • Prevention questions “is concerned with safety, responsibility, security, and vigilance.”
  • 67% of the questions men were asked was promotional. 66% of the questions women were asked was prevention.
  • Promotional questioned people raise 7x prevention questioned people. $16.8m v $2.3m
    • Each preventional question ~$3.8m less raised
  • “We also noticed that the majority of entrepreneurs (85%) responded to questions in a manner that matched the question’s orientation: A promotion question begets a promotion answer, and a prevention question begets a prevention answer.”
    • positive feedback loop, VCs follow up with same type questions
    • This is a big deal because pitchers mush present a ‘home run’ scenario, not a ‘you won’t lose money scenario’
  • These findings are re-creatable with similar results