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Women Founders Outpace Male Counterparts In Certain Types of Kickstarter Funding 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the gathering-the-cash dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes Women outpace men when it comes to raising money for technology projects through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, according to a new study by researchers at New York University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Jason Greenberg (NYC) and Ethan Mollick (Wharton/UPenn) chose 1,250 Kickstarter projects in five categories: games and technology, where founders were predominantly male; film, with an even gender distribution; and fashion and children's books, both populated with more female founders and backers. They analyzed additional factors such as "industry typing" (a theory in which people 'often hold conscious or unconscious biases about what gender is the archetype employee in a particular occupation or industry') and restricted the data set by geography and how much money each Kickstarter project wanted (a project aiming for less than $5,000 may attract an inordinate percentage of family and friends as funders, skewing results). After crunching the data, they found that female founders of technology projects were more likely than males to achieve their Kickstarter goals, a finding that didn't extend to the other four categories. "It appears female backers are responsible for helping female founders succeed in specific industry categories that women backers generally disfavor," they theorized, adding a little later: "The value of crowdfunding is that it enables access to a pool of potential female backers particularly inclined to support women in industry categories in which they believe women to be underrepresented."
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Women Founders Outpace Male Counterparts In Certain Types of Kickstarter Funding

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  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:15PM (#47698889)

    It's not female solidarity. It's hot chicks taking men for chumps...kickstarter, no equity... requirements for supplying funding for nothing is chumpdum.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      yeah that was my first thought, totally perverted. things involving webcams and internet are counted as startups

    • No no no! It's a communal/national bias? belief? also held by Google [google.com], the NSF, and other organizations, that there is a value in increasing women's participation in STEM and therefore gives money to projects that preferentially train/enable women in the sciences.

      I don't believe Google and the NSF are run by women, and yet they share the bias. Also, at least for NSF, you don't have to submit a photo, so it's not just hot chicks . . .
      • Have you ever noticed how a hot chick will get frustrated and momentarily stand up on her toes then lets her heals drop to the ground. Making her boobs giggle.

        I like that and don't want them to stop!

        But do you think they are aware of what they are doing? (In general, I don't) Do you think mothers teach their daughters this trick? (No) Yet, many, many big boobed women display this body language.

        Why? Because it has gotten them what they want in the past! Human interaction is subtle and hot chickness ca

  • or you know, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It could be that women are more cautious and risk-averse and will generally not attempt a project that has only a marginal chance of succeeding.
    So the greater numbers of participating men make up for their lower success rates per man.

    If only you could convice more women to participate, their success rates would drop to be as low as the men's...

  • by slew (2918) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:20PM (#47698921)

    If a quality project can't raise money elsewhere from more traditional fund-raising sources, might this indicate a subtle case of pre-selection quality bias instead of an indication of any anything to do with kickstarter campaign odds?

    It could simply confirm that woman entrepreneurs often have less access to traditional funding sources because their industry contact lists are shorter in certain industries (which may or may not have anything to do with positive specific gender bias on kickstarter).

    This is also consistent with the fact that in industries that tend to have more even female representation, they apparently lost the bias they were measuring...

    I guess you can spin the results anyway you want...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Sarkeesian

    She basically takes $150,000 and takes a year to produce videos, until people complain with kickstarter about it being a scam, which were largely appropriated gameplay from other people's youtube channels.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/9-year-old-kickstarter-campaign_n_2949294.html

    millionaire mom goes onto kickstarter to give money to her daughter to make video games, using emotionally manipulative and (probably fake) family controversy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by frup (998325)

      While you outline a scam by a woman which is relevant to this article, for comparison, of female started projects, how many are scams and vice versa? I would be willing to bet there are more male scammers out there (proportionally) than females, just as males are more likely to commit crime.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:30PM (#47699809)

      She basically takes $150,000 and takes a year to produce videos

      You have the time line wrong:

      She creates kickstarter

      Some people complain, send her rape-death-threat messages, and turn her online harrassment into a sport.

      She reports about THAT on her blog.

      Supporters aghast at the abuse she was subjected to respond by donating to her kickstarter to the tune of 150k.

      At least that's what the wikipedia article you linked to says; near as I can tell.

      • Except what actually happened was she deleted everything BUT troll posts and very likely engaged in sockpuppeting in order to fake her victimhood.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:30PM (#47698993)

    As I read the article, the researchers couldn't determine the sex of the contributors to the Kickstarter projects. But they did notice that tech projects started by women had more success getting funding. Their laboratory experiment indicated some women are more likely to support other women. So they conclude that the Kickstarter projects have the same causation.

    I kind of wonder about that conclusion though. The type of person who would fund a Kickstarter project comes from a much different population than the (I assume) students they used in their lab. That said, it is a reasonable hypothesis. Obama certainly gets virtually all of the black vote, Hillary gets a lot of her support from women.

    • As I read the article, the researchers couldn't determine the sex of the contributors to the Kickstarter projects. But they did notice that tech projects started by women had more success getting funding. Their laboratory experiment indicated some women are more likely to support other women. So they conclude that the Kickstarter projects have the same causation.

      I kind of wonder about that conclusion though. The type of person who would fund a Kickstarter project comes from a much different population than the (I assume) students they used in their lab. That said, it is a reasonable hypothesis. Obama certainly gets virtually all of the black vote, Hillary gets a lot of her support from women.

      Yup.
      They're making wild assumptions about the genders of the backers and trying to drawn conclusions about that. They simply do not have that information and cannot approximate it, especially when they're claiming that gender plays a role in funding.

      • They're making wild assumptions about the genders of the backers and trying to drawn conclusions about that

        No, they have a hypothesis that may one day be tested on the entire population in question, they formed their hypothesis on the basis of laboratory tests, Extrapolation is a perfectly valid method of making a prediction (and quite possibly the only useful method), corporations and political organisations all over the planet spend gazillions on the results of such "focus group" tests.

        Of course nature is what it is and "the future" always reserves the right to to ignore our most confident predictions. In o

        • They're making wild assumptions about the genders of the backers and trying to drawn conclusions about that

          No, they have a hypothesis that may one day be tested on the entire population in question, they formed their hypothesis on the basis of laboratory tests, Extrapolation is a perfectly valid method of making a prediction (and quite possibly the only useful method), corporations and political organisations all over the planet spend gazillions on the results of such "focus group" tests.

          Of course nature is what it is and "the future" always reserves the right to to ignore our most confident predictions. In other words science is in the business of disproving its best answers by replacing them with better ones, it can never prove anything no matter how high you stack the data. If nobody has bothered with the question before then obviously the answer these people have is currently the best answer anyone has.

          I was a teenager in the 70's, the social and behavioural sciences have come along way since Feynman pointed out their fundamental problem [youtube.com], the findings from the "Stanford prison experiments" during the same decade is an important, uncomfortable, and sadly underrated example of an early "law of human behaviour".

          Uh, no. You can't extrapolate your lab setting to the real model when you don't have any info on the real model to base your lab setting on.
          Even if they knew the gender distribution of backers, AND of all visitors who ended up not backing, they still wouldn't be representing the Kickstarter model of people coming upon a Kickstarter of their own volition and deciding to support it or not.

          The ONLY way to get this data is for Kickstarter to provide it. The ONLY way to accurately approximate it is to replicat

    • Ya, it is not a ridiculous theory, but it is only a theory. Other experiments have found that women are often biased against other women, so who is to say which way that swings with KS projects.
    • by frup (998325)

      It is natural human behaviour to form a bond with those who are most similar to us. That is the structure of all societies. Tribalism.

      • by epyT-R (613989) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:38PM (#47700709)

        Right. The problem is that when women do it, it's considered 'empowering.' When men do it, it's considered sexist bigotry.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          The problem is that when women do it, it's considered 'empowering.' When men do it, it's considered sexist bigotry.

          Having a double standard for members of your own group vs. members of other groups is also natural human behaviour. Neither women nor feminists are any less hypocritical or power-hungry than humans in general. Every movement, no matter it's initial purpose, eventually degenerates into benefiting the people within at the expense of the people without, and at that point should be considered as h

    • Then again, whenever somebody complains about the lack of women in STEM fields, a whole lot of /. commenters say it's only natural, that there's sex differences.

      By that reasoning, women are just better at Kickstarter than men. Must be genetic.

  • Kickstarter Goals? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:36PM (#47699037) Journal

    Reading TFA is seems by 'Kickstarter Goal' they mean getting funded.
    Once you've got funded you have to actually do the thing you said you were going to do with the money.

    If people are using gender to determine who they are funding, they are presumably displacing more rational metrics, like "does the project make any sense?", or "Does this person seem competent to do what they claim they can do?'.

    Thus in those areas where gender bias is measurable in funding, I would assume the odds of eventual successful delivery to be reduced.

    • Newsflash, the vast majority of investments and purchases made by individuals are driven by emotion and circumstance, logic is way down the list when it comes to real life decisions, what most claim to be logic is actually rationalisation of emotions. If what TFA claims is true then these people are merely rationalising a high risk investment with a secondary social motive, so even if they lose their money they can be satisfied that some nebulous "social good" came out of it. They are trying to set things u
    • Just because you get funded doesn't mean you have to do shit. Kickstarter creates as much obligation as a hobo standing outside a liquor store asking for change "for the bus".

    • It could be that women have interesting ideas for products that are useful to other women, but that wouldn't get funding through traditional means. So it might not be that women are funding projects because they are started by women, but that because they are started by women they are projects that are interesting to other women.
    • by gay358 (770596)

      Reaching Kickstarter goal is not a good measure by itself. Reaching Kickstarter goal more often could mean that women just put their Kickstarter goals to more modest level than men do. Women tend to ask lower wages than men and it could be that women put their goals on Kickstarter to lower level than men do.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I think it's just that women tend to have more realistic goals and thus a better chance of achieving them. Well, it might not be gender related per-se, just that women tend to do more artistic and creative Kickstarters while technology related projects are more often proposed by males, and technology projects are often much harder to pull off.

      Look at the average artistic project. Lots of concept art or examples of what the person plans to make, hopefully with a reasonable plan to deliver. Now look at the av

      • I won't fund any electronics hardware project that appears to be asking for too little money. It's a sure sign they don't understand the scale of electronics manufacturing.

    • by phorm (591458)

      Maybe females were less likely to attempt kickstarting stupid things like booby apps etc, or their projects are more meaningful to a given audience. Remember, not every kickstarter is a geek toy etc, there are a lot of projects with a more personal/direct aim that may be able to easily solicit funds from a targeted audience.

      Then again, some dude managed to kickstart making potato salad for a ton of cash, so it seems there are still plenty of people out there to fund stupid projects too.

  • thank you. a new "code" phrase i plan to use.
    • by Megane (129182)
      When I read the summary, the first thing I thought of was that TBBT episode where Penny has to make a couple thousand thingamabobs. "Jewelry!", thought I. Then I saw the word "fashion". Yep.
  • Rational decisions? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manu0601 (2221348) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:10PM (#47700585)
    If I understand the summary correctly, women would be investing into projects just because the leader is female?
    • Or because women who start Kickstarter projects have ideas that are more interesting to women. The causality could be flipped.
      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        You need a set of male entrepreneurs posing as a women to check that. But after that study that should come quickly.
  • If you are a man and your have a women in your team, put her in front, whoever is the actual leader. Or maybe at least let your wife/GF/sister/whatever do the advertizing.
    I believe it should better if she is hot (but not slutty) as it should work on both men and women.

    This is assuming of course that the study is unbiased and that gender really matters (i.e. : causation, not simple correlation).

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