Dana Kanze: The real reason female entrepreneurs get less funding

Dana Kanze speaks about the implicit gender bias in venture pitches.

Dana Kanze is a doctoral fellow at Columbia Business School and she realized that the social psychological theory of regulatory focus, by Tory Higgins, might provide be a fruitful research method for understanding the implicit gender bias in venture funding.

Women own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, but female entrepreneurs get only two percent of venture funding. What’s causing this gap?

Dana Kanze

Regulatory focus refers to two poles of focus that relate to motivation and goal attainment. The regulatory focus of prevention is a conservative approach that prioritizes safety, security and protection. The regulatory focus of promotion is an achievement orientation that prioritizes potential, growth and advancement.

Kanze’s discourse analysis of pitches showed that questions by potential investors would pigeon hole presenters as either promotion-focus or prevention-focus leaders – and this occurred along gender lines. Interesting and powerful analysis!

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