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How Female Entrepreneurs Can Beat Investors' Gender Bias

How Female Entrepreneurs Can Beat Investors' Gender Bias
Forbes
By Jeff Kauflin
Published: October 13, 2017

Dana Kanze started noticing something funny about eight years ago, when she was pitching her startup to venture capitalists. As cofounder of Moonit Labs, a New York-based mobile app development company, she felt VCs were asking her substantially different questions than her male cofounder. She was CEO, while he was president and COO.

“I was repeatedly getting asked questions around potential losses and anything that could go wrong,” she says. “The questions for my male cofounder were about the company vision, its home-run potential, and anything that could maximize investor gains.” What made the differences even stranger was that the cofounders had similar backgrounds — both had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania about a decade earlier and had worked in investment banking afterward.

Kanze nevertheless led Moonit Labs to raise $3 million and rapidly grew revenue. But after five years, she gave up her startup career to pursue her dream of going into academia. She became a management science Ph.D. student at Columbia Business School, and last year she seized an opportunity to study the same bias she had experienced several years prior. Now she’s the lead author of a study published this summer in the Academy of Management Journal, “We Ask Men to Win and Women Not to Lose: Closing the Gender Gap in Startup Funding.”

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