Abstract

It is well documented that women-led businesses continue to experience difficulties in the acquisition of private equity capital. The majority of studies have investigated the role of gender of the entrepreneur, however, disparity in funding of women-owned to men-owned businesses may not only be limited merely to gender of the entrepreneur, but also to the gender of the “market” that the business is in, whether led by a woman or not. The gender of the market may lead to incongruence in gender salience for investors, given the paucity of women investors, at both at the VC and angel investor level. In this study, we assess the type of business – if “female” markets receive the same level of early-stage funding interest as “male” markets. To illustrate this, we look no further than Sarah Blakely and her company Spanx, a women’s panty hose/body shaper manufacturer which is now a billion dollar company and never received venture capital investment, but we wondered and sought to determine, would it have?

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