Abstract

Although literature in female entrepreneurship points out disparities in funding between men and women entrepreneurs, there is little research that examines if there are differences between men and women in the way they “ask” for capital. We examine investor pitches to determine if men and women craft language differently. We draw on theories of communicative style, public speaking and discourse analysis to investigate how rhetorical devices used by male versus female entrepreneurs may influence investor decisions. Using transcriptions of 185 pitches, we find that women do not apply rhetorical styles that have traditionally been attributed to women. Instead, women use more male “typed” language when pitching. Our findings suggest that female entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of the power of the spoken language and the impact of the words they use when pitching for VC funding.

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