Women entrepreneurs are amongst the fastest growing group of business owners within the United States. While women-owned businesses have similar performance, based on ROA, and four-year survival rates as men-owned companies (Robb & Watson, 2012), women have more difficulty than men attracting growth and expansion capital (Greene, Brush, Hart, & Saparito, 2001). In one study, investors and nonprofessional evaluators preferred pitches presented by men even when the content was the same (Brooks & Colleagues, 2014).

This study supplements this discussion by examining angel funding patterns on the hit TV show “The Shark Tank,” which features business owners seeking capital for growth or expansion. Using a mixed-method content analysis strategy, we examine how women-owned businesses fare in pitching their businesses to the “Sharks” using a “social construction of gender” lens (Acker 1990; West & Zimmerman, 1987).