NOTE: This article was originally published on the Unreasonable website, and has been cross-posted with permission.
Sean Peters is the Program Director of the Entrepreneurship Database, based out of Emory University in Atlanta. The database partners with accelerators around the world to help them measure the impact they have on the entrepreneurs they support. This blog accompanies their recent gender brief and highlights some key insights on women and early stage entrepreneurship.
At Unreasonable Group, we have a hypothesis that across markets, companies outperform other players in the market when they have more women in senior leadership and on their board of directors. And yet, these same companies seem to struggle in raising investment dollars relative to companies with more men on their teams. To this end, we have two questions: Do new ventures with women on their founding teams outperform their peers? And if a team has more women in roles of leadership, are they more or less likely to raise equity?
We hear frequently that it is harder for
female entrepreneurs to raise money. We also hear (from organizations like the Girl Effect Accelerator, 10,000 Women (Goldman Sachs), 5by20 (Coca-Cola), Value for Women, and WeConnect International) that mixed-gender or female-led teams are generally stronger and under-recognized versus the all-male teams that typically get funding.
“Founding teams with women on them tend to have higher revenues than all-male teams.”
So, is it true? Do the statistics back this up?
Over the past two years, we have been gathering information from entrepreneurs around the world who apply to dozens of accelerator programs we partner with. We then track the data from all of these ventures over time to try to answer these kinds of questions. Although we don’t have all of the answers yet, here’s what we’re seeing so far.
1. Mixed teams do better than all-male teams
Looking at data from 2,352 ventures with an average age of just over a year, we see that founding teams with women on them tend to have higher revenues than all-male teams. Mixed teams with a male lead entrepreneur tend to have a slightly higher bump than mixed teams with a female entrepreneur. But regardless of who’s the lead entrepreneur, these mixed-gender teams do better than the all-male teams. We see similar trend lines in tracking number of employees.