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Study: Women are more likely to succeed in Kickstarter projects than men

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Men and women are still facing some disparities in the working environment: Female workers on average are paid 77 cents for every dollar male workers make; only 4.2 percent of chief executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are women.

But a recent study shows women actually outperform men in raising money online via crowdfunding sites, such as Kickstarter, where backers make monetary contributions to projects they like in exchange for small rewards – sharing a piece of the project and getting limited editions of the creative works, etc.

The study, written by Jason Greenberg, assistant professor at New York University, and Ethan Mollick, assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania, randomly selected 1,250 proposed projects from 2010 to 2012 that sought at least $5,000 from five categories including gaming, technology, film, fashion and children’s book publishing. The categories were chosen based on the gender distribution of project founders and backers. Gaming and technology are male-dominated; film is evenly weighted; fashion and children’s book have higher proportions of women founders and backers.

The study found that, overall, women are 13 percent more likely to meet their Kickstarter goals than men, and the effects are most evident in areas like technology. While less than 10 percent of the technology projects are accounted for by women-led teams on Kickstarter, 65 percent of the technology projects founded by women reached their fundraising goals, compared with just 30 percent of male-led ventures succeed.

Crowdfunding is a viable source for entrepreneurs to get initial financing for their new ventures. In a separate 2014 study, Mollick and other researchers also found that 90 percent of successful crowdfunding projects turned into ongoing ventures. For example, Oculus Rift, a virtual reality firm that was crowdfunded, was bought by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014.

Mollick wrote that women’s success on Kickstarter is primarily driven by female backers who disproportionately supports female founders in areas like technology, where women have long been underrepresented. Another reason, provided by Alicia Robb, a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is that female entrepreneurs tend to launch ventures that seek less financing than men, according to the Wall Street Journal. But women are still more successful in crowdfunding even when they are asking for similar amounts of funding.

Besides women’s success on Kickstarter, the Wall Street Journal also cited data from another crowdfunding site Indiegogo that shows a similar trend. Indiegogo Inc. says women are 61 percent more likely than men to meet their financial goals on its site, where female-led projects account for 41 percent of small business, technology and other entrepreneurial campaigns that meet the funding goals.