We all know, too well, that the gender pay gap is still alive and kicking. But did you also know that there’s currently an investment and funding gap wreaking havoc on female-led businesses, too?
When it comes to the difference in financial support available for men and women launching a new venture, research shows that men are at least 86% more likely to secure venture capital funding, and 59% more likely to land an angel investor.
Despite the number of women setting up up their own companies rapidly climbing, most are reportedly doing it with 50% less capital than men, and considerably less help, too.
While all of that may be somewhat deflating for the female entrepreneur, there is good news; crowdfunding, and its far more democratic approach to raising cash, appears to be an arena where women dominate.
It’s for this reason, fuelled by all of the above, that a new crowdfunding platform has launched, with a specific focus on helping women secure the funds they need to get their startups off the ground.
Hailing from the States, iFundWomen has been launched by Karen Cahn and her all-female team, with a ‘pay it forward’ mentality at the core.
“There is such a massive funding gap for women in venture. It’s a little-known fact that women only get about 2 to 6 percent of venture dollars,” she tells The Cut. “We knew we had to do something about that.”
Despite a recent study finding that 41% of the most successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns are, in fact, led by women, Cahn believes that this alone isn’t enough to change the game for female entrepreneurs.
“We need coaching, we need video-production services, we need a community, we need women encouraging other women. So many of us don’t have access to Silicon Valley VCs and the white dudes who run the show,” she says.
“Before you submit your application [for funding on iFundWomen] we will get on the phone with you and talk about where you are, what your business is, what you’re trying to do,” she adds, noting that this is all about giving women a complete, and genuinely helpful, service.
“We want it to be a process where we really care. And we want to make sure we’re elevating qualified entrepreneurs.”
As with most other crowdfunding platforms, Cahn’s venture still takes a 5% cut. But an innovative business model means that 20% of all profits are pushed back into efforts to ‘pay it all forward’.
“We directly reinvest 20% of our fees into live campaigns on the site,” she explains.
“We wrote a simple algorithm that predicts if a crowdfunding campaign is going to be successful or not, and we’re going to invest money into the ones that are close enough to make it.
“We want to put these projects over the edge.”
For information on what crowdfunding could do for your business, visit ifundwomen.com.