In a world where women business owners have long struggled to access startup capital, crowdfunding has been heralded as an exciting new answer. The idea is that female entrepreneurs can sidestep more traditional funding routes that, statistically speaking, have often not worked in their favor, and instead, leverage their personal networks to source money for their ventures.
Though the concept originated in the late 1990s, crowdfunding truly came into its own about a decade later, when now-giants like Indiegogo and Kickstarter were founded. As time passed, experts saw how crowdfunding benefitted women business owners in particular — both American Express OPEN Forum and the National Women’s Business Council have cited crowdfunding as a boon for female entrepreneurs. The NWBC even went so far as to call it “a key resource in advancing women’s access to capital.”
We, too, have celebrated the opportunity that crowdfunding offers to women-led ventures, both through interviews with the likes of Plum Alley founder Deborah Jackson, and our fortnightly crowdfunding column.
But has being able to pass the online hat truly leveled the entrepreneurial playing field?
The folks at Crowdfund Productions have put together an infographic with statistics from Kickstarter, which reveals that women lag quite far behind men in benefiting from crowdfunding. For example, of the top 10 most-funded campaigns to date, none were started by women. And the more “female-friendly” categories on the site tend to receive the least amount of money. In fact, money pledged to campaigns in those categories accounts for just 3 percent of all funds contributed to Kickstarter campaigns.
It’s definitely food for thought. We wonder, are women entrepreneurs failing to take full advantage of this plum opportunity to raise funds? Or are we as a society failing to support them in their endeavors? Perhaps it’s both? At least one thing is clear: crowdfunding offers unprecedented access to money for many female entrepreneurs who need it, but there is significant room for improvement in their ability to actually collect.
Check out the infographic below, and let us know what you think in the comments section.