Innovation & technology
InnoPodcast: Fighting for a place in a male-dominated world
The tech world is male-dominated. The consequence? The potential of many female founders goes unnoticed. Déborah Loye from SISTA is advocating for an equal playing field – and is fighting against bias and sexist questions in the venture capitalist sphere.
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It is not only the tech world that is hostile to women, but also the industry of venture capitalists (VCs) and angel investors. Déborah reports that around half of the largest investment funds of Parisian venture capitalists do not have a single woman among their partners. The lack of diversity is reflected directly in the companies that receive the funding. “The questions venture capitalists ask women are not the same as those they ask men,” says Déborah. “Women are considered to be less ambitious and they are seen as having less of a risk appetite.”
Why are men wrongly considered to be more successful?
One of the reasons for these beliefs is an implicit bias. The predominantly male investors have an attitude towards women that they apply sweepingly to all female founders. Déborah explains what this means and the resulting impact is in this episode. She also explains the roles of counterfactual thinking and survivorship bias in this context.
Those behind venture capital investment, and indeed the venture capital industry, are limited partners, mostly pension funds and corporates. They provide VCs with the capital for the startup investments. They usually want to pull out after around five years, and get a hefty return. Yet the outcome is by no means certain. When investing, it helps to listen to your supposedly reliable gut feeling, but in doing so, you fall directly into the trap of implicit biases.
More than twice as much funding capital for men
Déborah has proven the lack of diversity, and the resulting unequal playing field, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. Male founders receive 2.3 times as much funding as female founders. But the trend is moving in the right direction: up until a year ago, the figure stood at 2.5 times as much funding. But we still have a long way to go.
Women have to fight harder in this male-dominated world. According to the study, it is expected to take until 2055 until gender parity is achieved in founding teams in France. Too long for Déborah. Listen to the new episode of the InnoPodcast to find out how Déborah connects female founders with venture capital and helps VCs to stop falling into the bias trap.
Déborah Loye studied French literature and economics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland before moving to Paris to work as a journalist (working for La Liberté, among others). As CEO of SISTA she has been advocating for equal opportunities in the female founders scene since 2020.
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