Women entrepreneurs who appear on ABC’s Shark Tank experience the same kind of unfair gender bias as they do in real-life Silicon Valley. Female contestants on the hit reality show receive fewer investments than male contestants do.
According to Mashable, when they do get money, female-fronted companies receive significantly lower valuations than businesses headed by men. According to data compiled by Rock Health CEO Halle Tecco, male founders received an average valuation of nearly $1.7 million, while women founders received an average of just over $781,000.
Studies have shown that venture capital firms that have women in senior positions are more likely to invest in companies led by women, so the show’s female contestants have better luck when the panel includes female investors. Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran invests in companies led by women 48% of the time, while inventor Lori Grenier invests 29% of the time. “It perfectly reflects what we see in Silicon Valley,” Tecco told Mashable. She also said, “Studies show that men are judged on their potential, whereas women are judged on what they already have accomplished. This means more bets are being placed on unproven men than unproven women founders.”
Tecco also points out the women on the show ask for less money than the males. “Something is happening during the negotiation where the sharks are driving the valuation down and women are willing to give up more of their company to close a deal,” she said.
Ann Crady Weiss, an entrepreneur who appeared on Shark Tank for her startup Hatch Baby told Mashable she does believe that venture capital wants to make change. “The industry is interested in bringing underrepresented people to the table. Diversity does create more success. They’re going to do it because it leads to better outcomes.”
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