The Startup Story 2: success rates and faulty filtering of opportunities

macho VCThere’s a terrific story by Sandy Plunkett on the subject of women and tech startups in The Age this week. It covers some of the issues I’ve alluded to in the previous post about startups, ‘The Startup Story and How bullshit it is’, only in much greater depth with a lot more expertise and experience.

I note that the manboys in the Startup Story have a 25% success rate – and that’s the ones that actually make it past the VC funding stage. Sandy talks about how rare it is for women to seek VC funding, but I wonder if it’s the other way around – that funders have an inherent bias towards those manboys, assuming they are more capable of handling large amounts of money without the distractions of family and so on.

I rather think it’s the reverse – women have proven themselves to be highly capable jugglers of time and resources if they can get a venture up and going without building in the concept of high growth and large investments. How many of the young men would just take their bat and ball and go home if there was no prospect of getting rich fast?

I’ve also got a serious question: could it be that women’s business ideas get filtered out much earlier in the startup development phase?

How would you react if a woman you met at a barbeque told you she was creating a babysitter app that helps parents pass on all the important emergency and practical information automatically? How much would you encourage her to work up her idea and pitch it to VCs? Would you judge her for letting her house become tip-like while she developed her idea? Would you change the subject to find out what her previous career was? How would the tech startup support world ever find out about her? How would she access the necessary expertise to get it designed and coded up?

Insert further research and reading here.



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