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Networking Frictions in Venture Capital, and the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

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  • Sabrina T. Howell
  • Ramana Nanda

Abstract

Exploiting random variation in the number of venture capitalist (VC) judges assigned to panels at Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition (NVC) between 2000 and 2015, we find that exposure to more VC judges increases male participants’ chances of founding a VC-backed startup after HBS much more than this exposure increases female participants’ chances. A survey suggests this is in part because male participants more often proactively reach out to VC judges after the NVC. Our results suggest that networking frictions are an important reason men benefit more than women from exposure to VCs. Such frictions can help explain part of the gender gap in entrepreneurship, and also have implications for how to design networking opportunities to facilitate financing of the best (rather than just the best networked) ideas.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabrina T. Howell & Ramana Nanda, 2019. "Networking Frictions in Venture Capital, and the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship," NBER Working Papers 26449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26449
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    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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