Researchers have found a strong link between the physical attractiveness of male entrepreneurs and pitch success.
And they say that physical attractiveness doesn’t matter when it comes to women — the men still win more pitches.
Men outnumber women in entrepreneurship with nearly 90% of growing venture capital firms in the United States founded or led by men.
Dr Alison Brooks of Harvard Business School and colleagues tested whether entrepreneurs’ gender and physical attractiveness influence investment decisions.
Sixty experienced angel investors were shown video recordings of 90 randomly-selected verbal pitches made by entrepreneurs from various business sectors.
They also looked at non-professional investors and found that they also preferred the pitches of male over female entrepreneurs, regardless of pitch content.
And, again, they found that physically attractive males were more likely to be persuasive than less attractive males.
The researchers write:
“We find that investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches presented by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch is the same.
“This effect is moderated by male physical attractiveness: attractive males are particularly persuasive, whereas physical attractiveness does not matter among female entrepreneurs.”
Compared with men, women are likely to have fewer employees, lower growth projections, and lower levels of internationalisation.
In the United States, men engage in entrepreneurial activity at almost twice the rate of women. Among high-growth-potential ventures, only 11% of US firms with venture-capital backing, past and present, have been founded or led by women, and women-led ventures have received only 7% of all venture funds.
The research is an article ‘Investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men’, published today in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
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