What is it about?

We find that the amount of private investment in an academic spin-off decreases with the share of equity owned by women. This is surprising because the main resources in a spin-off are knowledge and technology, which should be "gender-neutral". However, an increase in the equity investment of the parent university and full professors increase the amount of private investment. The positive effect of the investment of the parent university and full professors grows with the share of equity owned by women. While the equity owned by women is a negative signal of the quality of an academic spin-off, the equity owned by the parent institute and full professors are positive signals.

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Why is it important?

This piece of research shows that gender dynamics affect resource acquisition even in science and technology-based companies. Founders of spin-offs, the administration of universities, and investors should be aware of possible biases in financing decisions.

Perspectives

The features of the shareholders are an important signal about the credibility of a new venture. While women are a negative signal, women-led spin-offs can increase their credibility by partnering with high-reputation actors, such as their parent university and full professors.

Giancarlo Lauto
Universita degli Studi di Udine

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This page is a summary of: For what they are, not for what they bring: The signaling value of gender for financial resource acquisition in academic spin-offs, Research Policy, September 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2022.104554.
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