This research was commissioned by The National Women Business Council (NWBC) and prepared by A2F Consulting LLC to explore the distinct relationship between crowdfunding and women entrepreneurship, and develop a deeper understanding of crowdfunding as capital source. The research aims to: i) identify and document available demographic and other descriptive quantitative information on crowdfunding, including equity crowdfunding; ii) identify gender differences in crowdfunding in terms of industry, goals, investors, platforms used, and success; iii) document existing policies that may support or hinder women’s participation in crowdfunding campaigns; iv) provide additional information and guidance to women entrepreneurs seeking to raise capital through crowdfunding; and v) provide policy recommendations for supporting women entrepreneurs.
This report is organized as follows: i) a brief overview of platforms; ii) detailed review of the existing literature; iii) insights into the data perspective and data availability, as well as common challenges facing researchers regarding data; iv) descriptive analysis of pre-scraped datasets using data from Kickstarter (i.e. one of the largest reward-based crowdfunding platforms in the U.S.); and v) conclusion. Literature review and descriptive analysis constitute two primary sections of this report. The literature review synthesizes existing research related to crowdfunding as a capital source, with a focus on women-run crowdfunding campaigns and descriptive analysis that incorporates high-quality sources of available data to analyze the observed patterns and provide an in-depth description of crowdfunding as capital source. In the conclusion section, we summarize the key findings from the literature and descriptive analysis, as well as policy directives derived from the research.