Male and female entrepreneurs are not treated equally by venture capitalists, according to researchers who were invited to silently observe and transcribe hours of startup company pitches and subsequent investor conversations.

The language used to describe male and female entrepreneurs was radically different. And these differences have very real consequences for those seeking funding.

The study: Three researchers from Luleå University watched and transcribed a group of seven Swedish governmental venture capitalists, as they met with 125 startup founders. Their goal was to better understand VC decision-making, while the investors hoped that the findings could help them improve their own process. But the results were different than either side expected.

Language examples: Unproven, young male founders were referred to as "promising," whereas unproven, young female founders were referred to as "inexperienced." Or "Cautious and sensible" vs. "too cautious."

Funding results: Female founders on average received 25% of their ask, compared to a 52% mark for the men. A majority of women (who comprised 21% of the sample) were denied funding altogether, while only 38% of men were turned down.

American translation: Yes, this is Sweden rather than Silicon Valley. But:

  1. Women own around 1/3 of all businesses in Sweden, so its hardly a more chauvinistic market in this regard.
  2. Government VCs actually are required to take "European equality criteria and multiple gender requirements" into account when making their decisions, which highlights just how deep these unconscious biases run.
  3. Two of the seven VCs were women, which is a higher percentage than would be seen in most U.S. venture firms.

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Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down and will be replaced by Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who currently serves as Trump's envoy for Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. Abrams will continue to serve in his role as Venezuela envoy.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 18,860,908 — Total deaths: 708,676— Total recoveries — 11,394,821Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 4,834,546 — Total deaths: 158,445 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Fauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery — Teladoc and Livongo merge into virtual care giant.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.