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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.

Go deeper

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.