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Kickstarter Closes the ‘Funding Gap’ for Women

Women account for less than 8% of chief executives at venture-backed firms, occupy just 17% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies and own a mere 30% of all companies.

But early data suggest that they are outperforming men in another arena: raising money online via crowdfunding.

When Cheryl Kellond, 43 years old, launched a Kickstarter Inc. campaign to make women’s sports watches, she targeted women’s running and triathlon clubs and women who blog about fitness and running. She raised $408,000 in 2012 for Bia Sport Inc., which shipped its first 3,000 multi-sport GPS watches this spring. Most Kickstarter backers were female athletes, Ms. Kellond says, but the venture also attracted women “who wanted to support women doing something different.”

On Kickstarter, where backers make contributions in exchange for rewards, women-led companies account for less than 10% of technology projects. But roughly two-thirds of women-led technology ventures reached their fundraising goals versus just 30% of technology ventures with male founders, according to a new academic study.

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