Hot Men Have Advantage in Getting Startup Funds

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Thinking of pitching a new startup idea to a group of investors? You may want to find an attractive man to do it for you.

New research shows that investors are more receptive to ideas pitched by male entrepreneurs than those pitched by females, even when the content of the pitches is exactly the same. The findings are detailed in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge forum, and prove once again that handsome men rule the workplace.

One needs only to follow a bunch of models on Instagram to witness first-hand the numerous and varied advantages enjoyed by hotties. These advantages have also been well-documented by experts (see: the “beauty bias”, the “beauty penalty” and the “beauty premium” for examples).

But the new research found in “Investors Prefer Entrepreneurial Ventures Pitched by Attractive Men,” and published in the March 2014 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, proves that gender and attractiveness play a major role in the entrepreneurial process.

“Our paper provides concrete proof that gender discrimination exists in the context of entrepreneurial pitching,” Alison Wood Brooks, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who coauthored the paper, told HBSWK.

Sarah Wood Kearney

Just how big of an effect do looks and gender play? Men who were deemed attractive had a 36 percent increase in pitch success. Interestingly, attractiveness of female entrepreneurs had no clear correlation with the success of their pitches.

The findings are based on a series of three comprehensive studies designed to indicate the ways that looks and gender affect the entrepreneurial pitching, all of which are summarized at HBSWK.

Brooks and her colleagues plan to continue researching the gender dynamics within the workplace. While she admits the findings thus far are “more sad than surprising,” she says that campaigns designed to encourage female entrepreneurs – like “Ban Bossy” or “Lean In” – are a good start.