Are investor panels biased against the female pitch?
Over the past month, I have received some requests from female clients to help them overcome the bias they face from male panelists as they present at investor ‘pitch events’.
I was astounded. Here we are; Israel in 2017. A core assumed fundamental to the successful entrepreneurial sector is transparency – to allow everyone to come through and to have a chance. So why is there a problem?
Let me paraphrase their explanations. It appears that the overwhelming majority of the presenters and the panelists are of the male gender. And in parallel, any pitch event is supported by a number of pretty, youngish-looking females. And, for my clients, the male presenters look their part, many having come through the macho and pushy system of the army.
I am a business coach and mentor. I believe that I have prepared my people well. They are armed with a catchy story. Their business model is reasonably solid. They can explain the salient points of their markets succinctly. In return, they receive excellent, positive feedback all round. And yet with unvarying disappointment, they do not advance to the next stage.
There is a strong whiff of sexism in the air, latent or otherwise. So what can the female protagonist do about it? One of my suggestions is to exploit the tool of endorsements. Seek out opinion leaders or social movers who can vouch for you and / or your product. Their voice will make it very difficult for any chauvinist to play their cards.
I suppose it is an interesting question if these shakers and movers need to be male or female!