Researchers from Harvard Business School, Wharton, and the MIT Sloan School of Management have determined that venture capitalists like their pitches wrapped up in pretty packaging. If you’ve got a great idea but sense you’re not Adonis, consider hiring a male model to do the talking. Also of note, don’t even think about letting a woman make your presentation.
We identify a profound and consistent gender gap in entrepreneurship, a central path to job creation, economic growth, and prosperity. Across a field setting (three entrepreneurial pitch competitions in the United States) and two controlled experiments, we find that investors prefer entrepreneurial pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches presented by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch is the same. This effect is moderated by male physical attractiveness: attractive males are particularly persuasive, whereas physical attractiveness does not matter among female entrepreneurs. These findings fundamentally advance the science related to gender, physical attractiveness, psychological persuasion, bias, role expectations, and entrepreneurship