Due to the novelty of their technology base and the multiple goals pursued by their entrepreneurial teams, academic spin-offs (ASOs) suffer information asymmetries with investors that impair their ability to raise finance. In line with the signaling theory, we expect that observable features of an ASO can mitigate such information asymmetries, especially in conditions of higher uncertainty about the venture. We put forward that a larger share of capital owned by female shareholders adds to such uncertainty due to their outsider condition in academic entrepreneurship and the negative bias of investors against female entrepreneurs. Through a multi-level Tobit regression on a sample of Italian ASOs, we find that the amount of private investment is negatively associated with the degree of female ownership and positively associated with the investment of the parent university and full professors. The latter two factors moderate the relationship between the degree of female ownership and private investment so that it becomes less negative. The results provide evidence of the persisting gender gap in entrepreneurial finance and highlight the role of parent universities in closing such a gap.

For what they are, not for what they bring: The signaling value of gender for financial resource acquisition in academic spin-offs

Lauto G.
;
Visintin F.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Due to the novelty of their technology base and the multiple goals pursued by their entrepreneurial teams, academic spin-offs (ASOs) suffer information asymmetries with investors that impair their ability to raise finance. In line with the signaling theory, we expect that observable features of an ASO can mitigate such information asymmetries, especially in conditions of higher uncertainty about the venture. We put forward that a larger share of capital owned by female shareholders adds to such uncertainty due to their outsider condition in academic entrepreneurship and the negative bias of investors against female entrepreneurs. Through a multi-level Tobit regression on a sample of Italian ASOs, we find that the amount of private investment is negatively associated with the degree of female ownership and positively associated with the investment of the parent university and full professors. The latter two factors moderate the relationship between the degree of female ownership and private investment so that it becomes less negative. The results provide evidence of the persisting gender gap in entrepreneurial finance and highlight the role of parent universities in closing such a gap.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1228405
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