Female Founders See Great Revenue, Growth: Study

Female founders

Startups with female founders tend to outperform.

According to a new study from TINYpulse, female startup founders outpace their male counterparts in both revenue and growth.

The annual survey queried more than 100 startup founders and “thousands” of their employees. It found that only 14 percent of startup founders were women.

But that minority made a strong showing. When it came to small- or medium-sized startups, those with female founders had better-than-average revenue growth. The only anomaly: companies with 51-100 employees, where startups without a female founder had six percent better revenue growth. Still, the study notes: “The fastest-growing companies at 200 percent-plus growth, are 75 percent more likely to have a female founder.”

Female Startup Founders

Female founders have better revenue numbers

Women don’t need to go it alone, either. Having multiple founders (regardless of gender) has no meaningful impact on revenue. When it comes to company culture and the happiness of employees, all startup founders are off the mark: TINYpulse discovered that startup management tends to think things are better than employees do. As it notes: “Across the board, leaders are over-confident and have a blind spot on how well their company is performing culturally.”

Some 86 percent of leaders at smaller startups (i.e., less than 50 employees) rate the importance of culture “10 out of 10,” while only 71 percent of leadership at companies with over 50 employees have the same sentiment. Of those rating culture a priority, 90 percent say a “lack of available talent” constricts their growth. It could be that interviewees are just not a cultural fit, which sheds an interesting light on what “available talent” really means.

On the flip-side, startup leaders who prioritize culture at their company have lower unplanned attrition rates. Those who rate culture eight or nine out of 10 had 11 percent more attrition, according to this study.

What’s driving retention at startups, though? The same thing as any other company. In TINYpulse’s survey, employees say things like corporate transparency, happiness, feeling valued and benefits are important to them. If a gutsy startup can nail those disciplines, it has a better chance of keeping employees around.

Those disciplines will also help those firms when they scale. In the most recent Dice Salary Survey, employees note things like better pay and working conditions as reasons they were looking to jump to a new job. While the questions asked in each survey may be different, the undertone is the same: treat employees well and make them feel valued, and they’ll be loyal.

Startup employees want to know their jobs are secure, too. When asked what they were looking for when a company was being ‘transparent,’ an overwhelming number said understanding revenue and headcount was critical to them, suggesting they don’t want to be caught off-guard by layoffs or a business closing. Work-life balance figured last, which either means those employees have it already or just don’t know what they’re missing.

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