According to the latest figures from the British Business Bank, only 9% of angel investors in the UK were women in 2017 (up from 5% in 2003).
There is also evidence of a “second glass ceiling” or “glass wall” effect in relation to women investors who do not have the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and experience to become angel investors. Compared to male investors, women are younger and less likely to have business experience as a CEO of an entrepreneurial company or in an MBO. This suggests that the increase in female angel investors is attracting women from different backgrounds and attitudes and experiences, and with correspondingly different development needs and expectations.
In terms of networking, women were less likely to be members of angel groups, which are almost exclusively male members, suggesting that investors prefer to invest in the angel market. Other recent evidence suggests that women are less likely than men to invest as individual investors (15% vs. 23%) and are three times less likely to lead certain investment syndicates (British Business Bank 2018).
Consequently, women and men appear to be different in how they participate in angel groups. Although women are members of angel groups (mostly male-dominated), they do not participate as fully as men and do not use the knowledge and opinions of other investor members as fully.
There are differences between the profile and behavior of women in women-only networks and in male-dominated networks. Members of all-female groups are significantly less likely to have board-level experience and appear to be more risk-averse than members of mixed networks.
The environment provides both a learning opportunity and a “safe space to invest.” Finally, they are much more open to the opinions of others (in the form of group gatekeepers and other investors). This finding reinforces the idea that all-female groups can provide a positive environment for female angels to hear the opinions of other investors.