More than a third of LGBT+ entrepreneurs aren’t out to investors in America: Study

Joseph McCormick July 24, 2016
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Over a third of LGBT entrepreneurs are not out to investors, a new study has found.

As well as more than a third of LGBT entrepreneurs either funded or seeking funding for their project not being out, startups by LGBT+ people are at higher risk of discrimination.

This affects how people start their business, where it is located, and their ability to raise capital.


The relationships between entrepreneurs and investors is affected by people’s LGBT+ status, the study by StartOut has found.

The State of LGBT Entrepreneurship in the US is believed to be the first of its kind to look at the experiences of LGBT founders of high-growth companies.

Researchers analysed a survey of 140 LGBT+ entrepreneurs as well as a data set of more than 100,000 straight and LGBT+ founders, as well as extended interviews in order to capture a snapshot of the personal stories of the founders.

Key findings of the study suggest that 37 percent of LGBT+ entrepreneurs are not out, and 12 percent said they thought it would hurt them.

All of the investors interviewed said a good personal rapport was “critical” to strong business relationships.

The study also found that states with anti-LGBT or other discriminatory laws are losing jobs. Over a million jobs created by LGBT+ entrepreneurs have left states to more favourable ones.

But lesbian entrepreneurs were still at a disadvantage, according to the study.

12 percent of companies owned by gay, bisexual or trans men have a revenue of over $5 million, compared to just three percent of lesbian or bi women.

“With its broad implications, our hope at StartOut is that this report sparks a constructive and ongoing dialogue around the LGBT entrepreneurial community’s challenges and contributions in helping to grow the American economy,” says” Chris Sinton Chair Emeritus & Director, StartOut, Internet Philanthropist

“For female LBT founders it is not surprising at all that there is a higher “tax” for being a woman versus a member of the LGBT community, “says Mary E. Shea, Ph. D., StartOut Director and , Adjunct Assistant Professor of Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Founded in 2009 with chapters in New York City and San Francisco, StartOut is a national non-profit organisation fostering and developing entrepreneurship in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Related topics: startout, US

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