PhD 2016Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship University of Minnesota
Master of Business Administration 2004Babson College – F. W. Olin School of Business
Bachelor of Technology in Computer Engineering 1993Computer Engineering Manipal Institute of Technology, India
Digital Platforms, Entrepreneurship, Gender Gaps
Sofia Bapna is Assistant Professor and Lawrence Fellow at the Carlson School of Management, University of MN.
Dr. Bapna’s research interests lie in the areas of digital platforms, entrepreneurship, and gender gaps. They stem from her experience as a female information technology professional as well as her experience as an entrepreneur in the digital economy. This background has resulted in two research streams. The first focuses on women’s under representation in STEM fields such as IT. Her work in this stream increases our understanding of the reasons underlying women’s under representation, identifies interventions to reduce gender gaps in representation, and identifies the effectiveness of legislation aimed at increasing women’s participation in the workforce. The second stream focuses on entrepreneurship in the digital economy. Her research in this stream increases our understanding of how entrepreneurs can be successful raising capital through crowdfunding and how they can grow their online brand communities. It also sheds light on the democratization of access to capital through crowdfunding by helping us understand how women and non-traditional user-entrepreneurs fare when raising capital through equity crowdfunding.
Dr. Bapna’s work is inherently multidisciplinary in nature. It integrates perspectives from and contributes to research across information systems, entrepreneurship, and finance. Additionally, it employs randomized field experiments and sophisticated econometric methods with a strong focus on causal inference. She complements these approaches with surveys to gain insights into the underlying mechanisms at work.
A hallmark of Dr. Bapna’s research is that is engages with industry partners. It includes partnerships with a national funding agency that promotes innovation in Austria, an equity crowdfunding platform, a publicly traded staffing company in India, and an organization that hosts events that service the data science and technology community. These collaborations underscore the business relevance of her research.
Dr. Bapna’s work has been published in Management Science and MIS Quarterly, and is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation. She is a recipient of the INFORMS Information Systems Society’s Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award, the Association for Information Systems’ Early Career Award, and the Carlson School of Management’s Lawrence Fellowship.
Selected Works & Activities
Sofia Bapna (2017) Complementarity of Signals in Early Stage Equity Investment Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment. Management Science.
Sofia Bapna, Mary Benner and Liangfei Qiu (2019) Nurturing Online Communities: An Empirical Investigation. MIS Quarterly.
Bapna, Sofia, and Russell Funk (2021) Interventions for improving professional networking for women: Experimental evidence from the IT sector. MIS Quarterly.
Bapna, Sofia, and Martin Ganco (2021) Evaluating Gender Gaps in Equity Crowdfunding: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment. Management Science.
Bapna, Sofia, and Martin Ganco (2023) Equity Crowdfunding and Access to Capital for User Entrepreneurs: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment. MIS Quarterly.
Bapna, Sofia, and Gordon Burtch. An Experimental Evaluation of Gender Differences in Responses to Major-Donor Funding Schemes for Crowdfunded Social Ventures
Bapna, Sofia, Alan Benson, and Russell Funk. Rejection Communication and Women’s Job-Search Persistence
Bapna, Sofia, and Russell Funk. Does Employer-Paid, Job-Protected Maternity Leave Help or Hurt Female IT Workers? Evidence from Millions of Job Applications.
Awards and Honors
2023 Social Justice Best Paper Award, INFORMS Information Systems Society
2022 Association for Information Systems (AIS) Early Career Award
2022 National Science Foundation grant for research program on ‘Factors Relating to Successful Recruitment of Women in Information Technology Jobs’ (co-PI Russell Funk)
2021 Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award, INFORMS Information Systems Society
2021 Lawrence Fellowship, Carlson School of Management
2021 Dean’s Small Research Grant, Carlson School of Management
2019 Nominee, Carlson Business Week, Faculty of the year award
2017 Finalist, Carlson Business Week, Faculty of the year award
2017 Dean’s Small Research Grant, Carlson School of Management
2016 Kauffman-Innovation Growth Lab (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), UK) grant for RCTs in entrepreneurship (with Gordon Burtch)
2016 Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship award
2016 Social Media and Business Analytics Collaborative (SOBACO) research grant (with Russell Funk)
2015 Carlson School of Management Dissertation Fellowship award
2013 and 2012 McNamara Women’s Fellowship award
2023 July - Star Tribune Minnesotans use crowdfunding to launch their businesses and find community
2022 May - Carlson School Magazine Notable grants power research underway at Carlson School
2021 Oct - BQ Prime by Bloomberg Gender Justice In Post-Covid India: ‘Glass Ceiling’ Versus ‘Sticky Doors’
2021 June - Discovery at Carlson Wisdom of the Crowds? It's Complicated
2019 Dec – EIX How Young Companies Can Build Online Communities
2019 Oct - StarTribune Addressing Dearth of Women Inventors
2019 June - IGL 2019 Gender and Innovation
2019 May - Experimental (by IGL) Balancing the Scales - Crowdfunding Sees Ideas Not Gender
2019 March - WSJ Custom Content The Evolution of Professional Networking
2018 Nov - Top 3 Takeaway from WiTH (Women in Technology Hollywood)
2018 Oct - Forbes How To Improve Gender Diversity In Entertainment Through Social Networking
2018 Aug - Entrepreneur The 5 Women All Female Entrepreneurs Need in their Corner
2018 June - UOWTV Women in STEM still at a disadvantage
2018 April - Carlson School Magazine The Job Market–Academically Speaking - Better Networking May Improve the STEM Gender Gap
2018 Jan - Discovery at Carlson Equity Investors and Entrepreneurs: The signals that matter
2017 Nov - Carlson News MIS Students learn tools of the trade
2016 Oct - Carlson News Sofia Bapna and Gordon Burtch Receive Kauffman Foundation-IGL Grant
2016 Aug - Growthology, "Keeping up with the Kauffman Dissertation Fellows" by Alex Krause
2015 Dec - Carlson Alumni Newsletter
2012 Aug - Vogue (India), "Finding 40" by Shoba Narayan