Business plan and pitch

Emotional intelligence and startup fundraising (“Pathos”)

June 27th, 2011 by Greg Boutin
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills by four qua...

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In my previous post, I explained the importance of a logical business case anchored in compelling facts. I’ll expand in a future post on how to build a solid case. First, let’s highlight that in practice, compelling business cases will frequently fail to convince investors. And occasionally, entrepreneurs with evidently subpar business cases will manage to close a financing round. Why is that?

In a nutshell: because investors are people too. Yes… even venture capitalists. Since some may disagree on whether they have a heart, let’s just call it a right brain – the part of our brain that contains the subjective, intuitive functions.

Investors use their right brain extensively when making go-or-no-go investment decisions. While those decisions might sometimes seem illogical as a result, there are several reasons investors rely on more than just a purely analytical approach: (more…)

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The art of Inception for fundraising entrepreneurs (“Logos”)

June 23rd, 2011 by Greg Boutin
Inception-movie-poster

Image by Shing Yan via Flickr

In the movie Inception, any logical incoherence in the structure of a dream threatens to interrupt the dreamer’s suspension of disbelief – and wake them up. Pitching investors is a lot like incepting them: they need to (literally) buy into your dream. And likewise, the logic of your case must be flawless.

What makes it even harder is that, just like in the movie, most investors’ subconscious is militarized. Professional investors in particular, such as venture capitalists, have developed a fairly good BS detector, and will kick you out of their heads quickly if they detect logical impossibilities in your case. Friends and family are easier, but that’s because you’ve already overcome one of the key defense mechanisms: trust (we’ll come back to that point later in this series of post). Usually they will still turn you down if they don’t believe in your dream, though. (more…)

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Web appsThe art of Persuasion for fundraising entrepreneurs (or what you can learn from Aristotle and Steve Jobs)

June 22nd, 2011 by Greg Boutin
Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

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As a budding entrepreneur, you might have the best concept in the world, but if you can’t communicate it effectively and persuade others to believe in you and in your project, you will fail regardless. On the other hand, mastering Persuasion could make you the next Steve Jobs (who hasn’t heard of his “reality distortion” field?)

That is especially true in the context of fundraising. Unless you have a history of building successful startups (and even then), potential investors, clients and collaborators will judge you based in large part on the credibility and rigor of your business case. (more…)

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