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Written By: Janine Kick


People make decisions based on emotion. Yeah, you read that right, 70% of buying decisions are made based on emotional factors and then backed up by data. One could argue, raising venture capital is a very big, very expensive buying decision. 

If this is true (and it is, I read the reports) then this should impact the way founders approach investors when raising capital. 

We’re all familiar with the expressions – people do business with people, do they pass the beer test, etc. and what these sayings suggest – that being likable is maybe the single most important factor in any kind of activity. Regardless of if we’re raising capital or meeting a stranger at a bar, we’re selling ourselves in one capacity or another, be it to get an investment or to simply make conversation for the night. 

It wasn’t until recently that I heard an investor say explicitly that often their decisions are driven by a connection with the founder and rooted in a founders moxy and charisma first, that it really stuck. He went onto explain, once someone (no not always a Partner) in the fund is captivated, that’s when they get to work behind the scenes in the data room and *hope* that what they find can support or rather, reason with their initial gut reaction because they, “really like the founder”. 

This got me thinking, what’s the single easiest way to be likable, to have charisma? Does it boil down to one specific trait? I was reflecting on all the founders I’ve met, worked with, and admire – trying to decipher what is the factor they all have in common? What I’ve boiled it down to is this: they’re excited. 

Look, I get it. Building a company is hard enough, you’re worried about your burn, closing the next big deal, keeping your customers happy and raising capital. Then I show up and tell you to be excited on top of that! 

So let’s break this down. How do you get excited with all the madness circulating around you? 

  • Reset. We always encourage our founders to give themselves ample time between meetings for a break. You need a minute to reflect and regroup ahead of any investor meeting.
  • Why. Sounds cliche, but remember all the good things happening around you. We have a “Good Vibes Only” Slack channel and before any big meetings, I like to take a scroll through there and see all the positive steps forward we’re making as a team. 
  • Focus. Focus on the task at hand. Which is to simply get to the next meeting. And be excited! 

The founders I admire most are excited about what they’re building, excited about the possibilities, excited about the new hire, the last meeting they had and even the last thing they failed at because they learned something essential from it. They aren’t afraid to tell me all about it either! They give me a glimpse into what it’s like to be part of their team and the excitement – it’s contagious. 

Lastly, remember heart over head. Yep, it’s emotional! 🙂


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