Does this founder and this startup go together?
Building startups is a huge commitment: emotional, financial, lifestyle, and the list goes on. When founders show they have a deep connection to the product or problem they are solving, it is easier to convince investors they are in it for the long haul.
What to look for to determine startup-founder fit:
Has the founder . . .
- Experienced pain point as a user?
- Gained relevant sector expertise?
- Displayed genuine passionate for the space, product, or potential impact?
Even if none of these apply to you, tap into the emotional aspects of why you are doing what you’re doing. According to Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang, much of the investment decision for early stage investors is based on gut feel and emotions.
How to show startup-founder fit during an investor pitch:
- Talk about a personal story and how it led you to your startup
- Discuss way the startup has (or will) impact a specific person’s life
- Talk through a time when you got into the details of the business with a client and solved a problem for them
- Show the product in a demo
- Wear the company logo (seriously!)
These all help make it clear that the startup founder and the startup they are building go together. Sam Altman, President of Y-Combinator recently wrote a post entitled How to Be Successful. His last piece of advice is “Be Internally Driven.” Startup-founder fit ensures founders are driven by internal motivations and increases startups’ probability of success.