Auditioning for money: What do technology investors look for at the initial screening stage?

Colin Mason, Richard T. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Many businesses fail to raise external equity finance because they are not "investment ready". One of the key aspects of being investment ready is the ability to effectively present their opportunity to investors. This paper examines the role of impression management skills on investor decisions by means of a case study of a presentation by an entrepreneur who was seeking funding for a software venture. The real-time reactions of business angels who watched the presentation on video were captured. Presentation-related issues dominated their reactions. Most investors were critical of the style, content and structure of the presentation. The failure of the entrepreneur to "sell" the opportunity raised doubts in the minds of investors about the ability of the company to sell their product. The implication is that entrepreneurs need to develop their impression management skills so that potential investors draw the preferred conclusions. Policy-makers should consider developing initiatives to help entrepreneurs overcome these deficiencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Private Equity
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2002


  • venture capital
  • business angels
  • new technology-based firms
  • impression management
  • investment readiness


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