Purity of Motivation (the key to investor psychology) + Fundraising Fieldnotes - 5.21.21

I found the perfect phrase to understand investor psychology

Hey - it’s Jason Yeh 🕺🏻

This is my Friday recap of notes I jotted down while helping founders solve their fundraising challenges this past week (5.21.21)

If you have any questions, please reply! I try to get to every comment/question I get :)

First…what is ‘Purity of Motivation’?

This week, I taught a class on investor psychology to a cohort of entrepreneurs planning on fundraising in the next 6 months. Similar to salespeople getting into the mind of the buyer to understand and drive buying decisions, founders who learn investor psychology can better grasp the triggers that compel VCs to make investments.  

For this class, I invited Sarra Zayani, partner at Global Founders Capital, to give students a peek inside her own investment psychology. She was refreshingly transparent about how she evaluates deals, and even admitted to being affected by mind games. She described herself as a conviction-based investor but said she’s still human and all investors can be susceptible to things like FOMO (a sentiment I'm fond of sharing with founders).

One gem she shared was especially insightful. Purity of Motivation is a phrase she uses to describe a trait all founders must have before securing her investment. She wants assurance that the founder is working on the company for the right reasons. Do they think this is going to be a way to get rich, build their network, and have stories written about them? Or are they doing it because they can’t get a problem out of their head and need to build a company to fix it? If she believes it’s the latter, she can more readily believe the founder will weather the hard times and develop unique insights that help them win.

I was excited to hear this term because I realized it elegantly described the investor POV of something I preach to founders. I’m adamant that the founder possesses conviction of where their passion for the business lies and ensures they let that shine through in their pitch. I’ve always believed it moved the needle for investment decisions, but never had a well-defined term for why.  Now I do.

Purity of Motivation….make sure you have it 🙏

On to the fieldnotes for 5.21.21

How much traction / progress should I include in my deck?

As with most questions related to decks, my answer is usually “it depends” because every story is different. My answer to this particular founder pointed back to another framework I previously referenced with him. The four most important elements in a deck are: 1) What is the problem/need 2) How will we solve this 3) Is this a big opportunity 4) Why will this team win. Everything else, including traction and progress, are just supporting components to those key elements. So think about how your traction or progress helps tell the story of those four elements and include it where it does.  Leave the data out if it doesn’t.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need full sections of your deck that share extensive data for the sake of data.

Till next week. Stay adamant and be chased.


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