Persuading Investors: A Video-Based Study

93 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Dec 2020

See all articles by Allen Hu

Allen Hu

Yale School of Management

Song Ma

Yale School of Management

Date Written: December 10, 2020

Abstract

Persuasive communication is a function of not only content but also delivery, e.g., facial expressions, tone of voices and diction. This paper examines the persuasiveness of delivery in start-up pitches. Using machine learning (ML) algorithms to process full pitch videos, we quantify persuasion in visual, vocal, and verbal dimensions. Positive (i.e., passionate, warm) pitches increase funding probability. Yet conditional on funding, high-positivity startups underperform. Women are more heavily judged on pitch delivery when evaluating single-gender teams, but are neglected when co-pitching with men in mixed-gender teams. Using an experiment, we show that persuasion delivery works mainly through leading investors form inaccurate beliefs.

Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Persuasion, Video Data, Machine Learning

JEL Classification: D91, G41, C55, G24

Suggested Citation

Hu, Allen and Ma, Song, Persuading Investors: A Video-Based Study (December 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3583898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3583898

Allen Hu

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06511

HOME PAGE: http://www.anallenhu.com

Song Ma (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.som.yale.edu/songma/

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