Persuading Investors: A Video-Based Study

110 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Allen Hu

Allen Hu

Yale School of Management

Song Ma

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2021

Abstract

Persuasive communication functions not only through content but also delivery, e.g., facial expression, tone of voice, 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 delivery when evaluating single-gender teams, but they are neglected when co-pitching with men in mixed-gender teams. Using an experiment, we show persuasion delivery works mainly through leading investors to form inaccurate beliefs.

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Suggested Citation

Hu, Allen and Ma, Song, Persuading Investors: A Video-Based Study (July 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29048, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3889155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3889155

Allen Hu (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06511

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

Song Ma

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/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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