Persuading Investors: A Video-Based Study

109 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 13 Jul 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 12, 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.

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 (July 12, 2021). 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/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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