What are the three most important characteristics an investor looks for in a CEO during a pitch? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I think I'm qualified to answer the question because, quite frankly, I am an investor. I've been pitched a squillion times, most of which have been unimpressive. So let me give you the three most important characteristics or, I would add, the only three characteristics I look for in a CEO during a pitch.
1) Does He Or She "Know Their Stuff?"
Do they know their business model inside and out? Do they know their market inside and out? Do they see the opportunities and the challenges without being myopic? Do they have a brutally honest understanding of where they are now and where they can go if they are able to be fully funded and given the gas that needs to be applied to it? That's number one.
2) Do They Have The Ability To Lead People?
Not about management, it's about leadership. I break this down in detail in this answer here:
Taking a startup from the theoretical wave-my-hands-in-the-air to business plan, through to actually making money, is a very difficult thing. It requires you to have that secret sauce, almost, of how to lead people through the valley of death, through to the other side of a successful business that actually makes money and produces economic benefit. Do they have that inherent trait? It's a judgment call on my part but I am looking for that "aura" based on how others act around them, how they carry themselves, and some of that DNA that's unmeasurable but certainly, intuitively, able to be observed.
3) Does Their Business Idea Have A Fundamentally Sound Economic Engine?
Is there something in there that can be turned into a business? Not a hobby. Not a good idea. But is there something that we can adjust and work with as relates to the individual themselves and the team he's built and is leading that can turn into a powerful economic engine? Something where you create inputs and outputs that have a margin on them, that can be banked, and reinvested, and compounded going forward. It's not about just having a "great idea." It's about understanding how you are going to take that idea and turn it into something that has the potential to put food on the table.
Those are the three things, frankly, the only three things, that I, as an investor, look for in a CEO during a pitch and the attended conversations prior to, during, and post.
This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: