In Research


Year: 2018
Published in: Journal of Business Venturing, 33: 315-332.
Cited as: Warnick, B. J., Murnieks, C. Y., McMullen, J. S., & Brooks, W. T. 2018. Passion for entrepreneurship or passion for the product? A conjoint analysis of angel and VC decision-making. Journal of Business Venturing, 33: 315-332.


Passion is important to venture investors, but what specifically do they want entrepreneurs to be passionate about? This study theorizes that angel investors and venture capitalists consider both entrepreneurs’ passion for activities related to the product or service the venture provides (i.e., product passion) and passion for founding and developing new ventures (i.e., entrepreneurial passion). We demonstrate that both types of passion become more appealing when the investor perceives that the entrepreneur is highly open and receptive to feedback, suggesting that openness to feedback mitigates potential concerns associated with passion in its extremes. We further find that venture investors differ in their consideration of passion; angel investors and venture capitalists with more investing experience place greater emphasis on the combination of product passion and openness to feedback, whereas those with more entrepreneurial experience emphasize the combination of entrepreneurial passion and openness to feedback.


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Future Research

Future studies should:
1)Explore the differential effects of entrepreneurial passion and product passion in predicting individual, team, and venture-level outcomes in entrepreneurship, ranging from intentions and behaviors to venture performance/growth and venture roles.
2) It would also be interesting to study whether different combinations of passion play a role in the exit or harvest of the venture by investors.
3) consider such extreme cases and examine the extent to which these attributes may lead to maladaptive outcomes, and to what extent the relationships we observe may be curvilinear in nature when these extreme levels are breached.
4) finally, crowdfunding is an increasingly common source of financial capital for startup ventures. Scholars have begun to study the effect of passion on prospective crowdfunding investors in terms of general displays of enthusiasm and perceptions of such enthusiasm (Davis et al., 2017; Li et al., 2017), but have not yet specified different targets of entrepreneurs’ passions, and how different types of passions may be differentially communicated and interpreted by prospective investors.