Motivated Investors

Check out this article in VentureBeat by Pandora founder Tim Westergren. In "What Motivates an Investor to Say 'Yes,'" Westergren explains that he was turned down 347 times before Walden's Larry Marcus agreed to invest the first institutional capital in Pandora. Here's an excerpt:

As I reflect back on this most unlikely turn, I have come to a belief about what motivates an investor to say ‘yes.’ Or perhaps more accurately, what causes an investor to shift from looking for ways to say ‘no’ to looking for ways to say ‘yes’. For, in my mind, this is the key to raising money. Venture investments by their very nature require a leap of faith (none more than ours) that only comes when an investor becomes aspirational – when he or she wants the investment to make sense (even though statistically deals never do make sense). I believe that shift happens when three things come together for the investor: They personally believe in the entrepreneur; they have a sense (and it’s often just a gut feeling) that the idea could be very big; and finally they have a personal interest or background in the industry that gives them a leg up the diligence curve. Put these together and an investor will start bending their investment criteria.

Larry M. was a musician (or at least a drummer) and an avid student of digital media. In the Music Genome Project he saw an idea that could be big, and as an expert in the sector he had the confidence to trust his own ability to spot potential, even if it was buried in mud. We also got along very well personally. So we had the three ingredients that tipped him into the aspirational mode. He wanted to make the investment and we started working together to make it happen – convincing his colleagues and other investors.