Training Aspiring Entrepreneurs to Pitch Experienced Investors: Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States

Published in Management Science, 2017

Recommended citation: Clingingsmith and Shane (2017). ""Training Aspiring Entrepreneurs to Pitch Experienced Investors: Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States" Management Science. Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-017-9556-x

Accredited investors finance more than 75,000 U.S. start-ups annually. We explain how training aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their new business ideas to these investors affects their odds of continued funding discussions. We model accredited investors’ decision to continue investigation as a real option whose value is a function of their experience and the information contained in the entrepreneurs’ pitches. We derive four hypotheses from the model, which we test through a field experiment that randomly assigns pitch training at four elevator pitch competitions. The data support all four hypotheses, and are inconsistent with alternative explanations. Download ungated version here