After more than 1000 startup pitches seen in the last 5 years, I’m starting to believe that the only two real factors that indicate further success are as follows (and they are a part of the founders/management, not market or product related):

[ut_highlight color=”#ff6e00″]1. The capacity and desire to learn everything, from everyone, in all that you do.[/ut_highlight]

[ut_highlight color=”#ff6e00″]2. Authentic respect for other people, no matter their role – clients, employees, service providers, partners, investors.[/ut_highlight]

I do believe that when the founders live in an authentic and concrete manner, with these two character traits, for sure, they will find a valid business model, provided it’s sooner or later.

As for the rest of the factors and criteria, they’re inoperable without the two.

I’m not seraching for authenticity per se in everything, but I want to verify if that respect is real or just mimicked with other interests in mind. And the best way to find that out is to bluntly tell them my opinion regarding their person¬†and their business.

If they manage to surpass their emotions and seek to understand what is useful and realist in what I’m saying, not becoming agressive or mean, then they pass the first test.

If by the next meeting they have already applied what they understood and what we discussed, then they pass the second test.

In my experience, that rarely happens.