A Story Well Told is a Story Well Sold: Communication Shape the Fate of Venture Ideas



Most businesses start with a team of individuals collectively pursuing a venture idea. However, how lead entrepreneurs mobilize startup team members' collective effort in developing the venture ideas they envisaged remains to be better understood. We theorize and find empirical support that verbal (i.e., framing) and nonverbal (i.e., emotional display) communication jointly shape the fate of venture ideas. When lead entrepreneurs display intense emotions during idea pitches, framing with a high psychological distance, which is the subjective perception that a pitched venture idea is close or far away from the self, here, and now, has a positive effect on the collective effort exerted by the startup team to develop that venture idea. Conversely, when their emotional display is of low intensity, framing with a high psychological distance has a negative effect on collective effort. Furthermore, when the startup team’s collective framing of the venture idea has a high psychological distance, its collective effort invested in a venture idea has a less positive association with the survival of that idea. This study contributes a more in-depth understanding of the communication of venture ideas and the dynamics within startup teams in a critical phase when nascent venture ideas take shape.

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