The Short Essay On The Animal Nature Of Angel Investors And Startup Founders.

An Introduction

Past 20 years of my life, which I have solely devoted to two subjects — private investments and national politics — have taught me to carefully consider the nature of men while taking critical strategic decisions either in business or in governance. Although, the notion that humans have virtually no social and physiological limits is, today, so universally accepted that it has became almost an inexcusable moral flaw to suggest otherwise, I, nevertheless, choose to retain my own opinion on this important matter.

Angels and Founders Eight Major Personality Types

Most of private investors, which I have happened to personally know and, sometimes, to co-invest with belong to one of four distinctly different types of characters, which may be symbolically entitled as “Donkey”, “Boar”, “Goat” and “Raven”.

INVESTORS CHARACTERS

Donkey

A typical Donkey tends to be a former investment or consulting professional, which usually holds a management degree from a prestigious University and has more or less successful career history with a well-known investments fund or a reputed consulting company.

Boar

Boar presents himself an opposite to Donkey’s type of character. Professionally Boar usually tends to be either a result of long upper-echelon management career or a former entrepreneur. This type usually possesses almost unlimited energy and strong, often brutal charisma, which, together with self-promulgated celebrity status, make this type almost irresistible to the majority of start-up founders.

Goat

Goat is of a type, which you may also call an “emotional investor”. This type usually formulates his investment preferences in sentimental phrases, like “I think I just like those guys” or “I really believe in the bright future of this technology” etc.

Raven

Raven is the type of investor, which strongly, sometime almost religiously, believes in inherent powers of institutions. Those people are, typically, former bureaucrats, political functionaries or managers of big corporations. They, routinely, value the ability to make “right contacts” above almost all other human virtues and are eager to take leading positions in start-up board of directors.

FOUNDERS CHARACTERS

Puppy

Puppy may be one of the most numerous and, at the same time, most popular among beginner private investors founders’ type. By its nature this type doesn’t like to wait until a lucrative market opportunity reveals itself to him or when a genius product idea or an unique technology design came to his mind. Rather, Puppy chooses to firmly take his destiny in his own hand and to create his own opportunities.

Sheep

Sheep, typically, experiences a congenital, emotional connection to his start-up. In many instances his feelings have long, convoluted and unrevealed lineage, including child-hood’s incidents, parents’ influences as well as subconscious phantasms. This type often stays devoted to his cause regardless worsening market situation and well-intended advises. Sheep may be the blessing as well as the curse for a private investor.

Hen

Hen’s type is often the product of life, which has been solely dedicated to the mastery of one art, the later being either various branches of experimental sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics or of industrial (more often computer) engineering.

Cat

Cat is inclined to consider all of his enterprises as very exiting life experiences, which occasionally may (or may not) confirm Cat’s original insights. This type habitually look at his surroundings through blue, cerebral glasses, which are particularly well suited to the purpose of discriminating against minute practical nuisances constantly interfering with the smooth flow of everyday business.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Boar vs Puppy

This combination of similar by nature characters quickly gets out of hand when Boar and Puppy face each other while disagreeing on matters of day-by-day business or debating company’s strategic alternatives. Figuratively speaking, this coalition of oil and fire rarely works to the both parties’ mutual satisfaction.

Boar vs Sheep

This alliance has long-term perspectives under the condition that pro-active Boar’s nature serves as the first-stage booster for Sheep’s steady mind, specially when the latter is pondering on particularly difficult and controversial strategic decision. However, this union may also go bust because of Boar’s impatience with Sheep’s lack of flexibility.

Boar vs Hen

This consortium would be viewed as made in heavens if not for a regrettable absence of true commitment to company’s mission from part of both of those characters. This shortage of loyalty may negatively affect company’s employees and shareholders, which were initially enchanted by Hen’s detailed, highly technical presentations and persuaded by Boar’s quick meal ideas.

Boar vs Cat

This synthesis rarely works properly because both of those characters typically aim at obtaining prominent public status and tend to mix their private opinions with company’s official viewpoint. Boar’s and Cat’s continuous jockeying for position is generally detrimental for company’s business success.

Donkey vs Puppy

It may be a great fit providing that Puppy will find enough time and inclination to listen to Donkey’s advises. Donkey’s brain, predisposed to intense activity and to carefully weighing all options before taking crucial decision, will serve as a counter-balance to Puppy’s impatient and often erratic temperament.

Donkey vs Sheep

Those two characters may comfortably co-exist in purified environment of a scientific laboratory or in plastic paradise of a corporate office. However, when it comes to an unpredictable world of business it may be just too little too late when Donkey and Sheep eventually agree to take painful but necessary practical steps.

Donkey vs Hen

When those two elements are brought together we get plenty of light but almost no heat. Cold and systematic mind of donkey coupled with down-to-earth hen’s nature make start-up wheels turning slowly but steadily, leaving, however, the majority of its customers and shareholders vaguely dissatisfied. In this situation lacking are team’s genuine enthusiasm and product’s emotional appeal.

Donkey vs Cat

This particular combination of opposing characters could produce favorable effect on company’s overall performance if not for Cat’s regrettable tendency to periodically disregard Donkey’s mostly theoretical but, nevertheless, often valuable advises. Moreover, Cat may even decide to publicly harass Donkey if the later manages to show a lesser eagerness to company’s mission than routinely required from each individuals engaged with Cat’s startup.

Goat vs Puppy

This alliance favors insubordinate nature of Puppy, whose authority remains unchallenged by “free skating” Goat and whose incessant energy stays unrestrained by unwelcome scrutiny and unsolicited advises. Even so Goat may soon realize that Puppy’s charisma, which Goat at first found to be utterly irresistible, is not always sufficient to circumvent market’s formidable obstacles.

Goat vs Sheep

Goat and Sheep may easily find a common ground on which they stand admiring Sheep’s unique company. However, as the time passes by and Goat’s initial passion fades, as it usually does, both those characters may notice that it became more and more difficult for two of them to keep the same high level of mutual respect particularly when markets start to surprise everybody with sudden downturns.

Goat vs Hen

This coalition is not often formed. Hen’s technologically savvy but mostly prosaic ideas are not capable to induce emotional vibrations, which may produce “wow” effect on Goat. However, when, despite all evidences against it, this misalliance eventually happens, it causes the general state of unhappiness for two parties. Goat experiences deep disappointment with Hen’s down-to-earth manners and boring speeches, whilst an immediate disillusion came to Hen after he observes Goat’s absence of practical abilities.

Goat vs Cat

In absence of restrains posed by force of cold and impartial reason this synthesis of rough enthusiasm and intemperate ambitions may convert an initially sound idea into the epic enterprise, which is comically inflated outside of its natural proportions. Both those characters possess enough persuasion power to turn small group of wavering supporters into the stadium-size crowd of disillusioned investors.

Raven vs Puppy

By the virtue of their characters Raven and Puppy are natural born enemies. Raven loves to tease Puppy whilst Puppy does rarely miss an opportunity to wildly and vainly chase Raven. Raven’s secret and unabating strive for power does give rise to instinctive suspicion in Puppy. Sooner or later this growing antagonism will result in open confrontation, which rarely can be survived by a startup. Regrettably so, Raven is often able to lure Puppy into an investment deal by promising to him an unmitigated succor of big enchiladas.

Raven vs Sheep

Raven creates clear and present danger to Sheep’s administrative and moral monopoly in a company. Sheep often considers his startup to be an integral, sometimes indispensable part of his own personal identity. Sporadically, that makes Sheep unwilling to sacrifice his highly abstract principles to the sake of financial gains. On his side Raven gets irritated by Sheep’s purported lack of administrative and business effectivenesses. It’s only a matter of time before Raven commences to believe than him taking reigns of power will be in the best interests of startup’s shareholders.

Raven vs Hen

This alliance is agreeable to both parties. Hen’s cynical pragmatism does allow for Raven’s ascend to the top echelons of company’s hierarchy even if it significantly undermines Hen’s own administrative positions. As long as it improves startup’s bottom line Hen doesn’t mind if somebody “bosses” him time to time. Raven, on his part, feels that Hen is “the right type of guy”, who knows how to be productive and tenacious member of the “corporate family”.

Raven vs Cat

This combination of characters can work under a condition of rarely occurring favorable circumstances. Notably when Raven wholeheartedly commits himself to the company’s cause and Cat doesn’t sense a threat for his position as startup’s “spiritual leader” from ambitious and authoritative Raven. In this situation Raven and Cat might peacefully co-exist providing that Raven takes on himself official representative functions and Cat concentrates on proselytizing to large crowds of potential consumers.

CONCLUSION

At this stage I don’t want my expert readers to form a superficial opinion that my exotic system is more the result of ignorance than of necessity. At the beginning of my career I tried to apply multiple popular personality models to my investment practice but found all of them either being too abstract, for instance, Carl Jung’s Psychological Types and Myers–Briggs Indicator, which is largely based on Jung’s theory, or mainly unrelated to my professional field, as in the case of Holland Occupational Themes or RIASEC, proposed by John Holland and used by US Department of Labor. Many other psychological type’s systems, for example, Eysenck’s and HEXACO models or 16PF, are widely used in the psychotherapy but almost inapplicable to the field of business.

The author: Svyatoslav (Svyat) Sedov

Angel investor and founder of The First International Incubator for Silicon Valley Companies (FirstInternational.In) in the Bay Area, CA, USA.

Angel Investor (20+ years), Serial Entrepreneur (14+ companies), Author (> 1M views), Crypto Influencer, Founder of Evernomics, 40+ Countries