Business angels’ investment decisions: do emotions matter?

Zoë Imhof

What was my dream when I was little?

As far as I remember I didn’t have one specific dream. When I was little I liked baking things and selling them in my little shop. Never could have imagined that many years later, I’d be working at the department of Entrepreneurship at Vlerick.

What am I doing when I am not working on my PhD?

You are most likely to find me at the seaside: going for walks at the beach, playing tennis or golf gives me peace of mind.  

What is my PhD about?

The investment of business angels is often crucial for the survival and growth of young companies. One can thus expect that entrepreneurs will do everything in their power to convince these private investors to invest money in return for equity. By taking a social-psychological view on angels’ investment decisions, I will investigate the role of angels’ emotions during the investment process. Specifically, I will answer whether and which emotions play a role and how these emotions are evoked amongst business angels.

Why is this important for practice?

Business angels will have a higher awareness about what drives their investment behaviour. For example, if we find that experiencing happiness during a pitch increases angels’ intention to invest, awareness of such a ‘happiness bias’ could help angels to protect themselves from persuasion strategies if they would consider emotional decisions as being undesirable.

Also entrepreneurs will gain considerable insights about how to increase their chances of getting funding. Using the same example, entrepreneurs may try to trigger emotions of happiness. Our study will provide insights into which emotions entrepreneurs must trigger to increase angels’ intention to invest as well as how entrepreneurs could do so.

How do I like to be remembered after my PhD?

I would like to be one of the examples that illustrates that academic research has value for both academia and business practice.

How do I see my future?

I like to take everything step by step. I will be very happy and proud to finish my PhD in three years. What happens after that, is still an open question.

Want to know more about Zoë?

Check out her cv page.

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times