Painting the Venture Capitalist Picture

Morten Kim Fog

Student thesis: Master thesis


This pragmatic paper investigates the normative understanding of “a good startup”. It does so by utilizing the sensemaking deployment theory, developed by Karl Weick (1979), as the main analytical tool. This allows us to investigate the world of entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists (VCs) in qualitative framework. Since this paper has an explorative research question, the interviews were conducted via an open ended and unstructured interview guide, allowing for an introduction of additional perspectives. Six interviews were conducted; three with Ventura Capitalists (VCs) and three with entrepreneurs (startup founders). Structuring the interviews and the analysis through sensemaking theory, enables both subjective and in depth insights into their perception of “a good startup”. Utilizing the data gathered, this thesis aims at accentuating expectations and perceptions of “a good startup,” and expose alignments and misalignments of the understanding. The research determines “a good startup” as a diffuse norm within the Danish scene of entrepreneurship. While alignments exist about the understanding of “a good startup” between both the VC and the entrepreneur group, more misalignments remain. Their sensemaking is fragmented at best, and one of the main misalignments was the lack of ability of the entrepreneurs at speaking the financial language, as expected by the VCs. This skilland mindset is important for the venture capitalist's sensemaking of the startup. Transparency was vital for entrepreneurs as well as VCs. However, the VCs emphasize the necessity of transparency when it comes to startup results and progress, while the entrepreneurs perceive transparency of the startup team as most important. Another important misalignment is the fact that most interviewees have two perceptions of what “a good startup” is; their own and their own idea of other people’s definition. This underlines the complexity in investigating a diffuse concept and focus groups could help on elaborating and developing a deeper understanding of “a good startup”.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages68