How investors decide, jockey or horse?


For your experience do investors bet on the jockey (founder-s) more than on the horse (idea), when it comes to startups?

Also what is general considered attractive investment opportunity when it comes to startups? (Besides the common: at 10 times the investment return)

Ideas Decision Founders Investors

asked Mar 17 '11 at 11:00
Mat Banik
325 points
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4 Answers


Don't forget the race track (the market). Not a perfect analogy but: even a great jockey and a great horse will struggle to run through mud. :)

Assuming a great market, i think investors bet on jockeys before the idea. A great jockey will persevere and reposition the business to the market opportunity if the initial idea does not pan out.

answered Mar 17 '11 at 19:49
431 points


Most VC's will tell you they bet on the "team" and less so on the venture. In fact, most experienced VC's will even try to recycle their successful entrepreneurs from previous ventures. These guys who are being recycled are generally called "Entrepreneur in Residence" or EIR's.

Most VC's are looking for a 10x return on their money within a 3-5 yr horizon. That's their target and they probably achieve it on 30% of their investments.

answered Mar 17 '11 at 11:19
Mike Walsh
745 points


Well it depends on the Jockey and the Horse in question. The answer is it depends, they love to see both in the one pitch ...

If the idea is good and they can contribute the rest of the team to make it happen then the idea may stand on its own.

Generally though I think they would want to back the founder in their capability and drive ... others can have the same idea and execute it better.

answered Mar 17 '11 at 11:21
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


Jockey. You can always change both the race track (market) and horse (the actual idea).

PayPal started as an information security/encryption service, Flickrr started as a games website... Usually you don't start with the best idea, it evolves as you test and track different things.

answered Mar 31 '11 at 20:15
394 points

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Ideas Decision Founders Investors