Equity crowdfunding is a new form of investment supported by online platforms (e.g., Crowdcube, Seedrs, Companisto, or Seedmatch) which allows innovative startups to raise capital from a diverse ‘crowd’ of Internet users. The crowd investors get securities like equity, debt, or revenue shares in exchange for their investments. Equity crowdfunding is an important investment opportunity especially in early phases of the innovation process, where new ventures are challenged to legitimize their innovative business ideas to get the support they need to survive. In equity crowdfunding, face-to-face meetings and direct oral communication are replaced by short video pitches and video updates provided by the entrepreneurs and supported by equity crowdfunding platforms. In business pitches, entrepreneurs present their new business idea in an oral presentation (‘pitch’) to potential investors. In video updates, further developments of the innovation project or new ideas are presented to the crowd in the course of a campaign. Business pitches as well as video updates play a crucial role in the exploration and evaluation of innovative startups in equity crowdfunding campaigns because they offer an important opportunity for entrepreneurs to present themselves and their novel business ideas to potential investors. However, the impact of startups’ emotional communication to potential crowd investors using textual project descriptions, video pitches as well as video updates has hardly been researched so far. Thus, the main research objective of the master thesis is to analyze the impact of new ventures’ emotional communication on success in equity crowdfunding applying different analysis tools (e.g., ‘Sentiment Analysis’ for written text and ‘Emotion Analytics’ for video analyses provided by the company Tawny).
- Conducting a literature study on the state of research in emotional, text-based and visual communication, especially in the field of entrepreneurship and crowdfunding.
- Developing hypotheses and analyzing empirically the impact of emotional communication in project descriptions, video pitches and updates in equity crowdfunding compared with other success factors.
- Adjusting and applying empirical methods and tools for textual and visual analysis (e.g., using Emotion Analytics software from Tawny).
- Developing recommendations to improve emotional communication in equity crowdfunding for start-ups, crowdfunding investors and platforms as well as recommendations for the advancement of emotion-based analysis tools like ‘Emotion Analytics’.