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Zoomvesting: angel investors' perception of subjective cues in online pitching

Nicole Kuhn (Management Department, FGV-EAESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Gilberto Sarfati (Management Department, FGV-EAESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2053-4604

Article publication date: 22 December 2021

Issue publication date: 27 April 2023




The COVID-19 pandemic transformed angel investment meetings from in-person to online. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether this move affected angel investors' perception of subjective behavioral cues in pitch sessions within a large Brazilian angel group.


This study followed an exploratory approach using a triangulation process that combined observation, documents and interviews. Data collected by observation, document studies, and interviews were themed, coded, and organized during the research.


The move from in-person to online pitches did not seem to affect levels of trustworthiness or arrogance as angels assessed more message content during Q&A sessions. Body movement, gestures and “eye gaze” (i.e. the look on a presenter’s face) played a central role in passion assessment during in-person meetings. Body language was highly limited during online sessions and tone of voice became the main source of passion assessment.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study suggest that pitches at online meetings affect angel investors' perception of founders' subjective cues, particularly cues pertaining to passion. Entrepreneurs should be trained to convey passion with tone of voice and to improve their body language in the context of webcam use. The interviews with volunteer sampling were subject to volunteer bias. Additionally, the findings may be affected by cultural context.

Practical implications

A practical contribution of this study is to highlight the need for entrepreneurs to be trained for online pitches. In an online setting, body language is limited, but it is still possible to use one’s hands and tone of voice to connect better to investors.


This study is unique because it captures the transition of angel investment meetings from in-person affairs before the pandemic to online meetings during the pandemic crisis. These unique circumstances provided a real-world laboratory to observe founders' subjective cue effects on angel investment decision-making.



Kuhn, N. and Sarfati, G. (2023), "Zoomvesting: angel investors' perception of subjective cues in online pitching", Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 635-651.



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