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Hero Investor Personalities
Funding Guides 6 min read
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The 5 investor personality types — and how to pitch them

Published:  Nov 8, 2023
Anthony Rose
CEO & Co-founder
Anthony Rose

Co-Founder and CEO

Jonny Seaman
Expert contributor
Jonny Seaman

Investor Partnerships Manager

Claire Macmillan
Expert contributor
Claire Macmillan

Pitch Coach

You’re certain that your business idea has the potential to change the world.. Now you just need to convince an investor to give you some money.

When you’re talking to potential investors, they each have their own way of figuring out whether to invest: whether your idea will really work, or if it’ll fizzle out and flop.

Having built and sold several startups, and now as CEO of SeedLegals, I’ve seen thousands of pitches and met countless investors. In my experience, investors can be grouped into one of five different personality types.

When you know what type of investor you’re dealing with, you can adjust how you tell the story of your business to best demonstrate your venture’s value and better engage your new potential investor.

In no particular order, here are the five types of investors you’ll meet and what they’ll want to see in your pitch.

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1. The SEIS seeker

This investor personality type is unique to the UK and could also be called the ‘Gimme my SEIS/EIS’ type (although there might be equivalents in other countries). If you’re a founder in the UK, you probably already know about SEIS and EIS tax incentives and the financial appeal these hold for certain investors.

How to pitch to the SEIS seeker

This investor won’t be all that emotionally invested in your project – they’re interested in the kind of tax breaks they can get if they invest in your company. If you encounter this investor type, make sure you’ve got your Advance Assurance and clearly say so in your pitch. You can include this information on the deal summary slide.

✅ Be ready to send your Advance Assurance statement (they’ll ask to see it)
✅ Read our SEIS/EIS ebook to understand more

What's the deal summary slide?
This slide in your pitch deck is an overview of the core investment proposal and makes it easy for investors to see at a glance how much they can invest and whether they can claim SEIS/EIS tax benefits. It also shows that you understand the investment process. In your deal summary slide, make it clear that you have SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance.

Attract investors with SEIS and EIS

We make it quick and easy to obtain SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance. Use the simple automated workflow, with help start to finish from our experts.

Find out how

2. The spreadsheet scrutiniser

This investor is going to unpick your business plan and scrutinise your figures. Like SEIS/EIS investors, they’re not too fussed about what you’re actually doing or how you’re changing the world, they’re more interested in your traction, numbers and revenue. From the minute you encounter the spreadsheet scrutiniser, they’ll be analysing your potential for growth.

This investor might give themselves away when they want to show off that they’re a spreadsheet expert and/or they sprinkle their emails or conversation with terms like CAC (customer acquisition cost) or LTV (lifetime value). They’ll ask why your business plan is only three years and not five, why you haven’t included dividends, how you’ll allocate your funds, and so on.

How to pitch to the spreadsheet scrutiniser

When you encounter this type of investor, prepare for a grilling. You’re talking to a numbers person, so take extra care to make sure your numbers stack up.

✅ Focus on your slides about your business model and finances – see our free pitch deck template for guidance

✅ For expert insights on how to talk numbers, read our post: Five year business plan: why you need one and how to write it

3. The philanthropist

This investor is the polar opposite of the spreadsheet scrutiniser. Clearing the oceans of plastics, helping to end poverty, creating world peace – to this investor, it matters that you’re doing something positive as well as making money.

This investor might be independently wealthy or they might simply want to do good with their money – either way, the story you present to this investor needs to highlight how you’re creating positive change by doing something socially or environmentally conscious.

The borders with this personality type can be fuzzy. Some philanthropists will value the positive change element of your business more highly than whether or not you’re making money. Whereas for others, it does all come down to the bottom line.

How to pitch to the philanthropist

Generally, when you’re in the initial stages of finding investors, it will be clear whether the investor is mission-driven or growth-driven. You can then tailor your pitch to appeal to their priorities.

✅ Do your research on the investor before you pitch so you can understand what they’re after

✅ Read our post: Storytelling for startups: the superpower that wins investors

Jonny Seaman

It’s essential to pitch from the angle of what’s in it for the investor rather than what’s in it for you. Do your research and understand what each investor wants. Then tailor your pitch as much as possible to show why you’re a good fit for them.

Jonny Seaman

Investor partnerships manager,


4. The hobbyist

This investor might not be too familiar with the startup community or perhaps they’re a little older than most investors, well established in their career with some capital to invest. The hobbyist isn’t overly concerned with making a huge return on their investment – for them, investing is an engaging pastime.

The hobbyist is unlikely to want to invest a huge amount and in a way, you could consider them like a lone crowdfunder: they want to be associated with an exciting company as an early investor, without having to invest a fortune or take on much responsibility.

How to pitch to the hobbyist

For this investor, you can adjust your pitch to emphasise how exciting and innovative your idea is, and make sure they feel swept along with your energy and enthusiasm. Often they’re not bothered about your company hitting unicorn status. They simply enjoy feeling that they’re a part of a new, game-changing venture.

Claire Macmillan

The purpose of the story is to make investors see the opportunity in the same way you do. It instils in them the confidence and conviction that you have about your venture. It helps you to portray your startup in a way that shows it in the best light.

Claire Macmillan

Pitch coach,

Claire Macmillan

✅ Focus on storytelling techniques in your pitch delivery and pitch deck to excite the hobbyist

✅ Educate them – help them understand how investing in startups works and that there are different levels of involvement for different investors. Our post might be useful: How to invest in startups: step-by-step guide

✅ Watch our webinar: The human side of angel investing

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5. The aspiring founder

A big clue you’re dealing with an aspiring founder is that they have a highly-paid job doing something far outside the startup ecosystem. Unlike the hobbyist, secretly this type of investor would love to be a founder themselves but they’re not quite ready to take on the risk or give up the day job. Instead, they’ll use your company to try out life at a startup by proxy.

The aspiring founder can be a passionate investor, opening doors for you and making helpful introductions. But this personality type can drive founders mad with unsolicited feedback or a constant stream of suggestions. Their eager and well-intentioned support can cross the line to become overbearing.

How to pitch to the aspiring founder

For this pitch, take a similar approach to the hobbyist and get them excited about your vision using storytelling techniques.

To maintain a good relationship with this investor, set clear boundaries early on. When you’re clear from the start about where roles and responsibilities lie and how you’ll work together, you’ll channel the aspiring founder’s energy and attention to genuinely benefit your business.

✅ Read our post: Investor relations: create a plan for your startup

✅Tap into their network – warm introductions are business gold, so make sure you use this investor’s valuable connections

How to find your best match

When you recognise your investor’s personality type, you’ll better understand which aspects of your company story will be most appealing to them. Even before you meet investors, it’s helpful to look objectively at your business model and goals to work out which investor personality type or types will be the best fit for your company.

Anthony Rose

Finding the right investor is a bit like dating: you’ll want to find a personality that works well with yours, someone who understands and shares your aspirations, and ultimately someone you can see yourself committing to and spending a lot of time with.

Does the investor you’ve met feel like a natural fit for your business? If so, congratulations, you can build on that chemistry to form a strong founder-investor relationship.

Anthony Rose

CEO & co-founder,


Often founders discover that having a mix of different investor personality types can be better in the long term because they each require the founder to pay attention to a different aspect of running a business.

If you’re still looking for investors, take a step back to assess your company’s identity, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Then get out there and meet investors. Listen carefully to their feedback, work out which personality type they are (secretly of course), and adjust your pitch to match.

And just like dating, don’t give up if you don’t find ‘The One’ straight away. You just haven’t met them yet 😉

Bonus: resources to perfect your pitch

Here are some of our resources to help you nail your pitch:

Talk to an expert

Doing a funding round? Want to know how to raise without doing a full funding round? We’ll help you simplify and strategise your startup funding journey. To find out how we can help, book a call with one of our funding experts:

Anthony Rose

Anthony Rose

Serial entrepreneur and startup champion, Anthony is our CEO and Co-Founder.
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