Abstract

Many entrepreneurs wonder what they should say in the video pitches designed to raise funds from the crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Start Some Good. In this study, we focus on the linguistic style of crowdfunding pitches and how such a style relates to the success in raising funds. Based on language expectancy theory we hypothesize that the expectations of the crowd regarding the communication by social and commercial entrepreneurs differ; social campaigns have more complex goals and face a wider variety of expectations, resulting in more limited linguistic bandwidth in the eyes of the funding crowd. Empirical analyses of over 500 Kickstarter (commercial) and Start Some Good (social) campaigns demonstrate that entrepreneurs’ linguistic styles that reduce uncertainty and build personal rapport with the crowd are related to funding success among social, but not among commercial campaigns.

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