Recent research on the evaluation and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities has focused on cognition (e.g., Mitchell et al., 2007) and emotion (Baron, 2007) and its effect on entrepreneurial activities. This study focuses on the decision processes of the so-called “pre-entrepreneurial phase” that takes place prior to venture creation. Previous research has neglected this phase (Lang-von Wins, 2004; Phan, Wong & Wang, 2002) and as a result we today have a limited understanding of who perceives, evaluates and exploits entrepreneurial opportunities to what effect. Consistent with prior research (e.g., Cardon et al., 2005; Goss, 2005; Shepherd, 2004) we look at the influence of cognitions, positive and negative emotions and their interaction on opportunity evaluation and exploitation. We base our research on cognitive appraisal theories of emotion, which allows statements about cognitions and emotions and about their relationship. Specifically, we examine whether the anticipated positive emotions of a successful venture or the anticipated negative emotions of entrepreneurial failure are a stronger predictor for entrepreneurial opportunity evaluation and exploitation.