The Personality Trait Shared by Successful Startup Founders

And how to spot it in the people you meet

Armando Romeo
Marker
Published in
5 min readFeb 7, 2020

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Two women entrepreneurs work together. One woman sits at her desk and the other is teaches  her something off her laptop.
Photo: alvarez/E+/Getty Images

EEvery week I receive 10 to 15 pitch decks in my inbox. Being a seed investor, I often need to decide whether or not to bet on a founder based on very little information and, sometimes, nonexistent past performance.

I recently jotted down all the things I usually look for in a founder and their idea during this process. I listed things like the founder’s knowledge of the market, their business model, their product, their competition… until I realized that none of these factors matter as much as one specific trait. Even if this trait doesn’t guarantee the business’s success, it does guarantee the success of the founder as a person. And that makes the founder a good investment.

When I met my mentor

I was in the third year of my startup life, age 27, and still full of entrepreneurial energies. My startup was profitable, global, but — at the same time — tiny. We were just four guys in a shabby, IKEA-furnished office on the outskirts of Pisa, Italy. Nobody really noticed or cared about us.

While other flashier (and now defunct) Italian startups were all over the news, we were unknown to the general public. But we were attracting the attention of notable persons in…

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Armando Romeo
Marker
Writer for

Global Entrepreneur | Investor | A successful exit in Cybersecurity | Helping founders grow their startup and exit.