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When it comes to startup founders, venture capitalist Jeff Jordan is looking for one quality in particular.
Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky has it. Ben Silbermann, the founder and CEO of Pinterest, has it, too.
And if a startup founder doesn’t have it, it’s harder to get funding, attract employees, or get attention from the press, Jordan says.
So what is this mythical quality? Storytelling.
“Every great founder can really tell a great story,” Jordan, the former CEO of OpenTable who’s now a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, told Business Insider. “It’s one of the key things in a founder, that you can convince people to believe.”
Jordan describes Chesky as being “like P.T. Barnum” in his ability to tell the story of his company with emotional resonance.
“I’ve seen him get his entire company laughing and crying within five minutes,” Jordan said. “Ben Silbermann has a very different style at Pinterest, but when he tells the story of what Pinterest is, it’s very quiet and very unassuming. He did it to our LPs and they’re all leaning forward, trying to hear more.”