Telling New-Venture Stories Paints a Picture for Investors

The New Prosperity Initiative (NPi) is a Boston-based media organization “that pairs storytelling with new media to publicize the efforts of people and organizations doing socially innovative work to end poverty and build prosperity. NPi stories take the shape of interviews, photo essays, videos, and podcasts and are distributed both in print and online.”

At the same time that NPi is chronicling those working toward social change, its founders, Jeanne Dasaro and Alexis Schroeder, are maintaining a blog that chronicles the story of their entrepreneurship and how they are attempting to launch, grow, and raise funds for the venture.

In a recent entry, Schroeder wrote: “Every now and then someone asks me where I think NPi is in terms of its long-term development. The short answer is: We don’t have money yet, but we do have a strong business plan and some pretty fantastic partners. … One question I’ve been asking myself lately (the answer to which I think we need to communicate better) is, “Why invest in NPi?”

NPi’s answer to that question is one that reflects deep social concern, but it’s a question that every entrepreneur must answer.

Last year, my best friend hatched an idea for a Web-based application that will be truly revolutionary. It’s not quite as much about social change on a global level as NPi is, but it’s something that can truly do wonders for people’s personal and career growth. She asked me to partner with her. For almost a year, we’ve been slowly developing the idea and seeking a way to finance it.

We recently applied for venture capital support that is more than just money. If we’re chosen, we will get intensive expert guidance and personnel to bring our venture to fruition.

Interestingly, part of the application process asked for stories of how our idea would work and what it would look like in action. I had a lot of fun developing those stories.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to see those stories play a key role in our success. If you want people to invest in your idea, you must be able to present a storied vision that enables investors to picture how it will work and why it’s a great idea.

I love the circularity of NPi’s discussion of storytelling: Storytelling is at the core of the venture’s purpose. The founders must show why storytelling is so important (see quote below). And at the same time, they tell their own story of launching the venture

From Schroeder’s blog entry:

So why invest in a media organization that tells stories? Because millions of people in America and across the globe are missing more than a few of these key pieces of the puzzle necessary for living a prosperous life. … Everyone deserves a fair shot at living a healthful, prosperous life. In cities and towns all across the country, in major international cities and rural villages, people are doing incredible work to make sure everyone gets one. These are stories that must be told.