Preparedness and Cognitive Legitimacy as Antecedents of New Venture Funding in Televised Business Pitches


Jeffrey M. Pollack, tel.: (804) 397-0818; e-mail:, to Matthew W. Rutherford at, and to Brian G. Nagy at


This research addresses the question of what specific entrepreneurs' behavior increases the propensity for resource acquisition. Within the context of business “pitches,” we explore subtleties in the process via a theoretically derived model linking entrepreneurs' preparedness behavior, perceived cognitive legitimacy, and amount of funding received. We test this model using data coded from two sources: 14 episodes of the television show “Shark Tank” that aired in 2009, as well as 84 episodes of “Dragons Den” that aired from 2005 to 2010. Within these episodes, we specifically examine the 113 individual business pitches that received funding. Overall, results suggest the relationship between entrepreneurs' preparedness behavior and the amount of funding received is mediated by cognitive legitimacy. Specifically, entrepreneurs' increased preparedness behavior was positively related to increased cognitive legitimacy. Cognitive legitimacy, in turn, was positively related to amount of funding received. We offer thoughts regarding implications from both theoretical and practical perspectives.