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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Do Big Words Make a Big Difference? Effect of Linguistic Complexity in Equity Crowdfunding

Published: May 27, 2020


WANXIN WANG, Imperial College London


Complexity; Present-focus; Crowdfunding


In this study we examine the link between linguistic complexity of campaign pitches and venture funding on digital crowdfunding platforms. Using text mining to determine the linguistic complexity of 1,151 venture pitches obtained from a leading equity crowdfunding platform we show that pitches with more (vs. less) complex language tend to have poor funding outcomes. Building on the processing fluency theory we contend that linguistically complex pitches create perceptions of low venture credibility which reduces investor confidence and consequently the amount invested. However, ventures with more present framing seem to mitigate the negative effects of linguistic complexity. This study contributes to the research on crowdfunding and digital marketing by providing actionable insights for entrepreneurs seeking funding on crowdfunding platforms.