I just read an excellent article on Tech Crunch by venture capitalist Jay Jameson of BlueRun Ventures. He did a quantitative analysis on over 200 deals that he reviewed (meaning he actually met and was pitched by the company) to determine why he passed. The post is here: http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/24/the-anatomy-of-a-pass-a-quantitati... .
I expect his attempt to boil it down to statistics is probably a little bit overboard, but the analysis is very instructional for entrepreneurs. He basically concluded that he looked at 4 factors: Team, Market, Traction and Product. This list is not surprising in the least. What was surprising is that he calculated the correlation between his evaluation of each deal on each factor with his ultimate decision to offer a deal to the company. The first 3 factors (Team, Market and Traction) had similar, fairly high correlation to the ultimate decision. The fourth factor (Product) had a low correlation.
Yet, if you look at the investor pitch presentation of most technology entrepreneurs, most of the content tends to be about the product (this includes many of my past presentations, I have to admit). That is probably because the entrepreneurs are proud of the product and feel like that is what they are "selling". Of course, with investors the real "product" to sell is an opportunity to make money. And money is made by smart People pursuing a gap in a big Market (and eventually getting Traction doing so). The product is really just the tool by which they do it. When you hire a mechanic or a carpenter you want to know that they have good tools, but you're investing more in the craftsman themself (People) and in the project that they'll be working on (the Market) and, perhaps, some evidence that they can do what they say (Traction)
What do you think?