The startupper’s reputation

What are the analytics by which an investor evaluates a startupper? Just the idea and the business plan? Luigi Centenaro, personal branding strategist, reveals us the techniques that demonstrate what makes unique an enterpreneur


According to none other than the Wall Street Journal, Personal Branding, especially online, should be a must for anyone seeking work.

But what has this got to do with startuppers?

Without going into too much detail, Personal Branding in this context means identifying and clearly stating the reason for which someone should choose you. A Brand, after all, is just a means of facilitating the selection of products and services. In the same way, people can make themselves stand out above the rest and demonstrate what makes them unique.

Who are, therefore, the people whose decisions a startupper should influence with a distinctive Personal Brand?

In this first section we will have a look at those people who are perhaps the most important: the investors. Next, we will look at media, customers and collaborators.


In addition to all the aspects of a project, investors will want to know if they are investing their money in the right people. In this regard, it is essential to convey credibility and dependability: do you have the right skills? Do you have sufficient knowledge of the market and sector in which you work?

An example is the fashion blogger Shauna Miller. She focused on the “fashion discount”, providing the perfect answer to one of the needs of her readers: how to make women look beautiful and feel at ease wearing even the cheapest of clothes. Does she know her public? Most definitively, and so much so that her blog quickly went on to attract a large community. This is probably the reason Wal-Mart decided to invest in her own new collection of clothes.

Another important point is motivation:

It might not be easy to demonstrate, but there are ways of conveying the right idea. An entertaining example of this would be the video pitch of Alex Napetshnig, the co-founder of Klash, an application for challenging friends to do crazy things.

Alex presented himself to Jason Calacanis in a decidedly unconventional manner by demonstrating the value proposition of his application as well as the attitude of someone who definitively does not like to be held back:

In addition, a startupper should start with a personal platform, preferably online, where he or she can find valid collaborators and discover and promote new ideas. It is a success factor that some people are now considering more than ever. A good reputation and a strong image are a way of getting a chance to meet and propose an idea to someone, if only for feedback. It can be of great advantage in those cases when the target audience always has limited time available. Roberto Esposito’s previous experience must have stood him in good stead when he presented in writing to obtain funding… of 1.5 million Euros!

Alternatively, it can be advisable to resort to networking, one of the pillars of Personal Branding and the best means available of gaining visibility.

One such example is Paolo Privitera, the co-founder of Pick1. Simply following him on Facebook will make you understand just how important the art of schmoozing, when carried out with skill, can be to the success of your startup business.

We needn’t remind you that you will be searched in Google, and that LinkedIn comes in near the top. Worth considering is the exemplary Google CV of Tiziano Tassi, the co-founder of Caffeina Lab who also has a highly impressive LinkedIn profile.

Also, as LinkedIn is now more like Facebook, it is a good idea to join in and not just treat it as a site for uploading your CV.

Coming up will be the benefits of personal branding and tips on dealing with the media, the public and collaborators.