B. Intrinsic Motivation

A powerful and unique type of motivation produced as a result of doing things we love and are passionate about. The opposite of pursuing goals for the sake of external rewards (which often involve monetary gains).

When a founder is engaged in problem solving, creating a product or building a business which creates excitement - he or she will be able to maintain high levels of energy for longer periods of time. Intrinsic motivation is the founder’s mental “immune system”.

This is what gets him or her through the rollercoaster of startup life and through countless failures. It fuels the founder’s belief in themselves, their team and vision - even when reality proves otherwise momentarily.


Internal Reward System


Commitment to Oneself

Independence of Thought

Real Life Examples

Real Life Example 01

High Intrinsic Motivation

An early-stage startup is developing a deep-tech product. It is taking them close to two years to be ready to approach potential customers. Throughout the product development process, the founders manage to produce and conserve energy derived from their vision and subject-related passion. While they are occasionally bothered by the length of the process at times of stress and disconnection from the market, they manage to restore positive energy gained from the greater goal and can project it to the rest of the team.

Real Life Example 02

Low Intrinsic Motivation

A team of three founders started working together on a new venture several months ago. The CEO senses they have sufficient conviction to launch their seed round. His co-founders follow his lead. After a month of fundraising attempts and an evident lack of interest from investors, the team realizes it was too soon to fundraise. At that point, the atmosphere in the team shifts - the team experiences its first crisis. The CEO starts to question the pain they are trying to solve, and gradually loses interest in the company.

Ask a Founder


“What drove you to take the entrepreneurial path?”

+ Positive Indicators

“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to create a product and company from scratch.”

“I am passionate about leading a team and their operations.”

“I have been a part of many businesses in the past as an employee and it is time I lead a business on my own.”

- Negative Indicators

“I took part in many businesses in the past and understand that this is the only way in which I can create significant wealth for myself.”

“I have always envied other startup founders and wished to finally take this step myself.”

“It is time I lead a business myself and be my own boss. Working for other no longer works for me.”


“How did you discover this particular problem you are tackling?”

+ Positive Indicators

“I experienced the pain I am solving first hand.”

“This is a problem I have been looking to solve for years.”

“This is where I belong, I have a strong connection to this field.”

- Negative Indicators

“I have heard about this field from an advisor of ours and have been researching it for the past month.”