Missionary founders create value for their customers which eventually produces value for themselves. Opportunistic founders seek to capture value for themselves before creating value for their customers.
Missionary founders know that if one investor doesn’t fund them, another will. Their conviction makes them stick to their business plan despite short-term setbacks. Opportunistic founders change their business plan to accommodate signs of investor interest.
Missionary founders share their company’s upside with their team because that helps them attract great teammates who increase the company’s chance of success. Opportunistic founders preserve their company’s theoretical upside for themselves, thereby practically lowering it.
Both can succeed, but the former do so more often and at greater scale than the latter.
Also published on Medium.