Sophist Capital launches online ‘Entrepreneur Talent Assessment’ to assess startups’ future prospects, new tool for investors during COVID-19 


The art and science of psychometrics has been much maligned since the Cambridge Analytica scandal; however, personality assessments remain a crucial tool to predict the outcomes of relationships, and facilitate stronger communication and engagement within teams. For investors, they provide important insights into their potential investments. Though a number of accepted industry-standard models exist, none focus on entrepreneurship, and none have been calibrated to predict the likelihood of entrepreneurial success. With the advent of COVID-19, these tools have become increasingly necessary to replace the personal references that traditionally anchor the due diligence process in venture capital.

Sophist Ventures has designed the ‘Entrepreneur Talent Assessment’ to uncover entrepreneurial talent wherever it is found, and mobilize the resources and capital necessary to accelerate founders based on their psychometric profile. Led by a group of veterans of the LA startup ecosystem who have assessed thousands of startups, the tool’s goal is to help investors and founders transform psychometric insights into thriving companies.

South Korea’s Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) is happy to announce they’ll be utilizing the tool for its annual startup pitching program – KOCCA Launchpad 2020. Sophist Capital will deliver a proprietary analysis to match founders with investors, focusing on the importance of compatibility within the founding and investment team.

What does the Assessment do?

The proprietary Entrepreneur Talent Assessment tool determines an entrepreneur’s personality and investment risk profile using psychometrics, behavioral data and machine learning. The assessment’s goal is to identify work styles and determine optimal approaches to fund and scale each startup based on stage, industry, and capital need. The insights generated will enable founders and investors to: 

  • Identify key areas of focus for the founder’s development 
  • Identify compatibilities and potential risk within the founding team
  • Determine compatibility between founders and investors
  • Map the overall dynamics and balance the startup’s strengths and weaknesses 

Development background

Since 2012, Sophist Ventures has worked on developing a scoring algorithm that correlates multiple personality facets to behaviors and financial outcomes, leveraging decades of experience with both successful and unsuccessful startups to train the proprietary machine-learning algorithm. Their benchmarking data are unique. They have scored successful founders on psychometrics plus exit performance to generate their proprietary algorithm. The comprehensive insights into entrepreneurial talent encompass all aspects of personality and generate unique insights into their crisis management skills and pathways to success. 

Team behind the Entrepreneur Talent Assessment

The team that developed the Entrepreneur Talent Assessment is a group of social entrepreneurs active in the LA startup ecosystem, who together have assessed thousands of startups. They are led by Sebastian De Vivo, PhD, Robin Lee, and FIlipp Krasovsky.

  • Sebastian De Vivo received his PhD and MA from Stanford University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at New York University. He has 15 years of experience in economic development and ecosystem analysis/building, working with various public and private agencies to promote entrepreneurship and mitigate systemic barriers for entrepreneurs of color. He has consulted for the City of Los Angeles, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Startup LAunch SBDC, Kapor Center, and StartX. He is particularly interested in risk analysis and machine learning applied to traditionally-underserved entrepreneurs.
  • Robin Lee received her MBA in Entrepreneurship from UC Irvine. She has been at the forefront of LA’s startup and venture capital scene since 2007. While serving as Investment Screening Director for Tech Coast Angels, she facilitated investments of $250M in 150 startups, evaluating thousands of applicants and guiding select portfolio companies through the entirety of the investment process. In addition, Robin consulted on the design and launch of the Blackstone Launchpad Accelerator at UCLA. Robin has been developing entrepreneurial assessments since 2012.
  • Filipp Krasovsky is a UCLA graduate in Economics with programming experience in R forecasting, Excel/VBA module construction, and other statistical analysis packages. While at UCLA, he authored five research studies focused on changes in housing prices using vector autoregressive models. In addition, he has contributed statistical and predictive models to various LA-based startups. Filipp was a nationally-recognized member of the SMC and UCLA debate teams, a NASA-NCAS intern at JPL, and is the recipient of a 2019-20 fellowship at the Acton Institute.

Entrepreneur Talent Assessment Use Cases

  • Entrepreneur’s tool to understand their own work style, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Investor’s tool to assess risk and determine suitability during the investment screening process
  • Startup’s tool to understand team compatibility and increase team’s productivity
  • Hiring manager’s tool to vet candidates for key positions


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