Grab a VC’s Attention…
While you’ve got it!
By now you're probably thinking that you are pretty good at giving
presentations. I thought I was. I mean after all, I had spent the
past 15 years in high-tech marketing, where creating PowerPoint
presentations in 15 minutes flat is a way of life. Yessiree, I thought
I was a pretty decent presenter - until I took the Mandel Communications
Effective Presentation Skills workshop last June. But more about
It was proven to me that brushing up on presentation skills is
not unlike brushing up on skiing skills. No matter how good you
are, no matter how many times you've done it... chances are you
could be even better. And when the time comes for you to present
your business opportunity to a venture capitalist, you really
want to be better.
Here are the top 12 things that a venture capitalist is looking
for in your presentation, (as told to me by a venture capitalist
who has witnessed his share of "thumbs up, and down" presentations):
1. Be clear, concise and succinct. No one wants to hear someone
blather on about a subject. It makes you look as though you are
not practiced, articulate about your business or considerate of
your audience’s time.
2. Venture capitalists think in terms of bullet points. (You can
easily imagine this as you catch them looking at their watches before
you are even 5 minutes into your presentation). So try to place
the most important information/message that you want them to retain
in bullet point fashion.
3. You must have a presentation. Apparently it happens from time
to time that an entrepreneur will walk into a VC meeting with a
copy of their business plan and try to talk from that. Unless you've
done this a lot and have successfully raised millions of dollars
with this style, don't do it.
4. Like the Executive Summary to your business plan, your presentation
must clearly communicate:
Product or Service
Market Size and Opportunity
Sustainable Competitive Advantage
What You Will Need to Succeed
5. Don't be inhibited when asking for what you will need from a
venture capitalist to move your company forward. Venture capitalists
can offer a great deal of help and guidance in finance and management.
It is important that you have a realistic perspective of your strengths
and weaknesses and are willing to ask for help.
6. Demos of your product/services are good. Make sure that your
demo paints a picture of how a customer will use your product. This
will help the VC visualize your product’s application in the market,
and confirms your knowledge of the target market. Don't get lost
in the 'gee-whiz' technology. Stay focused on the application and
end benefit to your product. The demo's objective is to illustrate
who, how and why a customer will use your product. Finally, make
sure the demo works well. Practice incorporating it into your presentation
7. Present a complete picture of your market opportunity. Nothing
will excite a VC audience more than substantiating why a large market
will demand your product or service.
8. Typically, investors expect the 'marketing type' person to present
your business opportunity. If you are a 'techie', dispel the myth
that you can't be passionate, persuasive and entirely familiar with
your target market.
9. Investors love to work with entrepreneurs because they are excited
about their product, passionate about meeting a customer need and
talented visionaries. Don't hold back when presenting. Enthusiasm
10. You are typically granted 60 minutes in your initial presentation
meeting. Keep your presentation to 20 - 30 minutes allowing plenty
of time for Q & A. Also remember to use the 1-Slide-Per-2-Minute rule.
11. Always be yourself and don't force a match. Wait for the investor
that you 'click with'. If the chemistry is there, you will know
it, if it's not, move on to the next investor.
12. With a great idea and well thought out presentation, you’ll
never appear nervous. Passion can quickly replace nervousness and
is easily recognized. Practice in front of an audience - (make sure
it’s of the human variety).
Some individuals are just 'naturals' at presenting. Other individuals
would rather have a root canal performed on them. No matter what
your level of expertise, chances are you can benefit from brushing
up on this valuable skill and I strongly recommend Mandel Communications
as a source for training. (mandelcom.com)
In Mandel's Effective Presentation Skills two-day workshop, you'll
learn how to better deliver, plan, use visuals, address Q &
A and develop great energy and composure. (And get plenty of laughs
from seeing yourself on video before an audience of complete strangers).
Mandel Communications also offers individual coaching, advanced
skill development and has been training noted professionals in the
technology industry for many successful years. You’ve got everything
to gain by taking this workshop.
Your initial presentation to an investor is a critical step that
allows the investor to gain a first impression of you and your ability
to articulate your business opportunity. Don’t miss the opportunity
to engage an investor in what may be your favorite life’s work.
By: Denise A. Ryan, BluMarble