How to wow a venture capitalist in 7 slides.

July 8, 2010 at 8:47 am 1 comment

I spotted this great blog post by Gerry Langeler | Seattle 2.0

We’ve seen all sorts of presentations from startups over the years. But none as succinct, yet as effective as one we saw a few days ago.

The Seattle company in question is one that pitched us a few years ago. At the time, we loved the team, but thought they seemed to be remarkably unfocused. So, rather than have our money burned in a “bumping into trees” exercise, we passed. Now they were back – with laser focus – and it showed.

Before the presentation started, the CEO told us he only brought seven slides. And oh, by the way, they were all in 30 point type! My immediate reaction was, “This guy must have his stuff together!” Rather than death by PowerPoint, he was planning to subject us to a real discussion, where the knowledge of the management team was the foundation, not the slides. And the goal was interaction with potential investors, not to baffle us with BS.

Read more:

Just keep things simple.

I am continually surprised by the number of people who don’t get this. When you’re making an important presentation — keep it simple. PowerPoint would be infinitely more effective if it didn’t allow any type smaller than 30 point, and we would be infinitely more effective as presenters if we used PowerPoint to reinforce, not present, a few key points in our presentations.

When I traveled around the country making presentations to CEO groups, I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to have lots of PowerPoint slides and almost every thought included in my 3 hour presentation was up there on a slide. One day, when I deplaned in Sacramento, I learned that my projector hadn’t made it on the plane.

I could have panicked. Instead, I used my notes as my outline and wrote a few key ideas on a white board as I talked. Funny thing… I did less talking and had much more participation from my audience. From then on, I changed my slides to feature key points only.

Gerry Langeler’s example talks about pitching your company to VCs… the toughest crowd imaginable. But I think his lesson applies across the board. If you need to share details — use a handout. If you’re presenting to a group — keep it simple.


Entry filed under: CEO coach, management.

Smaller houses and bigger lives, the time of quality essentials. Word of mouth matters.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Alan the $100K Small Business Coach  |  July 12, 2010 at 5:45 am

    One thing I’ve discovered is that when you are pitching to a VC, most people feel that their job is to “sell themselves.” But, as in every sales and marketing situation, this is what your prospect, the VC, wants, and not about what you want to sell. So keep the focus on what the VC wants, and make sure to know what his questions will be and anser them in that 7 slides you are talking about.



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