You’ve got multiple meetings with venture capitalists set up, each offering something unique and relevant to your business. And in turn, you feel your business is a natural fit for these investors based on their backing history. Now you need to convince them the bond you’ve identified is a strong and financially logical one.
This you must do during the all-important, make-or-break, do-or-die, pitch presentation.
There is no one formula that can guarantee a positive outcome when you pitch your company to a VC. Much of the decision-making process will be based on the exactitude of your venture and the business realities beyond the presenting room. However, there are several principles and structures exhibited by nearly all successful pitches, so it is worth considering and incorporating these in yours as well.
The successful pitcher can get inside the minds of the VCs they’re presenting to, making critical investing information emotionally engaging, easily accessible and memorable.
Below is a step-by-step guide for delivering a pitch presentation that grabs and keeps investor attention.
Before you even set foot in the room…
You need to do a substantial amount of homework on your audience. In most cases you will have a relatively short period of time to make the pitch (no more than 30 mins), so the more research you do ahead of it, the greater your ability will be to tailor your pitch to what matters most to your audience.
Ask yourself the following questions, then go and get the answers:
- Who will be attending and what are their respective roles within the fund allocation process?
- Where is the fund in terms of maturity and how much is in it?
- What are the themes and values running through the VC? How will your organisation fit in with these?
- What are the notable exits for the VC? Get some headlines about the successes of these businesses. Consider subtle ways of psychologically aligning your business with these successes.
There is a lot written about the psychology of the presentation itself. One of the most notable theories on the practice is the 10-20-30 rule advocated by Guy Kawasaki (former Chief Evangelist @ Apple, Google Advisor to Motorola, now @ Canva). The rule is very simple:
Limit your presentation to no more than 10 slides, 20 minutes of length, and a font size no smaller than 30.
We are by no means suggesting that your presentation must stay within these rather tight parameters. Still, it’s worth considering them for a moment.
Evidence suggests that the human brain is only able to comprehend 10 concepts clearly within a single presentation or meeting. Anything beyond this dissipates the overall theme’s coherence, leaving the audience confused, and worse, disengaged. The 20-minute limit stems from the 10-concept limit and how long it should take to elaborate on each of these concepts. Keeping your font no smaller than 30 ensures you are restricted to a low number of words. As a result, your audience cannot read ahead of you and create a presenter-presentee disconnect. You can include greater levels of detail in your leave behind document. In addition, fewer words on the screen will require you to know your material inside-out. This, in turn, makes you a much more confident and charming presenter.
“You need to start like a rocket”
David S. Rose – Serial Entrepreneur and Investor, founder of Silicon Alley Community in New York
In his TED talk, ’10 things to know before you pitch a VC’ (notice the use of 10) David S. Rose discusses the VC pitch in terms of the gradual, logical progression of ideas wherein one idea builds upon the energy of the previous, culminating in an irresistible crescendo of (emotional) investment. But what should those ideas be? Here’s a blueprint for you to consider when ideating your pitch deck.
- Opening Gambit
Who are you and what is your purpose? Summarise your mission in one sentence accompanied by your logo. Channel your inner Simon Sinek‘s “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”.
- The Pain
Outline the current challenges your target market is facing.
- The Remedy
Time to talk product and tell a little bit of the story of your IP.
- The Market
How does the remedy translate into profit? Give some topline evidence for the addressable market.
- Why Now?
What are the factors which make this the ideal time to strike?
Simple enough, “But I’ve created a Blue Ocean?” You still have competition and you must prove your competition is the old way of doing things.
- Business Model
How will the money be generated from your proposed activity, and who are the customers providing the money
What is your strategy for moving money out of your competitors and existing players’ pockets and into yours?
There’s differing opinion as to where this slide should sit. VCs invest in people leading some to suggest it should be right up front. However, truth is that it is ultimately subjective to the individual pitch and where your flow suggests it would fit best. Wherever it ends up, this concept should serve to reinforce your remedy moment and further demonstrate that your business has what it takes to monetise the pain alleviation.
Finish with your vision for the future. Circulate back to your opening gambit, and underpin that with concrete, quantifiable, growth indicators.
A Clean Exit…
Following your presentation there will most definitely be questions. The important thing is to remain confident, calm and conversational in your tone and demeanour as far as is possible within such a pressurised environment. Make sure that your responses reinforce the salient points you wanted to finish off the pitch with, as well as your vision and value proposition. Finally, outline what the next steps are, and on what timeline.
With over 8,500 successful placements in 37 countries and counting, Guided Solutions is Europe’s largest search & selection consultancy operating exclusively within Medical Devices.
Contact us today to make sure your next hiring step is done the right way.