|PowerPoint Business Plan Presentation: Investment Pitch Template (BASIC)|
|PowerPoint Business Plan Presentation: Investment Pitch Template (PREMIUM)|
Venture capitalists (VCs) are extremely busy people and are mostly very smart and well-read too. They are also up-to-date with the latest and greatest in everything, given the number of ideas pitched to them all the time. Most importantly, they are skeptical. (They have to be! That’s the only way they can weed out the riff-raff). All in all, this makes them a difficult bunch to please. But fret not, be patient, and read this essay. Not only will it give you pointers on what to say and how to say it but also what not to say!
TIP 1: Do your research about the VC well ahead of time. Understand the composition of their portfolio and their general risk tendency. Find out if an idea similar to yours has already been pitched. If yes, then get more information on it to find out the result. Make modifications accordingly.
TIP 2: Your ‘Eureka’ moment might have happened in your bath tub or in a bar stool. So it’s probably a good idea to hash out your idea with friends, colleagues, and anyone else that may have some value-add. Hear what everyone has to say but don’t listen to all of it. Human nature is such that we have an opinion about everything even if we know nothing about it, so weed out wisely.
TIP 3: The first step in the pitch is to introduce yourself and your planned management team. Go over basic qualifications and relevant past experience but don’t bore them with too many details from your resume. Remember, you don’t want to appear to be too much smarter than them!
Try ‘alma mater bonding’ if possible. Nothing warms up a skeptic like discussing a college sports team’s performance or hatred of a common rival! Of course, this will only work if you or someone in your team is an alumnus of that same university.
TIP 4: The next step is to go into more detail about the proposed product/service/ offering (henceforth referred to as p/s/o). How did you come up with this idea? What is the target market? Is your p/s/o actually needed right now?
Don’t look at them in disbelief when they ask if your p/s/o is needed right now! They have a right to ask. Instead, respond calmly detailing the virtues of your p/s/o and take them onto the next point.
TIP 5: The unavoidable question – competition. Is there a similar p/s/o right now? What is the competition you will face? What makes you think that you will do better than them? Handle the ‘competition’ question smartly. Don’t make it seem like there will be none because that will make them question market scaling. Don’t make it seem like there will be a lot either because that will make them question its worth. Instead, contrast the existing p/s/o to yours highlighting the better aspects and explain how you will position yourself in the market.
TIP 6: How you are going to implement your p/s/o is the next step. This is in essence, the business model as well as details of the entire delivery process. This is the crux of the pitch, the basis on which you might or might not get your funding. Keep it jargon-free and simple. Remember the number of pitches VCs are subject to and the amount of jargon that must be thrown at them! Be different, be simple.
TIP 7: The all-important issue – time and money! What is the timeline you are looking at i.e. from start-up till launch? Lest you think they want to know this so they can schedule time aside for meetings with you, think again. This is simply to understand when the venture will start bringing in the bucks.
Please err on the side of caution. As much as you think your p/s/o is the greatest thing on earth since sliced bread, go easy on your projections. Understand your place in the market and allocate market share accordingly.
TIP 8: Some clichés are good and ‘short and sweet’ is one of them. Keep your pitch to around a half hour long and about 15 slides at the most. Statistics, spheres and other shapes – everyone has these along with data, predictions and trend analysis from research reports. Don’t use this because in a dynamic market such as ours, this information gets dated and boring. So don’t repeat information that the VC may already be well aware of (e.g., industry specific data, sector growth projections etc). Save slide space.
TIP 9: Nothing impresses a person more than confidence. The belief that you have what it takes to make a success of something must come through when you pitch. Present in a clear and confident tone. VCs like straight-talkers. If you’re passionate about your p/s/o then it must show in the way you deliver the presentation.
TIP 10: Be on time! Set your alarm at least ten minutes earlier than needed, plan ahead for traffic jams, UFO sightings, and anything else out of the ordinary. Getting there on time is paramount.
You might have put in a great deal of time and effort in compiling your presentation. And you most certainly believe in your idea as being the new Bible. But standing in a room filled with smart minds that think faster than a speeding bullet, you could stutter, fumble and start to sweat. Practice, practice and more practice is the only answer, maybe not for the sweat but certainly for the rest! Good luck!
Written by Rekha Raghunathan for Chillibreeze