Over the years I have had to review and give feedback on Powerpoint presentations prepared for startups to use when they are pitching to Angel Investors and VC Firms. There are some common rookie mistakes that I see which are a sure-fire way not to get a second meeting that can lead a startup to get funded. Great ideas are everywhere, however a great idea that is well thought out and a well prepared presentation can lead to funding. By taking the following tips, you can mold your presentation to be an asset rather than hinder your funding process.
15 slides or less
Avoid lengthy presentations that leave investors bored. You want it to be short enough to have time for questions and answers. 15 slides or less for a one hour meeting is ideal.
“That is a cool idea” won’t cut it; don’t just talk about the idea
A presentation needs to show your idea, the nature and size of their market for the problem that your idea will solve, how the idea will be executed, competitors, who will be involved, how qualified are they to be involved, how much will it cost, and how much profit potential your idea has.
Be clear on explaining the potential
VCs will be much more willing to help finance a company if there are clear goals with defined milestones, and a breakdown of where the growth potential is.
Don’t look too good to be true
Avoid unrealistic figures. VCs have seen it all. The last thing they are going to invest in is a company that doesn’t show realistic conservative figures and doesn’t line up with targeted industry growth potential.
Identify your potential rivals
If anyone pitches a company to me and says “We have no competitors” I immediately become skeptical. Like many investors I see that they are not business savvy and not worth investing in. Every company has a competitor. Make a table in your slide that lists the major and potential competitors and how they compare to your company.
Don’t lie about your credentials and your staff’s credentials
Do not overstate your background information. VCs do their due diligence if they are going to invest, and they have the skills of a professional poker player having developed a highly tuned sense of when someone is bluffing. You would not want a lie that seemed good at the time to be the deciding factor in why you did not get funded.
Avoid entrepreneur clichés
Too many entrepreneurs try to say in different ways “all we have to do is capture 1 percent of the market” in order to be a success. Too many entrepreneurs foolishly assume that such a milestone is easy to achieve. In truth, the vast majority of companies never gain 1 percent or more of their total marketplace. VCs like to see researched figures
Be prepared to be interrupted and be ready to answer
When preparing your presentation and power point slides, be ready to be interrupted. VCs likely will have questions that interrupt your presentation. Do not rush to answer them quickly or avoid them altogether to continue back to your rehearsed pitch. This is where VCs really see if you are knowledgeable, have thought out every aspect about your company, have realistic growth potential, and truly understand your target market. This is when a VC starts to grasp the risk and reward of investing in your company.
Neat and clean
Keep your presentation material neat and clean, not cluttered, easily viewable from a distance, and free of spelling or grammar mistakes. Your first impression needs to be tight.
By taking these tips, you can mold your VC presentation to be an asset rather than hinder your funding process.