Nailing Your Investor Pitch: Two Part Series
Here at Rev1, we’re deep in the plans for Demo Day and working with 10 outstanding entrepreneurs to perfect ther investor pitch.
So it seemed like the ideal opportunity to do a little informal survey of the Rev1 team—a group of entrepreneurs and investors who have seen entrepreneur presentations of every stripe over the years.
Here’s Part 1 of their words of wisdom.
“Just because you are fantastic at presenting doesn’t at all mean that you have a product that matters to the world. Prove to me that your target audience actually thinks that it is compelling. What adjustments did you make after taking your idea to people in the market? What did you do to improve your idea?”
Mike Blackwell, Sr. VP Entrepreneurial Development
“Some of the more technical founders get held up on is that they are fearful that if they tell one story, people won’t understand that their products can be used in different ways, that there are different application sets. When smart investors see something amazing, they can think of other ways it can be applied in other markets. The entrepreneur doesn’t have to hit every point of every market. Showing one amazing story is better than calling out 20 markets that aren’t that interesting. A good example won’t pigeon hole them.
If you don’t have a reference customer that’s comfortable or ready to talk about how they are using your solution in a specific application, it’s okay to come up with an example, just don’t make it feel generic. Bring the persona of your customer to life so that people can really understand the ultimate value of your solution to the person who is struggling with a problem—especially when you have a very technical solution.”
Kristy Campbell, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
“Don’t wing the presentation. I can’t tell you how many times I’m working with an entrepreneur and after we go through a practice presentation, he or she will say, ‘It will be better when I’m in front of the audience.’ One hundred times out of one hundred times, it’s not better when they are in front of the audience. Practice. Speak thematically. Think of your story and each slide as a different chapter. Memorize transition sentences between slides. Be natural, but you can’t wing it.”
Michael Kindrat-Pratt, Director, Ohio TechAngel Funds
“Knowing yourself as a presenter is huge; how we present is different for everyone. Gauging the audience is really important. I’ve seen good presenters say a couple of sentences and then take a pause. That gives the audience time to think about what was said. It gives the presenter a moment to gather his or her thoughts and then go forward. It’s a chance to make sure that everyone is on the right track. If you’ve lost the audience it gives you a chance to regroup and start again. That’s better than going down the wrong train of thought and ruining the moment.”
Hannah Gray, Venture Analyst
“Do your presentation as if the power failed. When I was in college, I was in the drum and bugle corps at a time when you used the entire field with very complicated routines. We were in a competition in California and the power failed at the field. The corps that was on the field went through their entire routine, finishing their program in the dark. We were all sitting there in the dark. All the field lights were gone. They kept playing and doing their routine. It was absolutely magical. So learn to do your presentation as if the power had failed.”
Wayne Embree, EVP Venture Acceleration and Investment
To learn more about how to tell your business’s story so everyone listens, email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell it to us.