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 their investor pitch.
So it seemed like the perfect 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 2 of their words of wisdom.
“Be authentic. Don’t be over-promotional. Don’t use a lot of jargon. Tell the truth. Be passionate within reason and talk about how you are going to solve a problem and how by doing so, your company makes money.”
Tom Walker, President and CEO
“Keep it simple. Keep your message and story really concise and easy to follow throughout your pitch. Tell a story that flows all the way through and shows how your product solves someone’s problem. You want the audience to have an emotional reaction to the pitch and to have empathy with your customer. One of our Demo Day companies, 3Bar, has a solution that helps farmers. The venture capitalists who will be in the audience aren’t farmers, but we have to make them understand the pain that the farmer feels.”
Matt Veryser, Director, Venture Acceleration
“The best demo day pitch I ever saw was made by an entrepreneur who not only had a great answer for every single question he was asked by the audience: he also had a slide in his appendix for every question! I asked him, ‘So, did you plant all of those questions in the audience? You had an answer for every one of them!’ He replied, ‘No, I had an advisor who told me how to never get stumped by the same question twice. He suggested I ask a member of my team to write down every question I was asked in any presentation we ever did and to create a succinct answer and slide for each one them. So that’s what I did!’”
Parker MacDonell, Managing Director – Ohio TechAngels Fund
“Entrepreneurs really underestimate the value of practicing. That has been consistently my experience over the last 10 years. The assumption is that they know their business better than anyone else; therefore, they don’t need to practice talking about it. The reality is that audiences have really short attention spans. Entrepreneurs need to be able to clearly articulate their idea. One way to do that is to practice in front of people who have no idea about what the business is. There isn’t a set way of presenting. It has to be who you are and authentic and the only way to achieve that is practice it.
Also, it doesn’t matter where you are in Ohio, on the Coast, or in Atlanta or Austin. People will give you templates to follow. Those are meant to say this is the content we want you to cover. Conform your presentation to the content in whatever flow is best for you and your presentation.”
Bethany George, Director, Investment Funds
“Be yourself and let your personality come through, regardless of what it is. Be authentic. Let your enthusiasm for what you are working on shine. Enthusiasm is contagious.
In your slide deck, have a picture that really tells a story. One picture will be remembered when ten slides of bullet points won’t. You can leave one impression; have it be a visual.
On the flip side, you have to give some facts that are real to support your enthusiasm and excitement. There has to be some steak to the sizzle – some real facts that show you are making progress; otherwise all that enthusiasm becomes unsubstantiated puffery. Saying that your company is going to take a $3 billion market in China is puffery. Saying that you’ve signed a real contract with one Chinese distributor that will allow your company to enter the market in the first quarter of 2016, that’s a factoid that makes you credible.
It comes down to one memorable image and one memorable fact. One image and one fact. What’s the one thing that you are going to say that investors are going to leave with? What’s impressive and imaginative about your solution and what’s the one fact that shows you are making progress?”
Greg Pugh, Sr. VP Venture Acceleration
To learn more about how to tell your business’s story, talk to us.