I was at an event recently that was filled with Venture Capitalists and I took the opportunity to ask a number of them what they looked for when an entrepreneur or company made a pitch to them.
They were very quick to point out the many things that they constantly see being done that turns them off:
- Bad powerpoint slides – not just a problem with investor pitches, try to use simple, clear slides and leave the majority of the text for the accompanying handout.
- Reading their slides – learn your pitch in advance and interact with your audience, the more connection you have with them, the better chance they’re going to give you money.
- Using a sales slide deck instead of an investment deck and not researching the investment company – each pitch to a customer or to an potential investor cannot use a generic deck, each one has different interests and needs, tailor a different pitch for each customer or investor.
- No structure and they leave out vital information like financial details – in general investor pitches have a standard template, there are plenty of these on the web, find some examples of this and use it as a base to give your pitch structure.
- No real research into the customer or market – you need to know your market and understand it, that way you can show where your product or service will fit and who your competitors will be.
- Lack of energy or excitement – if you’re not excited about your business then how can you persuade the VC’s that it’s worth investing in?
When you imagine a venture capitalist or angel investor, you would naturally think that all they want to know about when they invest is the financials and how you are going to make them money but while that is a vital aspect in their decision-making process everyone that I spoke to said that they invest in the people not the product.
They want to see entrepreneurs and business people who are passionate about their business, who understand the nuances of the market that they’re working in, who live and breathe the business, it’s what gets them up in the morning and has them working excitedly late into the night. These are the people that VCs invest in.
Show your heart as well as your brains when you give a presentation to a potential investor.