Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pitching a Venture Capitalist

Have you been invited to pitch to a venture capitalist? To a group of them? Well, if you have, congratulations! Here are some of the main points to keep in mind when making that presentation.

Main points:

  1. Don't assume everyone knows what your company does.
    1. Just because you are highly familiar with your company's area of expertise doesn't mean others are. Be able to explain what you do in layman's terms. Don't assume all VCs are techies. Some aren't.
  2. Stay on track.
    1. If you are fortunate enough to get a presentation opportunity, know that VCs typically give you a specified amount of time. i.e., 30 mins or 1 hour. Be on time and remain on task. The VCs may inadvertently sidetrack you but gently bring them back.
  3. Go with the flow.
    1. When presenting to VCs, you'll often get questions throughout the presentation. There's no: "Wait until the presentation is over to ask questions." Know your presentation enough to jump around to answer the questions and be able to return to where you left off.
  4. Understand the entire presentation. You should be able to explain the numbers.
    1. Your CFO or someone else may need to answer the in-depth questions but if you can't answer basic questions about your financials, exit strategy, etc. you'll look like you don't have a good grasp of what drives your company.
  5. Show that there are risks.
    1. Sometimes people are afraid to show they're not teflon. Instead of looking like they're strong, they come across as being too cocky and not knowing their market.

The above is based on the Inc.com piece, How to Sell an Idea to a Venture Capitalist. Click on the link to go to the article.

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