Do the perfect pitch

By Shani Shoham, April 26, 2012
Follow The JC on Twitter

Many entrepreneurs often stumble when it comes to pitching their presentation to investors. Yet an investor presentation is no different to any other presentation: the thought process should start with the objective and the target audience.

● Objective - the objective of an investor presentation is to trigger interest, not to share every piece of information you have ever gathered. Figure out three or four critical elements that make your start-up shine. Make sure the flow makes sense and that you have many backup slides.

A good presentation makes one "wow" in one or two minutes. Once you have captured your investor's attention, use their questions to go into the details.

● Target audience – we see many slides every day. Frankly, I prefer a conversation over a pitch. Actually, I prefer stories. They are personal, fascinating and express passion. If you can, start with the story of how you came about the need and the solution (product). You can address two of the four elements I mentioned without even a single slide.

My recent venture fund, 2020.vc, was pitched a few dozen times without a single slide. I walked into the room, gave a five-minutes high-level talk about what I was doing and by the tenth meeting I knew exactly what the questions would be and how to best address them. That turned the meeting into a five per cent pitch and 95 per cent conversation.

● Structure - I tend to like the following structure: need, solution, execution, team. If the need is big, the solution makes sense and the team has indicated its ability to execute. I am engaged.

Over half of the presentations I have ever seen include five to ten slides describing the need, followed by an additional five to ten slides describing features. And usually there will be a few more slides describing how big the market is. This is too much information. I am not engaged.

● Practice - always start with the least relevant investors: practice, listen to questions, get feedback on your answers and constantly improve the flow and content.

● Design - graphs are easier to understand than words. Concise slides are better than crowded ones full of content. Have meaningful titles - a person reading your title should understand what the slide is about. Slides should be structured left to right (that is how we are trained to read) and finally, have a slide summarising the key takeaways.

Shani Shoham is an entrepreneur, VC and a board member of four incubators

    Last updated: 2:35pm, April 26 2012