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Investor Presentations

December 15th, 2007 by Jacob Ukelson

I have been seeing a lot of presentations from budding entrepreneurs trying to at least get in the door to present their ideas to some source of funding. Of course, there is great variation in the quality of the presentations (both style and content) – but it isn’t the quality of the graphics that matters (though you can spend hours with Powerpoint wasting time on the presentation), but rather the content and your presentation style.

There are quite a few primers on the web on how to create a good presentation for VCs and other potential investors (e.g. 102030 rule, enetrepreneur pitch guidelines) so I don’t feel the need to write yet another one. In general two simple rules that I use are probably good enough:
1. When creating a presentation a good rule of thumb for the order of a presentation is: Tell them what you’re gonna tell them, Tell them, Tell them what you told them (I heard this first from Stephen Boies while I was at IBM Research).
2. Get to the point – quickly. Since we are a technology oriented fund, tell me about the technology, what it does and why it is unique. So you may actually need to tweak the presentation based on the audience. Or maybe just do it without slides (some of the best pitches were from someone just telling me their story – not a fancy Powerpoint presentation).

One pet peeve of mine is the use too many superlatives – you want me to get excited, but don’t tell me this is the best thing since sliced bread – every entrepreneur thinks that about their idea. You need to convince me. Tell me something I didn’t know. Convince me you know your technical domain and business environment (including competitors).

Another pet peeve is “patent pending technology” – important to mention since it shows that you have respect for your IP and protecting it. Beyond that – it doesn’t really say much. Anybody with a “dollar and a dream” can submit a patent, and in many cases even when it is issued – it doesn’t actually mean much about the value of the idea or technology.

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