10 Things to Remember When Presenting to Investors

Yesterday I attended a nice pitch-fest event hosted by Sramana Mitra, who is keen to see more entrepreneurs from Bengal make it to the $1 million per year club.

While some of the presenters had some nice ideas, the presentation left a lot to be desired. This was quite evident from the audience reaction. You need to have a very sharp presentation if you want to pitch your idea to the investors because once they lose interest; you lose them (almost) forever.

  1. Start with a bang. Have a catchy slogan that precisely describes what you are talking about. We are not interested in guessing or waiting till your 7th slide to figure this out. Here is a template:
    “I am here to pitch <product p> that solves <problem y> for <customer class c> by <doing a, b and c>”. Or you can say “<problem y> is a big problem for <customer class c> and our <product p> solves it by <doing a, b and c>”.
  2. Don’t use all the colours on the rainbow. Use 2-3 colours at best. We are not here to appreciate your artistic skills; we want to know the facts of your case.
  3. Use contrasting colours in background and foreground. Dark letters on light background or light colours on dark background. One presenter had used white on light green and we could read nothing.
  4. Don’t put too much text on slides and read that out. We are here to hear you and not to read your slides. Just use the key point on the slide and talk about it. Or put your pitch on the slides and talk less (not a preferred approach).
  5. We will grill you like crazy. If you are not prepared for that, try your luck elsewhere. We disbelieve everything you say and will question you hard. Did someone say “be thick-skinned”?
  6. Your most conservative projection is higher than our most optimistic estimates? Can you defend your position?
  7. Be prepared to jump from slide 3 to 8 to 2 to 12. You cannot insist on us seeing the slides in order (this does not always happen but you should be prepared).
  8. You might have prepared for a 15 minutes presentation and be asked to present in 3 minutes. Be ready with an executive summary that will convey the key points in the short time.
  9. Practice your pitch in front of your co-founders, team members, family or friends. Ask them to be harsh to you and question you about everything. It will boost your confidence for the real presentation.
  10. Smart presenters bring a silent partner along who takes vigorous notes about the questions, and missing facts.
  11. Be prepared to fail. We may not accept your idea or proposal but you will leave the hall as a winner. After all, you have learnt so much. You have discovered why your arguments today did not win the approval and what needs to be worked upon for you to make the next pitch much more awesome.

I know I said 10 tips but that was a bonus tip. You deserve more my friend. Please share your opinion by posting a comment below.