The WSJ published an article on perfecting the pitch to venture capitalists this morning. It is all stuff we’ve heard before and I’ve been coaching for years, but it is a good reminder. http://tinyurl.com/mkw84r
Since the WSJ seems to be the one paper that refuses to join the rest and offer their content for free, I will summarize the article for those who don’t have a subscription. The article offers 4 areas of tips:
“Modesty Doesn’t Pay”
“Tell it to Mom”
“Don’t Play with the Numbers”
“Stay on the Radar”
Modesty doesn’t pay is a reminder that what you are selling to the VC is yourself and your team. Sure the business idea has to be good, but the team has to be able to execute on the idea for the VC to invest. Tell it to mom is about keeping your pitch simple enough that your mom can understand. Of course, you need to be prepared to dive deep if the VCs ask questions, but the first communication of the concept and your business plan needs to be simple. Don’t play with the numbers is about establishing credibility by accurately depicting your market opportunity. Stay on the radar is about following up and working to build a relationship with the VC, even if the answer is no to the investment.
My favorite quote from the article comes from Mr. Brotman of Greenhil SAVP in New York. “A pitch is like going on a date,” he says. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t introduce themselves. They might give you a name and a business card; other times they’ll go straight to the pitch. That’s like going on a date and saying, ‘Let’s get it on.'”
Of course, the best piece of advice is to practice the pitch before the VC meetings. I have heard from many VCs that they can tell the coherency of the team based on the first presentation — and that coherency comes from practicing the presentation as a team.