Rising Above the Crowd

in Strategy & Trends | by David Capece

Key Elements to a Successful Investor Presentation

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

The investor presentation is one of the single-most important pitches to an investor. If you have an opportunity to give an investor presentation, it’s crucial to make your presentation polished, clean and memorable. Venture capital firms may see hundreds of presentations before selecting only a few to invest in. There are several key components to a powerful, yet comprehensive presentation.

The Powerful PowerPoint: Where Interesting Meets Informative

Be Concise
Avoid text-heavy slides. They distract the audience from what you’re trying to say. Simply write the core of your talking points on the slide, not the entire business plan.

Be Visual
The more visual and design-friendly your slides, the more interesting they become. If all of your slides are text, the presentation might seem boring and tedious. While charts are great, make sure they tell the story.  Clipart for the sake of having clipart might make your presentation look cheap and corny.

Be Short but Compelling
Play to a short attention span. Assume everyone in the room is not as invested as you are, how are you going to capture their attention. Having 50 slides is not compelling. Think less is more.

In the mid-80s, Jerry Kaplan was a young entrepreneur in his late 20s. His vision was to create a personal computer that could fit in a briefcase. He had a chance of a lifetime when he was asked to present his venture to Kleiner Perkins—a celebrity venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

Partially finished with his presentation and unsatisfied with his performance, Kaplan gave up. He made the decision that his presentation was boring and he wasn’t going to get any investment from Perkins anyway, so he did something that someone in their right mind would not expect or do. He remembered his goal: computer the size of a briefcase. In a fateful turn of events, he threw his briefcase on the table and said, I want to make a computer that can fit in that. The investors, surprised by this unorthodox turn of events, leaned forward and began to talk. After some questions and discussion amongst the audience, Kaplan left. But he left with a $4.5 million investment in a non-existent company.

Be Realistic
Just as you would demonstrate a strong market, show that there are barriers. Honesty is paramount. Make sure there aren’t negative surprises when an investor is interested in your business.

Be Focused
The presentation is a concise version of the business plan, so make sure you hit all of your bases. Make sure you capitalize on the financials, the current trends in the market and who is going to be running the business.

Think Sales
In that meeting, you’re a salesperson. Think about what you would you do if you were trying to sell any other product. You may not close in the meeting, but be sure that you have a gameplan to continue the conversation.  Leave a small take-away about your company so you have a physical presence after you leave.