ECC Talk #12 – Pitching to Investors


I’ve got this great idea – It does this, that, and you can use it this way and that way, and it will work for this and that…….  Woah!  Yes it will, but you won’t make it through the first 60 seconds pitching to investors!

Presentations should be:

  1. Understandable – Don’t prove how smart you are, make it understandable & clear
  2. Memorable – Make it memorable but not crazy.  Use nmeumonics, uniqueness, and use your personality.  KEEP REINFORCING THE TAG LINE!

Guy Kawasaki has a great rule of thumb for PowerPoints:

  • Keep your presentation short and simple – don’t wear out your welcome.  Make an impact.
  • PowerPoints should be:   NO LONGER than 10 minutes, NO LONGER than 20 slides, and NO SMALLER than 30 point font.

Here’s a FIVE point plan to make your presentation work:

  1. Know your audience – Are they engineers, venture capitalists, angel investors, techncial folks, consumers, distributors – Understand their perspective and address what they need to get out of the presentation
  2. Tell your story
    • Define a problem / Give a solution.   Simple and succient.  Just like Steve Jobs did in his iPhone 2007 Keynote – It’s a phone, It’s your music, and It’s the Internet – All in one convenient device.
    • Don’t give features – Give people Benefits.  Tell people how what you are doing will enrich and benefit their lives.  Saving time, making things simpler, connecting the dots, etc.
    • Case Study.   People love a story, and a story is memorable.  If you can, give an example of your plan in action….  Appeal to people’s emotions, humanize your product, tell how it enriches lives, say how great it is
  3. Pictures are your friend
    • Pictures say 1000 words, they tell a story.  Make sure they’re relevant!  Do your best to make them personal and intimate.
    • Graphs say 500 words (and usually show trends) – Great for illustration, but KEEP THEM SIMPLE!
    • Tables are worth ZERO!  People like to be enlightened and instantly understand, they don’t want to view, absorb, decipher, and deduce.  Shoot for instant understanding
  4. Take the High Road
    • Give your audience the overview, not the details
    • Give them the overview, but have the details in your pocket in case they want to dig in…. Then it’s OK to discuss if they ask you.  Let your audience drive the presentation because that means they’ll get the most out of it.
  5. Practice for Time – Practice and rehearse your presentation AT LEAST THREE TIMES!  Do it in the clothes you’re going to wear.
    • Get an Objective Viewpoint – Solicit feedback from objective individuals… Typically not family or loved ones.  They won’t want to hurt your feelings, whereas others can objectively give you an opinion to help you improve.


So there’s the 5 point plan….  A few other tid-bits for you:

  • Body Language – Be relaxed, always make good eye contact with the audience, and maintain a casual tone.