Starting an Investor Presentation

Last week I sat and listened to a group of entrepreneurs pitch their opportunities to a group of Angel/Venture investors. As I listened, it occurred to me that there must be a book, article, website or dream that every entrepreneur gets that tells them to disregard any advice they may have gotten about how to start their presentation.

Over the last four years of listening to pitches there is a consistent practice of starting their presentations with their background, a funny story about how they got started, how the founders were great friends, …

It seems they cover everything in the first couple of minutes except what the investor wants to hear. What is the business opportunity that they are presenting and why should the investor listen to the rest of the pitch? In fact, there are times after 15-20 minutes of presentation that I am still waiting to hear these things.

I am not sure why this is, but it is consistent. One presenter last week started by saying "Well let me start with my background and resume so that I can get that out of the way"! Like that was the most important thing an investor wanted to hear. He must have thought he was applying for a job. I guess he thought his past was more interesting than his future.

For any entrepreneurs who might read this, please remember that the investor is really interested in hearing about your current or potential business or, if you are really early stage, about how your technology or product solves big problems in a large customer segment that is willing to pay for it and how you know this.

Everything else that you talk about in the first 45 to 60 seconds is not important except that it gives an investor a reason to stop listening and once they stop you can't get them started with the remaining presentation.

Does anyone else have any recommendations?

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2 Responses to “Starting an Investor Presentation”


  1. 1 John R. Nelson June 20, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Well said, Jim… Unfortunately, it’ll require constant repeating, so that a few “winners” can get the message (and financing!).

  2. 2 socalbuzz June 21, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    John:
    Thanks for the comment. I think it is too bad that so many entrepreneurs don’t get the message. They work so hard to get in front of investors and then blow it for silly things that they should have known about.

    Jim


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