It’s no secret that venture capital funding has slowed this year, but don’t let this discourage you. It only takes one investor to believe in what you’re building and connect you with the resources you need to launch and sustain your business.
Now, to help you nail your pitch presentation, let’s explore six core ways to deliver a compelling presentation that engages investors in your brand story, vision, and future success.
6 Ways To Optimize Your VC Pitch Presentation
In-person and virtual VC pitch meetings can be equally effective in securing funding for your company, as long as you focus on connecting with your potential investor and building their trust in you and your business strategy.
Transparency is always attractive in a pitch meeting. You can be transparent and ambitious at the same time—know what you know, know what you don’t know, and be honest about those details.
Whether you’re pitching in-person or online, the following tips will help maximize your likelihood of securing funding.
1. Keep Your Deck Short
The pitch is a conversation, not a data dump. Think of the deck as a story told in a sequence of slides. Your presentation deck should be 10-12 slides, up to 15 slides if necessary. Remember that if you can’t get your audience excited in 12 slides, you definitely won’t in 40.
By keeping it shorter and to the point, you’ll feel less time pressure when going through your slides and you’ll have more time for a conversation, instead of delivering a monologue.
2. Tell An Engaging Story
A CEO has three main jobs: setting a big vision, fundraising, and hiring the management team.
All three jobs require selling, and investors sense your ability to sell well during the pitch meeting. Learn how to tell a compelling story about your company that makes people want to buy in.
Lisa suggests treating the headlines across each slide as if they’re one continuous piece of prose, which can also help you order your presentation. Early-stage companies will primarily rely on storytelling. Later-stage companies should put any compelling metrics upfront in their presentation.
3. Articulate Your Value Proposition Early
If an investor doesn’t understand what you’re doing in the first 10 minutes, then they’ll wonder how you’ll sell your vision to other investors, employees and customers to get them to buy-in.
In Lisa’s experience, the best founders (both first-time and repeat founders) are able to distill complex topics and problems into simple explanations.
Part of understanding your value proposition also involves acknowledging your risks. Be sure to cover these nine risk areas during your pitch presentation.
4. Steer Away From Rehearsed Jokes
People have different senses of humor and rehearsed jokes often fall flat. Just don’t do it.
5. Embrace Investor Questions
As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to lead the conversation. However, you should be ready—and eager—to answer investor questions. Most investors will bombard you with questions, which is an opportunity to engage them and show off parts of your business that stir their interest. A great presentation is interactive, with investors asking questions and founders weaving in key points in their replies.
Because of these questions, be prepared to go out of order. Have a short, direct presentation and know your presentation well enough to be able to present it in a random order.
And, be aware of your reaction to questions during the pitch. Investors want to see you’re flexible and passionate. Do your best to be curious and accommodate the investors’ questions, rather than getting defensive.
6. Connect With Your Investors, Not Your PowerPoint
Standard presentation skills are essential during a pitch. Make eye contact with your investors and engage with everyone in the meeting. Be mindful of your body language, and avoid reading a speech or sticking stubbornly to a script.
Keep In Touch with Prospective Investors
You get better at pitching by pitching. Even if a VC passes for now, a good first impression can lead to introductions, advice, or financing down the road. Keep your ideal investors updated on your team’s growth through monthly emails or quarterly check-ins.
As you continue to pitch investors, refine your presentation and update it with the newest metrics and proof points that reinforce your company value and potential. Every conversation you have is an opportunity to strengthen your pitch and maximize your chance of securing funding.
Learn more about how founders can think like a VC in pitch presentations from Lisa Wu’s video conversation and Q&A with TechCrunch.