Brad Feld, a well-known VC, wrote an interesting blog post about "Preparing for a first meeting with me". Short (Feld likes 15 minutes) 1-on-1 meetings with VCs are often a first step to more elaborate pitch presentations. I won't repeat the things Feld has written in his post [Feld-style efficiency: you can click the link yourself :-)], but there some interesting points hiding in the text that are not explicitly spelled out.
  • Cut the small talk and the personal introductions. Get me excited about an idea, I am not (yet) interested in building a personal relationship
  • Surprise me. I want to learn something new. Don't bore me with the obvious, I know it all already, I have seen it all before
  • "Packaging" is irrelevant. I see through it. No need for slick visuals. I prefer sketches on napkins.
What sort of presentation/visuals to bring to these meetings? There is probably no right answer, but here is a suggestion:
  • Take your full PowerPoint pitch deck as a basis and show on a laptop 5 "Zen-style" slides that highlight the problem you are solving. These can be presented in 3 minutes. Close your lap top.
  • Bring with you print outs of selected other slides in your deck that can serve as a basis for your napkins. Print outs are great: you can present them in any order depending on the flow of the conversation. You can sketch and write on them. Good napkins to have as a backup are the competitive landscape (you're in the top right corner, different from anyone else), and a simple tree that explains your revenue model ("here's the magic of the numbers"). Ditch all other typical pitch deck slides (for the moment): revenue hockey stick, go-to-market strategies, team CVs etc. etc.
And now hope that you made it to a "proper" VC pitch in a next meeting.

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.