Another excellent post by Mark Suster on the subject of pitching to VCs, specifically whether you should send your deck in advance. Read the post here, or get an overview of his entire series on VC pitching here.
The main conclusion: do send A deck in advance. As I suspected, VCs double-click the PPT attachment of an email, and go PGDN PGDN PGDN (this fast) until the end before reading the body of the email (if they read this at all).
OK, we all know that most presentations do not stand on their own, and that the presenter him/herself adds 80% to a presentation. To get through to a busy VC though, you have to leave all these ideals behind. Sorry.
Think of this PGDN PGDN PGDN presentation as a specific type of presentation that has a completely different objective from the standup ptich presentation. You try to get the VC to think longer than 60 seconds about your company:
  • Use the same graphical techniques you would use to try to grab the attention of volatile SideShare audiences. Big images, big fonts so that someone going click, click, click gets the messages
  • Focus the content of the presentation on letting VCs "get it". And this is some of the stuff that entrepreneurs usually leave out. What do you do? "What, you want me to write down that we are making a firewall with a built-in spam filter?" "We do much more than that: we are offering a radically new holestic security concept!" The latter is hard to get...
  • "We have no competition". Not useful. VCs trying to "get it" like to put you in boxes, compare you to competitors/companies they know. Make life easy for them.
  • A VC who (thinks that he/she) gets it, can spend more time on your company, make some calls
When you make it to the next stage in the process, adjust your presentation (coffee chat, standup presentation to the full partner group of a VC). You can add slides (market potential estimate, company business model and financials, roadmap), but even changing the way you present existing slides can be good. (It is a pain to edit and maintain different versions of the same presentation).
The PGDN PGDN PGDN presentation is not your typical presentation, it is graphically appealing replacement of the elevator pitch in the email body.