An interesting post on TechCrunch today: Socialcast founder Tim Young explains how he raised $10m for 3 companies using a 5-slide PowerPoint presentation. Some of the points that stood out (please read the full post for the complete picture):
  • In 1-on-1 meetings you can try to avoid the confrontational both sides of the table setting by sitting next to each other and sharing a laptop screen
  • Remember what the objective of your 1st VC meeting is: get to the 2nd one, it is - not yet - about trying to tell the potential investor everything you know about your business in the hope that he will sign the check after 30 minutes. Getting to the 2nd meeting is all about avoiding "rat holes".
  • Focus your slides (in come the 5 slides he used), but have the 45-slide backup in your back pocket in case you need to lift out a slide.
  • Use (real) images of faces wherever you can to introduce people that are involved with the business (instead of names). When he says faces, faces, faces, he obviously is not referring to anonymous models that are too often found in stock images.
I agree with this approach, I just would like to give a word of caution/some comments. Each startup has a different set of 5 slides. Don't just copy the ones Tim used. Rather look through the slides and see what Tim is doing.

His 5 slides have no story in themselves, they are pact with facts. Tim is telling the story himself, without slides. Only when he needs facts he reverts to slides. "Look at the credible team and investors we have" [Very dense slide packed with names, photos, and logos]. "See that there at the bottom? 75,000 i.s.o. 5,000 users per server, let me explain" "We're on a roll" [Very dense slide with performance metrics], etc. The exception is slide 3, an abstract graphic that you can almost draw on a napkin to explain the key idea behind the business. 

Part of why he got his $10m is probably because of the 5 slides. But the majority of the convincing is done by his own presence in the room. Maybe he could have pulled it off without any slides?

The approach in summary: 
  1. Think of the objective: 30 minutes 1-on-1 to get to meeting #2
  2. Design the story
  3. See where you cannot convey the information verbally, and plug the hole(s) with a few slides

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