Google is full of free investor presentation advice and presentation layouts. The problem with all of these is that they are generic and not specific to your situation. So blindly filling out a presentation template is unlikely going to give you the best pitch.

Here is another way to craft your pitch. Think of an investor you respect, and even better, an investor whose reasoning you sort of understand resulting from conversations and or blog posts. Now, jot down an imaginary conversation that could have taken place if you find yourself next to her in the check in line for a flight. The most important part of the exercise is to anticipate the likely questions are face expressions you are going to encounter: "Really, what is it about?" "Hmm, that is a sort of [x] for [y] right?" "But are any of your users actually sticking around?" "What do people pay today for this?" "But you have no machine learning expert on your team" "Yes, I know that online video consumes a lot of bandwidth, but what does it have to do with you"

 Now take you notes from this conversation and use it to craft the flow of your investor pitch. Then, go back to the standard investor presentation templates and use them as a check list to see whether you haven't forgotten anything important.

Why is the business school, standard, investor presentation structure not always the right one?

  • Investors might already know a lot about a market, a technical vertical segment, so there is no need to do the 101
  • Investors might actually know nothing about a particular market, and you will have educate them before getting to the actual pitch
  • There are "elephant in the room" questions screaming to be answered first, even if they allow show up on page 25 of your template
  • Visual or verbal analogies might require a story sequencing that clashes completely with a standard investor pitch template
  • If you have 500 pages and/or 3 hours of material there is no alternative but to structure things orderly. ("Hey, where were we again?")  In 10 to 20 minutes, you have a bit more creative freedom to shuffle things around
  • Standard presentation structures might not work in a conversational pitch style, if you start rattling down your Harvard-approved pitch the investor already gets worried: "Huh oh, we are going to get this one for the next 10 minutes" and you are likely to be interrupted with a question that invites a dialogue.

Art: Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of creation

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