Jun 19, 2015

9 Presentation Tips for Startups: What investors really want from your presentation?



Recently I interacted with a few investors who work at large venture capital firms in India. I talked to them at length about what they really want in a startup presentation and what is usually missing from most. If you are preparing your funding pitch, here are 9 killer tips for you.

1. Every investor sees many presentations every week. He really has no time to go through every slide properly. You need to get the investor excited about something within the first 5-10 minutes of your presentation. Figure out what is the one thing about your business that will excite the investor. Put it up right at the start.

2. You should have a summary slide at the start. Share basic information like the industry you are in, your uniqueness, traction, funding you need, etc. It helps them put you into a mental box quickly. They want an overall picture before your movie starts.

3. You must show that your key metric will double-triple in a few years. All that the investor needs to see is that his money will grow exponentially. They do not want to invest in companies which will clock 20% growth year on year. Sorry.

4. Team slide is the most crucial. Investors are asking themselves: Will this team deliver? Most presentations have names of the founders, their designation, qualification and work experience. That says nothing about the ability of the team to work together and deliver the numbers you are promising.

5. Never claim your startup does not have competition. Show them who is your competition at a macro level and a micro level. At the micro level you might be alone but never at the macro level. "If a company has no competition, I would rather not invest in it" said one investor.

6. Highlight the real difference (USP) between you and your competition. Spend time here and crack this part. Do not write the obvious differences, instead focus on the real and significant difference.

7. Give utilization of funds. Interestingly all presentations ask for funds but many of them do not show the utilization of the same. Your business plan does assume you will get the funding. So you already have this information. All you need to do is to present it properly.

8. All investors want to looking at a huge market opportunity. Show them the market opportunity and follow a bottom up approach to arrive at your billion dollar figure. Your market opportunity is $1 billion as per Gartner. Well this number makes less sense for an investor. How about doing it the hard way and with a bit more detailing? Makes it more credible.

9. What if competition copies your USP (unique selling proposition)? Show them that you have thought about it and how do you plan to stay ahead of the competition.