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VC pitches should tell a story

Scoble blogged an interview with Mitchell Kutzman, partner at Hummer Winblad under the headline VC admits he hates boring powerpoints. I echo that. Scoble wrote:

At PodTech the CFO told me to be quiet when I told them that their Powerpoints should look like Steve Jobs did them. He wanted the boring “pack tons of points onto one slide with a boring, conservative background.” You know the type. Bill Gates used those in most of his talks.

I knew VCs wanted a great story and wanted the same thing we all want: to be a little entertained. It’s just that I didn’t have proof until today.

“There’s nothing deadlier than having a lot of text on a slide and then reading every word to us,” he says in the video before giving us more background about what VCs do want to see in their slide decks.

We still need data of course, but the basic point is good – if the story isn’t good then all the data in the world is unlikely to get us to the point of investment.

There is more detail in the video, which was shot on an N95 and is a bit shaky. You have to wait until the second half before the camera turns to Kutzman. The video runs to 3m45s.

  • http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com Jo

    I am also amazed by presentations that people make and why they expect us to sit through them! Or if we are obliged too, what they expected us to know, remember or feel at the end!

    TED lectures are great examples of polished presentations (www.ted.com). It’s also helpful to use the Hero’s Journey to build the narrative.

  • http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com Jo

    I am also amazed by presentations that people make and why they expect us to sit through them! Or if we are obliged too, what they expected us to know, remember or feel at the end!

    TED lectures are great examples of polished presentations (www.ted.com). It’s also helpful to use the Hero’s Journey to build the narrative.

  • David Shieldhouse

    Nic, couple of years ago I was pitching to VCs and yes I did wonder how many presentations they’d seen that were 90% the same. Someone pointed me to Guy Kawasaki’s downloads here http://www.guykawasaki.com/downloads/index.shtml recently and the advice seemes pretty logical – he has seen a lot of pitches and it must in one sense be easier to review them all in the same format. But once in a while it must be refreshing to see a solid venture presented in a completely new way. There’s no right or wrong on that one – the individual creativity that emerges at the time will also be quite instructive as to how flexible the founders are in their approach.

  • David Shieldhouse

    Nic, couple of years ago I was pitching to VCs and yes I did wonder how many presentations they’d seen that were 90% the same. Someone pointed me to Guy Kawasaki’s downloads here http://www.guykawasaki.com/downloads/index.shtml recently and the advice seemes pretty logical – he has seen a lot of pitches and it must in one sense be easier to review them all in the same format. But once in a while it must be refreshing to see a solid venture presented in a completely new way. There’s no right or wrong on that one – the individual creativity that emerges at the time will also be quite instructive as to how flexible the founders are in their approach.