Archive | December, 2008

Pitchcraft 101

18 Dec


Every now and then I will come across a good VC-generated exposition (usually in the form of a PPT deck) on the subject I like to call “pitchcraft.” For me, at least, pitchcraft encompasses more than simply the act (and art, I should say) of standing in front of a handful of venture investors and walking them through your PowerPoint presentation. Engaging with a venture investor is a process that can go on for weeks, if not months, and involves email exchanges, calls, in-person meetings, product demos, diligence calls, and follow-up communications. All along that continuum there are opportunities for things to go off the rails. For that reason, it’s good counsel for promising companies to never take their proverbial foot off the gas during this process. Too often have I seen a promising pitch be undermined later when a company did not handle follow-up due diligence requests or meetings well.

For the purposes of this deck, however, early stage venture firm Canaan Partners focuses squarely on the nuts-and-bolts of the presentation function. Follow-up and due diligence matters are perhaps a subject for a later PPT. While there exists no shortage of primers in cyberspace on how to meet and pitch venture investors, I think this deck is one of the better ones. I have long maintained that many entrepreneurs would benefit from a ‘mechanics’ course on venture pitching before actually sitting down with venture investors and, while no one presentation is going to cover everything with equal depth, the Canaan folks have pulled together a good primer that is worthwhile viewing (and reviewing).

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