I am a big fan of Brad Feld. His super open way of sharing VC and startup insights is incredible.
Last year I emailed Brad out of the blue when he was in Paris saying something like: ”Hey Brad, I think you’re awesome and would love to grab a pint next time you’re in London.” He responded within 15 minutes saying he’d very muck like to next time he’s in town.
What a nice guy.
Brad wrote a post this week suggesting entrepreneurs should be able to explain what they do in one paragraph. So right. During my marathon pitches last week, few teams had distilled themselves down to a core idea – and much time was wasted as I tried to compute what they actually did.
He also highlighted some pitch advice he gave a Techstars team, including:
- Show don’t tell
- I hate doing the overview / bios at the beginning
- You wasted the first 60 seconds
- Weak explanation of what you are actually doing and why I care
- Still don’t really know what you do
I find myself suggesting 3-5 often – which all relates to conveying a concise idea. “Show don’t tell” is spot on, I hope to key in on this in the future.
#2 is a tricky one.
Most often I find teams show their bios at the end, in essence as an afterthought after the pitch. B school “coaches” want them moved to the beginning – with the rationale: if you really do have a background in whatever you’re pitching, the audience knows this initially and is more interested.
I think a team slide at the beginning is better than the end. Stating your background initially can be advantageous if showcasing your unique ability to identify the business’ problem and/or solution.
However, typically my preferred bios position would be in the middle – just after the problem/solution, market size, and business model. Kind of a…
“The pain is great, it’s a big deal, here’s what were doing, and this is why we’re the team to do it.
I can envision next the competition, traction, forecast, and raise. All fitting neatly within the 10/20/30 rule. I’m going to try and find a few “optimal slide order” suggestions from VCs and entrepreneurs and will update if I find a consensus.