I attended the today’s Venture Lounge in Karlsruhe. Olaf Jacobi from Target Partners held a nice presentation and was pointing out that they invest in huge markets with great potential and a defensible technology. It was only later that he mentioned teams being important as well.
Maybe it was this rational and rather objective spin that most presentations afterwards picked up. Maybe it was the typical German approach, trying to convince people with facts rather than emotions that many entrepreneurs were convinced to apply. Nevertheless, it was obvious that none of the presenters were getting the edge on the emotions, the drive, the spin, the life and blood of startups in any of their presentations. I was missing even mentioning their mission statements. Actually, I found it almost too analytical, too rationale of an approach to go for the facts first. I am strong believer in people getting hooked up on stories and thus making sure you are delivering a story.
So, why not start off with a stong introduction? I personally loved KPCB’s John Doerr’s way, starting off with a claim and then closing the presentation, giving an outlook (e.g. here).
Why does that matter? Well, if you show where you want to go and how determined you are to do that, it becomes easier to figure who you want to serve and how you want to get there–and if you’re capable of doing so. You might then also be able to touch on the obstacles ahead and prove that you were thinking your way through this rollercoaster ride.
But no matter how you start your pitch, just remember one thing: no matter what number you throw in, no one is going to remember it unless you put it in relation. So, instead of saying “we look forward selling 150.000 units in 3 years”, it might be better to say “every second person in the US will have an iPhone and we look forward grabbing 30% of the market by 2012.”