BlogHer | bet '11 Entrepreneurism: The Deck
How do you convey the value of your team, your idea, your company in 10 slides or less? How important are financial projections…and how far out should you go? How do you respond when each successive potential investor with whom you meet gives you new…and often contradictory…feedback on The Deck? Your Deck must be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Hear from longtime investors what really matters to them when reviewing The Deck. Moderator Lisa Stone talks to experts Patricia Nakache, Cindy Padnos and Heidi Roizen, who each share their perspectives from having been on both sides of The Deck.
Left to Right
1) Heidi Roizen
2) Patricia Nakache
Active Investments in Beachmint
3) Cindy Padnos
Invested in Xactly, on-demand sales compensation (3rd most exciting venture backed)
Invested in Wild Pockets
4) Lisa Stone
Cofounder and CEO of BlogHer
Learn what needs to be in "The deck" for investors to get excited. They will boiling it down.
Heidi - The deck is something that should only be shown in the same room. Sending before hand is a lifeless, unarticulated document. Taking away the presentation opportunity.
Q Would you talk to a company before you see the deck?
Cindy - the introduction is the most important and then the pitch (1 min or less)
Patricia - lukewarm pitch, would like to see executive summary. How they convey. The passion. A demo.
Lisa - warm introductions are so important! Have a real conversation. An executive summary is a one page description of who you are, what you're doing. Send the executive summary, save the deck.
Q most important thing in the deck?
Patricia- your first slide
Heidi - the only thing we'll know about the financials is they'll be wrong. They make the numbers too big. are you practical? what are you going to do with that money? Tweak your assumptions. Size the ultimate opportunity. Where to focus you energy. Don't over promise in the early year. If your biz isn't going to deliver big numbers in the over years, you're probably not VC interesting.
Cindy - do you understand the fundamentals of that business model? We invest in companies where the model changes over time. Deeply understand the people and how they think.
Q one of the biggest mistakes?
Patricia - related to financials. The outyears. Business is projected as super profitable. 80% profit margin. Team members will disagree in a presentation. ACK!
Heidi - if the VS isn't feeling you, They're not going to fund you. They want to get to know you. If you presented near term things, did those things come to be? Don't carpet bomb the VC
Patricia - Network before you need to talk to VC's
Q the difference between Angel vs VC
Cindy - Angel do first. VC beretta, reserve capital for subsequent rounds. Angel no board seat. VC's want a seat. Angel's may not be able to offer warm introductions like VC's can.
Heidi - Make sure the angel can lose 100%. Make sure that the angel doesn't interfere with future investments. Use an actual lawyer who does venture investing. 40% of venture funding in the US was deployed in Silicon Valley
Lisa - Series C funding Azure for BlogHer.
Heidi - Her partners, book "how to be smarter than your VC"
Q from audience - at what point don't you own your company anymore?
Lisa - People,terms, valuation. understood women.
Cindy - Your investors will reference check you. do the same for them.
Lisa - If you leave an anonymous comment on "funded". If you don't have the ovaries to leave your name.
Patricia - think about the funding, it relates to the outcome. "capital efficient" - color, valued at 200million??!?!
Heidi - garage.com has a good page on the pitch. The deck should have an appendix. The bios. the first 12-18 months, the competitive matrix.
Cindy - investors like to see goals over 30 days through 90 days. did you close your first 3 beta customers. Be clear. realistic milestones. don't oversell.
Heidi - find out all the dirt you can about the person who's coming to speak next week.
Q from audience - who should present?
Patricia-the CEO should present or have a heavy participation hand. you want to expose the key members of your team.
Heidi - you should bring a second person along to pay attention to how the meeting is going. Where did they turn off? What question did I stumble on?. The other person can provide this feedback.
Q from audience - what does a board play in this?
Patricia - your advisory board can identify people who can help to build. board seat discussion and strategy. large boards. even scheduling the meeting (Tungle opportunity?)
Cindy - intellectual honesty of setting goals and having to report back to someone. there is a value to looking back over a quarter and reviewing goals.
Heidi - the founder, the venture capitalist and maybe one more person.