Storytelling to investors involves conveying your vision in an articulate, easy to understand, and compelling way. You want to use examples, analogies, and even metaphors to describe the problem that you are solving for your target customer, why it is so important, and how your solution solves that problem. Your presentation should be sharp, crisp and to the point. Angel investors and VCs have a short attention span since they look at so many deals. Use your time with them judiciously.
In this discussion with Jeremy Glaser, who is a partner at the law firm Mintz Levin and also serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Venture Capital & Emerging Companies Practice, we discuss the importance of conveying your vision, the target customer problem you are solving and your solution through storytelling to investors.
Patrick: I see presentations that people don’t get through because it’s physically not possible to present that much information in the allotted amount of time.
My rule of thumb is three minutes per slide. If it’s an hour meeting, it’s really a 50-minute meeting, and 20 of that if for Q&A, whether it’s interrupt-driven or at the end. Hopefully, it’s interrupt-driven. Fifteen slides is a lot, including the summary and call to action slides. Having about 10 to 12 content slides that you can get through is better.
It’s rare that I see a good story. When you’re dealing with short attention span theater, you have maybe two to five minutes to grab their attention and get them interested. If you don’t get them interested in that time, back in my day, they were on their Blackberries. Today, they’re on their smartphones. They’re disengaged. Once you lose them, it’s really hard to get them back.
Jeremy: I think that’s such a good point. You have to find a way to express your vision, let them see it and be part of it. Fundamentally, that is storytelling. I’m a big believer in storytelling. When I have the opportunity to speak, present or moderate a panel, I bring this up. I say, “Don’t tell people facts. Tell people stories. Give them examples of things that you’ve seen and done.” That’s what sticks. I don’t know that entrepreneurs do that.
Patrick: It’s rare. When I see it, it’s like a work of art. It’s so beautiful. The ideal situation with storytelling around a business is, what’s the customer problem? If I can have the prospective investor understand that problem at a visceral, deep, emotional, gut-wrenching level, and then show them the solution that alleviates the pain, they understand that’s a big market opportunity. That’s a lot of customers who will spend a lot of money on this stuff if it really works. That’s an interesting opportunity. When you just throw facts at people, it’s really tough.
This is Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, with The Real Deal…What Matters