1) After you present your pitch to the VC, does the VC become your champion?
2) Can your champion persuade in 5 minutes the rest of the partners at their partnership meeting? Or, do you pass the Telephone game test?
After a few pitches, most presenters quickly learn how to solve the first question. It obviously helps, if the presenter can tell a good story (see prior blog post on Learning from the IPO).
Many presenters, however, don’t understand the importance of the second question, since it is normally hidden from the presenter. It is a rare champion who proceeds with an investment without getting the support of the full partnership. So, how would your champion present your company at the partnership meeting?
- 5 minute oral presentation. This is very easy for your champion. But, these oral presentations are typically underwhelming, unless you already have multiple term sheets.
- Create a short summary on why to invest. That’s a lot of work, and the champion may omit an important point in the summary.
- A short summary is copied from your pitch. But, not all pitches have this kind of summary.
- Your pitch is merely forwarded to the rest of the partnership. This is the easiest answer, and thus quite common. That’s why one VC friend counsels that the pitch must be self-explanatory (ie, clear and compelling with no voice over). This counsel contradicts common wisdom for presentations, which says that the audience should not be able to just read the presentation.
Basically, you need to overcome the same challenge as the kids game, Telephone, where you have a circle of children trying to tell the same story to the next. Usually, the final story is quite different from the first. Here, you want the final story to be the same as the first – your pitch of the company.