This is the second post of a series named “Enter Silicon Valley“. It is a personal journal written as a how-to guide about how you as an outsider entrepreneur, can get your startup in one of the high tech communities, find people, funding and grow your company.
Many support that creating a presentation for a seed-stage startup is not needed, their reasoning being that it’s all about the entrepreneur at this stage anyway. While that is true, it never hurts to be prepared and to go through that many-a-times revealing process.
So off i went to create my first presentation. Since i had already prepared some applications to accelerators and funds i had a starting point. I read all of them once more and got overwhelmed by how much i had to communicate. I needed a fresh start, something that would surely represent what my vision was. To get started, i needed a startup presentation template, so i looked around the web. I couldn’t really find many examples, i figured it was only natural that startups won’t share their presentations on the web. So i decided to use Mark Suster’s take on the issue [scroll to middle of page].
I completed the first draft in a couple of days, shared it with friends and the very few experts i could find at that time. The presentation was continually evolving for the next month or more. The longer i worked on it the better my understanding for my project was becoming. That is a very important reason why you should start your presentation early. When i finally finished the presentation, it had about 14 main slides and 8 slides as appendixes.
This presentation was to be e-mailed to investors along with an executive summary, and so i did exactly that, only i sent it to a friendly lawyer to whom i had never talked about my project. The whole point being, if / what he would understand from the presentation. His comments where revealing. The presentation was too large, requiring a lot of time to read and didn’t quite help him get the picture. Following Mark’s template i created a deck that was to be used for a company seeking it’s A’ round of investment, way ahead from where i was at the moment. Plus it was a presentation that had to be presented, not e-mailed, many points and clues were left for the presenter to make or give.
That happened two weeks ago. Today i have a completely new presentation which is just 6 slides and satisfies me and every expert / advisor i have presented it to. Is way more understandable when shared through e-mail and gives a clear picture of what my vision is. Could i have done that without wasting so much time and resources? I doubt it, that journey was necessary, visualizing my idea before i could compact it. Was there somebody around to explain that lesson to me in time? Certainly not. +1 why i need to be in a high tech hub.
So to recap, what my advice would be to any entrepreneur creating his / her first presentation:
- Start as early as possible
- Define who is the target audience (investors, general public, early adopters)
- Define what is the medium (live presentation, e-mail, videocast)
- As soon as you have your first draft, share and iterate as if it was your startup project