The secret weapon in the battle to retain a VC’s attention in a pitch meeting

There’s a secret weapon in the battle to retain a VC’s attention in a pitch meeting. And its hiding in plain sight. It can be found in every VC conference room from coast to coast, yet its rarely used.

Sure, you can follow the pitching forumla found on most VC websites. My friend, Mark Suster, even bulleted it out for everyone in his post yesterday:

  • Bio of top 3 people in the company.  Short sentence, bullet points, easy to read.
  • Problem definition (with the market … it’s why you exist)
  • How you solve that problem conceptually at the highest level
  • Details on the solution
  • [Demo could go here]
  • Why you believe there is economic value in what you do / how you think you can monetize one day
  • Competition
  • Progress to date of your company (when started, key milestones, what shape is the product in, any pilot / beta customers, financing)
  • Market sizing
  • Potential future exit possibilities
  • How much are you raising, how long will it last, key milestones you plan to hit before the next round

Viola, you have the perfectly scripted pitch meeting. Just like everybody else. 

I can almost certainly guarantee that by the time you’ve hit the 5th bullet in Mark’s list, the VC on the other side of the table has checked their phone at least once. 

The secret weapon, that I’ve found, to combat VC’s phone flipping ways (of which I’m terribly guilty) is use of the white board.

There’s just something magical about the things. They’re stinky, they’re messy, they’re imperfect- just like entrepreneurship.

When an entrepreneur steps to the whiteboard the energy in the room totally changes. There’s movement, there’s action, there’s something happening that requires attention. The conversation moves from consuming images on a screen in lean back mode, to active engagement. Half baked ideas get refined, new ideas emerge and a two way dialoge develops where a one way monologue once was.

The VC you’re pitching will be bought into the conversation in a very different way as well. They’re now co-creating with you. Brainstorming with you. Drawing on their experiences when they were entrepreneurs or executives scribbling on white boards just like you.

Maybe I’ve been huffing too many fumes from dry erase markers, but I don’t think any discussion on pitch strategies is complete without incorporating white board time into the meeting. 

Re-blogged via brycedotvc


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