Jan 042012
 January 4, 2012  Posted by at 10:59 pm  Add comments

Last night I attended the final Flashpoint GT practice session before kicking off Demo Days next week at GTRI.  Later in the month, Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz will host Flashpoint demo days.

I’ve sat through countless pitches since starting as an EIR at ATDC four months ago.  Last night I had a chance to simply be an observer.  So rather than focus on what I thought about the pitches – I focused on listening to the feedback the mentors were giving them.

Flashpoint has assembled a talented and experienced group of mentors. The feedback was excellent – deeper than the typical “too many words” or “wrong font size” (not that those aren’t important).

Here are a few takeaways from the feedback the mentors gave the presenting companies:

  • Get the audience into your story early.  Don’t just tell them what you do – tell them why.  Allen Nance told one of the companies “a good presentation is all about getting the audience to believe the problem”.   That is awesome advice.  If potential investors believe you are solving a problem that keeps customers awake at night – you are half-way there.
  • Don’t just talk about features and capabilities – talk about how your solution solves the problem.
  • A theme that resonated with mentors for software companies was talking about how they automated or digitized something manual.
  • Show real examples.  Real customer examples are more powerful than hypotheticals.
  • Spend $ to differentiate the presentation.  If you are going to have slides, they need to support what you are saying, not detract from it.  Professional looking presentations with clean graphics were more memorable and effective.  On the logo page, have a tagline that says what you do.
  • The mentors wanted to hear more about the business and pricing models than revenue forecasts.

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