I am not a VC. I am not an angel (don’t like the term). But I am a business mentor. Most of the times my mentoring is accompanied by an investment. Occasionally I get some shares in exchange for mentoring. If you look at the right side of this blog you will see the companies that I have invested in. Wikio, Netvibes, Plazes, Dopplr, Tumblr, Technorati, Eolia, Seesmic, Vuze (Azureus), Meneame, Joost, Moneytrackin, 23andMe, Aura Biosciences, Sonico, DineroMail, Sevenload, Vpod, and Xing.
As a result of these investments I get many pitches. More than I can handle. So I have two great people helping me look at these investments. One is Eduardo Arcos, the entrepreneur behind Hipertextual, the second largest blog network in Spanish in which I am an investor. The other one is Mahesh Kumar, a brilliant Indian student whose time I share with Result, a company in which I am also an investor. Now, other than that Eduardo and Mahesh are two great analysts, there is another reason I work with them going over pitches. Analysis is such a slow process.
So before getting more pitches, I would like to explain what my ideal format for getting pitches would be like. What I want is to get not the typical Power Point. Instead I want a TALKING Power Point. I want a Power Point in which I hit play and in 5 minutes I hear a presentation of the company narrated by the entrepreneur. I want to hit PLAY when I get a presentation not go over slides that were meant to be narrated but I still get 1999 style without video or sound. And of course it does not need to be in Power Point which I don’t even have (I use open source software to read PP). My ideal pitch could be slides with a small box for the entrepreneur to speak in video, or an alternation of the entrepreneur and slides, or simply slides with a voice over a la web demo. It could also be in stages. It could be 5 minutes and then the choice of… interested? Here’s some more. So if I like it and want to go in depth I can. These 5 minute pitches would make my day. And probably Eduardo’s and Mahesh’s day as well.
I would like to end by saying that my criteria to invest in a company are hardly objective. I only invest my funds, so I don’t need to have committees or fill up forms for liability protection. My criteria are: an entrepreneur with whom I would like to hang out with, a product I would love to use, and a valuation that is reasonable. But I have met some of the entrepreneurs I ended up mentoring through pitches, so I figured I would share my ideal pitch format with my readers.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars
facundo on November 24, 2009 ·
Good post. It is clearly the trend, no one has any more time for ppt presentations. We (everyone) wants the info straight away and in the most engaging way. Still, easy to demand from candidates, but hard to cristalize one’s great idea in a short, straight to the point presentation 😉
Funny enough, I came accross Hipertextual when doing some research for our Bloggertone.com regarding look and feel, didn’t know you were involved. Ours is a humble project at the moment starting off here in Ireland but with international intentions.
I guess we could do with some mentoring!
I follow you and Loic, will try to come back to your blog more often
All the best,
Ramiro Ferrer on November 24, 2009 ·
Are you looking for english-only pitches? I ask because you only wrote this post in english. Many people would like to know this. Thanks!
parq on November 24, 2009 ·
1 Question & 1 Suggestion:
Q: Where can i send you an investmen pitch?
(you’ve my email)
S: The Ignite template may be a good choise: 20-15-5
(20 slides, 15 seconds by slide, 5 minutes all)
Javi on November 24, 2009 ·
One day there will be a Dragon’s Den-type program in Spain, and I hope you could become one of the dragons.
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Ricardo Molina on November 24, 2009 ·
Then I suggest your entrepreneur readers to use articulate, which allows to add audio, and even video to a powerpoint presentation and convert it to flash, and is quite easy to use. You can try it in their website. This was helpful for me two years ago and I don’t know how the product has evolved. Good luck with Martin, everyone.
Martin Varsavsky on November 24, 2009 ·
I just Google it but I find it hard to ask those who present to spend $1000 in that software.