Are you trying to raise venture capital? If so, the Plug and Play Tech Center Expo is the place to be. The full day agenda included presentations from thirty-one companies to a panelist of investors from Norwest Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Foundation Capital, Amidzad Ventures, and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The Expo consisted of two parts; the presentation room and the conference room. Since the investors can only ask questions during the presentation, the conference room allows attendees to walk the show floor and speak with the presenting companies at their demo tables.
My overall thoughts and comments on the presentations:
It was obvious that most of these presentations were unrehearsed. It was shocking to see so many entrepreneurs stumbled over words, read word for word off their note cards, and speak completely on the technology. Overall, I felt with a little practice and more organization in the flow of their key points, many of the presentations could have been much better. However, from the entrepreneurs perspective; how do you know if your presentation needs improvement? One resource we highly recommend is Peter Cohan’s book “Great Demo!“ It is an outline for giving compelling presentations.
The reason why we stress the need for entrepreneurs to practice, practice, practice is because of the bigger picture. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression. Nine out of ten times, the investor is interested in you and not the technology. Besides understanding the market opportunity, the presentation allows investors to evaluate whether or not you would be easy to work with. If you can not clearly state the problem you solve, the value you bring to your customer, and confidently speak to strangers, it will be hard to obtain a second meeting. Remember the object of the pitch is not to sell them on the spot. It is to get the next meeting.