When founders get connected to investors, they are often asked to send the deck ahead of the meeting. We’ve written here why sending the decks, especially before the first meeting, is generally not a good idea.
Startup founders cannot be defined by their decks.
The main issue with a pitch deck is that it is subject to misinterpretation. Investors get a lot of decks and they tend to skim and glance over them.
The founders aren’t able to tell their story, because they aren’t present.
The second issue with decks is that it is hard to capture the passion and the personality of the founders. Sure, a deck can have a creative design, but that’s not the same as hearing the founder talk about the business.
The third issue is that decks are flat.
Decks are just text.
In a world where everything is video/3D, the investor pitch decks are still bits of flat text.
What if, instead of sending a deck, the founders sent a 3-4 minute video walking the investor through the deck?
Having the founder narrate the deck seems like a simple idea that should solve for all the issues above. That’s why we are encouraging the founders in our Techstars NYC Summer 2016 class to do just that.
Let’s take a look at how it turned out. Compare going through this pitch deck from LeBlum:
To having Sarah, former florist and now CEO of LeBlum, walk through it.
Sarah makes this deck come alive. Her presentation is genuine and clear. It conveys passion and credibility. Sarah transforms the set of slides into a presentation.
Here is another deck from Rob at Skopenow.
And here is the video pitch:
Rob starts with a hook; he phrases a question in a way that grabs the viewer, and immediately explains the business. Rob’s presentation is full of confidence and clarity. His product demo is so great and so natural. It’s nearly impossible to have a demo like this in the deck.
Here is another presentation, from Erica Jain, CEO of Healthie.
There is no way that investors would know just how passionate and excited Erica is about Healthie and making people’s lives better without watching the video.
Pitch videos are MUCH BETTER than pitch decks.
These pitches are 3-4 minutes, and just like with a deck, investors can skim through or skip around.
By filming the pitch in this specific format, we allow investors to focus on the slides. More importantly, the founder is able to maintain the connection with the investor and narrate the deck.
In order to record the pitches, we used a straightforward process wherein founders memorized the pitch and used a clicker to advance the slides. We recorded both the founder and the slides using screen capture software, and did minimal editing to combine the two.
Early feedback from investors has been great. We are using this format for our investor preview, and people love the format.
Going forward, we are going to encourage all of our founders to send investors their video pitch.
We believe that this is a better, more modern way to start a conversation with investors.