Sunday, May 07, 2006

How to Entice a Venture Capitalist

Today’s a working day, and in the true sense… fulfilling some of my contract work. I spent the early morning hours executing an anonymous bulletin board and comment campaign to generate some positive buzz for my telecom client. Then I bought Act! 2006 and upgraded my system, and performed some other office maintenance activities.

Now its time to work on a PowerPoint for my client that will be speaking at the MAVA conference this May. The MAVA PowerPoint represents a strategic messaging engagement, and in this particular case is a little tricky.

The client’s primary customer base is currently B2G. They want to leverage the research conducted for the government, and sell a revamped service to the commercial marketplace. However, to do that the client needs venture capital. Enter one MAVA conference and the need for a PowerPoint presentation with an 8 minute cap. Oh yes, there will be 40 of these PowerPoints over two days so if yours isn’t engaging and extremely well written, then it’s time to look for some more angel funding.

The trick to this, like any marketing engagement, is to think of the audience and what their needs are. In this case, venture capitalists that range in age from 40-65, are male, conservative (as all financial types are), but with a twist. VC always think they are rebels, the outlaws of the financial industry, so there needs to be a touch of hipness (sort of) to the effort, a la Red Herring magazine.

What a VC Wants, what a VC needs: 1) Opportunity with potential market (this is the hockey stick that all venture-backed companies offer for a sales curve... it makes a bell curve look like a flat line), 2) Road to ROI, 3) Proof points (clients to date, management team, financials, and 4) Reiteration of road to ROI. Eight minutes up, and three to four meetings with new VC prospects.

The key with this particular instance is to focus on the commercial, not the B2G work. VC hate B2G companies. In their mind it’s not profitable, and has very low return on investment. A five percent profit and ROI is terrible in their mind. Again, think hockey stick. So we will focus on a vertical that shows promise, and just mention that we already have some serious B2G monies in house.

I think this PPT will be very successful. We are using some video to provide a visual example of how the product works, with a pretty strong flash programmer. Onward and forward.


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