I just watched David S. Rose roll through his road-tested suggestions on how an entrepreneur should pitch to a VC.
Rose has been on both sides of the fence, asking for and being asked for funding. He runs Rose Tech Ventures, an early stage investment fund, and is chairman of Egret Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm.
Rose poses the perfect question.
What is the single most important thing a VC is looking for when you come to them pitching your new business idea?
Of course, the answer is people. You.
And then, Rose takes us through a list of a presentation’s ten essential ingredients, some presentation techniques, and the order in which content should be stitched together.
There is one point Rose makes that underscores the value a professional copywriter’s work will bring to a VC pitch.
He mentions that when you lose somebody because they don’t understand what you’re saying, it’s tough to go back and reignite the forward momentum that successful presentations are built on.
Because a copywriter brings fresh perspective, curiosity, and a trained eye, he can tell the entrepreneur when and how a piece of information about the business needs to simplified, clarified, and wrapped up in benefits.
When the entrepreneur tries to write the presentation, he or she is often too immersed in facts to be able to stage them in optimum context. This isn’t the result of the entrepreneur’s deficiency. It’s simply a matter of being too close to the forest to see the trees.
The entrepreneur may take something for granted about the business that is actually highly significant. This may be a key differentiator that unlocks the funding and assures the product a successful entry into a competitive market.
There is nothing unusual, nothing new about this concept.
In 1919, the Schlitz Brewery hired copywriter Claude Hopkins. The firm ranked 5th in market share. Hopkins went to the brewery and studied the brewing process.
He identified facts, in this case about how the brewing process assured purity, a product attribute important to the consumer that the firm had taken for granted given that their competitors produced beer much the way.
Hopkins wrote about his campaign for Schlitz in his 1927 book, “My Life in Advertising.”
So I pictured in print those plate glass rooms and every other factor in purity. I told a story common to all good brewers, but a story which had never been told. I gave purity a meaning. Schlitz jumped from fifth place to neck in neck with first place in a very few months.
In its own way, the entrepreneur’s business being pitched to the VC resembles the Schlitz brewery of 1919. There is something about it that isn’t being shared. As Hopkins puts it,
A story which had never been told.
Finding this story and framing it for the VC is just one of the ways a professional copywriter can add value to a funding presentation.
It is just one of the tasks of creating a successful pitch that is often so challenging for entrepreneurs to handle on their own.
When the entrepreneur decides to get a professional copywriter involved in the process of creating an investor presentation, those two essential pieces of a business, innovation and marketing, can’t help but grab the spotlight, and make the profitable move to the center of the VC funding stage.