I sat through a pitch call today that went on for 35 mins (but it seemed much longer). The founder kept going through slide after slide of information which harped on the same point (the business model). To move things along I valiantly attempted to summarize the business model for the founder and indicate that I understood what he was saying. However, that energized the founder to ramble on aimlessly until I had to finally close the conversation as there was another founding team waiting to pitch to us on another line.
Unfortunately, at the time I shut the call the founder hadn’t gone beyond explaining his business model and even though they had approached us from a very important referral source we decided to pass on the deal. Does it seem like we acted too fast? I do not think so.
Ultimately it is the founder’s responsibility to simplify their business model in a manner that investors can understand not the other way around. Therefore, founders should be vigilant that an investor’s time is limited, their attention fickle and once the investor has lost interest it is nearly impossible to get it back.
I found a good solution to avoid getting stuck in tangents and it was provided by the folks at Sequoia. Founders utilising this outline will eliminate the unnecessary slides that are elongating their pitches and will also find the outline helpful in providing a simple yet concrete structure for the pitch to move along on so that the founder can get to the more important part of the pitch viz. the Q&A.
PS: Here is the SlideShare version