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  • Good morning. My name is David Rose.

  • I am a serial entrepreneur turned serial investor.

  • And by the use of pitching PowerPoints to VCs,

  • I have personally raised tens of millions of dollars

  • from VCs through PowerPoint pitches.

  • And then, turning round to the other side of the equation,

  • I have personally supervised the investment

  • of tens of millions of dollars into companies

  • who have been pitching me with PowerPoint presentations.

  • So I think it's safe to say I know a little bit

  • about the process of pitching.

  • So, the very first question that you've all got to figure out

  • is: what is the single most important thing

  • that a VC is looking for when you come to them

  • pitching your new business idea?

  • And there are obviously all kinds of things.

  • There are business models, and there are financials,

  • and there are markets

  • and there is that. Overall, of all the things that you have to do,

  • what is the single most important thing the VC

  • is going to be investing in?

  • Somebody? What?

  • (Audience: People.)

  • David S. Rose: People? You! That's it -- you are the person.

  • And so therefore, the entire purpose of a VC pitch

  • is to convince them that you are the entrepreneur

  • in whom they are going to invest their money

  • and make a lot of money in return.

  • Now, how do you do this?

  • You can't just walk up and say, you know,

  • "Hi, I'm a really good guy, and a good girl,

  • and you should really invest in me." Right?

  • So, in the course of your VC pitch, you have a very few minutes,

  • and most VC pitches --

  • most angel pitches are about 15 minutes,

  • most VC pitches should be less than half an hour.

  • People's attention span after 18 minutes begins to drop off,

  • tests have shown.

  • So in that 18 minutes, or 10 minutes, or five minutes,

  • you have to convey a whole bunch of different characteristics.

  • You actually have to convey about 10 different characteristics

  • while you're standing up there.

  • What's the single most important thing you've got to convey?

  • What?

  • (Audience: Integrity.)

  • DSR: Boy, oh boy, oh boy! And that's a straight line we got

  • right over there. And I didn't even prompt him.

  • You're right, integrity. Because that's the key thing.

  • I would much rather invest in somebody -- you know,

  • take a chance on somebody -- who I know is straight

  • than somebody where there's any possible question

  • of, you know, who are they looking out for,

  • and what's going on.

  • So the most important thing is integrity.

  • And what's the second most important thing after integrity?

  • Let's see if you can get this one.

  • (Audience: Self-confidence.)

  • DSR: Close enough! Passion.

  • Right, so here you want --

  • entrepreneurs by definition are people

  • who are leaving something else, starting a new world over here,

  • creating and putting their lifeblood into this kind of thing.

  • You've got to convey passion.

  • If you're not passionate about your own company,

  • why on Earth should anyone else be passionate?

  • Why should they put more money into your company,

  • if you're not passionate about it?

  • So, integrity and passion: the single most important things out there.

  • Then there are a whole panoply of other things

  • that you've got to do, to wrap up in this package

  • that you're presenting to a VC.

  • Experience.

  • You've got to be able to say, "Hey, you know, I've done this before."

  • And "done this before" is starting an enterprise and creating value,

  • and taking something from beginning to end.

  • So that's why VCs love to fund serial entrepreneurs.

  • Because even if you didn't do it right the first time,

  • you've learned the lessons, which are going to

  • stand you in very good stead the next time.

  • And now along with that, along with the experience

  • of starting an enterprise, or running something --

  • and it doesn't have to be a business.

  • It can be in an organization at school,

  • it can be a not-for-profit.

  • But they want experience in creating an organization.

  • Next up is knowledge.

  • If you're telling me you're going to be

  • the great developer of the map of the human genome,

  • you'd better know what a human genome is.

  • I mean, I want you to have domain expertise.

  • So I don't want somebody who's saying,

  • "Hey, I've got a great idea in a business I know nothing about.

  • I don't know who the players are.

  • I don't know what the market is like."

  • So you've got to know your market.

  • You've got to know your area.

  • And then you have to have the skills that it takes

  • to get a company going.

  • And those skills include everything from technical skills,

  • if it's a technology business, to marketing, and sales,

  • and management, and so on.

  • But, you know, not everybody has all these skills.

  • There are very few people who have the full set of skills

  • that it takes to run a company.

  • So what else do you require?

  • Well, leadership.

  • You've got to be able to convince us

  • that you either have developed a team

  • that has all those factors in it, or else you can.

  • And you have the charisma and the management style

  • and the ability to get people to follow your lead,

  • to inspire them, to motivate them to be part of your team.

  • All right, then, having done all that,

  • what else do I want to know as a VC?

  • I want to know that you have commitment.

  • That you are going to be here to the end.

  • I want you to say, or I want you to convey,

  • that you are going to die if you have to, with your very last breath,

  • with your fingernails scratching as they drag you out.

  • You're going to keep my money alive

  • and you're going to make more money out of it.

  • So I don't want somebody who's going to cut and run

  • at the first opportunity.

  • Because bad things happen.

  • There's never been an angel- or a venture-funded company

  • where bad things didn't happen.

  • So I want to know that you're committed to be there

  • to the very end.

  • You've got to have vision.

  • You've got to be able to see where this is going.

  • I don't want another "me too" product.

  • I want somebody who knows, who can change the world out there.

  • But on top of that, I also need realism.

  • Because I need to know that you know that

  • while changing the world is great, it doesn't always happen.

  • And before you get to change the world,

  • bad things are going to take place.

  • And you've got to be able to deal with that.

  • And you have to have rational projections and stuff.

  • And then finally, you're asking for my money,

  • not just because it's my money, but because it's me.

  • You need to be coachable.

  • So I need to know that you have the ability to listen.

  • We've had a lot of experience.

  • People who are VCs or angels investing in you

  • have had experience and they'd like to know

  • that you want to hear that experience.

  • Okay, so how do you convey all these 10 things in 10 minutes

  • without saying any more?

  • You can't say, "Hey, I've got high integrity,

  • invest in me!" Right?

  • You've got to do a whole pitch that conveys this

  • without conveying it.

  • So think about your pitch as a timeline.

  • It starts off, you walk in the door.

  • They know nothing at all, whatsoever, about you.

  • And you can take them on an emotional --

  • all pitches, or all sales presentations, are emotional at some level.

  • You can go up, you can go down, right?

  • And it goes from beginning to end.

  • You walk in the door. So the first thing you've got to do --

  • the overall, you know, arc of your presentation --

  • it's got to start like a rocket.

  • You've got maybe 10 seconds -- between 10 and 30 seconds,

  • depending on how long the pitch is -- to get their attention.

  • In my case, "I've invested. I have got tens of millions of dollars

  • from PowerPoint pitches.

  • I have invested tens of millions of dollars."

  • That's it -- that should get you right there.

  • This can be a factor, and everybody can be saying

  • it's counterintuitive. It can be a story, it can be experience.

  • But you've got to grab their emotional attention, focused on you,

  • within that first few seconds.

  • And then from there, you've got to take them