The venture capitalist will see you for 15 minutes now

Brad Feld, a well-known VC, wrote an interesting blog post about "Preparing for a first meeting with me". Short (Feld likes 15 minutes) 1-on-1 meetings with VCs are often a first step to more elaborate pitch presentations. I won't repeat the things Feld has written in his post [Feld-style efficiency: you can click the link yourself :-)], but there some interesting points hiding in the text that are not explicitly spelled out.
  • Cut the small talk and the personal introductions. Get me excited about an idea, I am not (yet) interested in building a personal relationship
  • Surprise me. I want to learn something new. Don't bore me with the obvious, I know it all already, I have seen it all before
  • "Packaging" is irrelevant. I see through it. No need for slick visuals. I prefer sketches on napkins.
What sort of presentation/visuals to bring to these meetings? There is probably no right answer, but here is a suggestion:
  • Take your full PowerPoint pitch deck as a basis and show on a laptop 5 "Zen-style" slides that highlight the problem you are solving. These can be presented in 3 minutes. Close your lap top.
  • Bring with you print outs of selected other slides in your deck that can serve as a basis for your napkins. Print outs are great: you can present them in any order depending on the flow of the conversation. You can sketch and write on them. Good napkins to have as a backup are the competitive landscape (you're in the top right corner, different from anyone else), and a simple tree that explains your revenue model ("here's the magic of the numbers"). Ditch all other typical pitch deck slides (for the moment): revenue hockey stick, go-to-market strategies, team CVs etc. etc.
And now hope that you made it to a "proper" VC pitch in a next meeting.