Presentation Categories

As an entrepreneur, there are many types of presentations to prepare for ranging from one minute to 10 minutes. You need to be ready when pitching to investors or customers.


So this segment will give you an indication of what types of presentations you will be faced with as an entrepreneur. No matter where you travel in the world to meet investors some investors will give you one minute, two minutes or maybe up to ten minutes. It’s really important that you, as the entrepreneur, be prepared for any length of time that you’re given. And usually it’s a short period of time. So before you design your presentations for the different amount of time that you have, take into account the audiences that you’re presenting to.

When you’re presenting to an investor, the most important thing on the investor’s mind is the team. That’s number one. Number two is the market. And number three is the product itself.

When you’re pitching to consumers, the number one question on their mind is what’s this product and will it do what we want. The second thing a consumer wants to know is about the market. Is this market big enough so that this product will be around long enough. And the third thing is the team. Consumers don’t really care much about your team. Maybe your early adopters might, but most consumers don’t care about who your team is. 

And the third group of people you’ll be presenting to are businesses, small to medium size businesses, enterprises of all shapes and sizes. And here the product is number one. The team is number two because they want to know you will be around. And then they will take a look to see if the market is big enough for this product to last. If it’s not it really doesn’t matter as much because if they love a product and it does exactly what they want they don’t care about the market as much as investors do.

So when it comes to these two‑minute presentations that you see frequently in Silicon Valley, and actually it’s being done around the world, two minutes may not seem like a very long time. And frankly it isn’t. So you need to make sure that you have your messages really tight, nailed down, rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. So when that clock starts, you’re able to deliver on the opening, deliver on the middle part and deliver on the close and finish with a couple seconds remaining.

Remember your two‑minute pitch, these short pitches, it is not the movie you’re trying to condense into the two minutes, it’s the movie trailer of the business opportunity that you’re trying to convey to the investor, consumer or business.

And if you had a ten‑minute presentation in front of an investor one of the models that I use is from David Rose. David Rose is a serial entrepreneur. And at TED in 2007 he gave an 18‑minute presentation on what investors look for in entrepreneurs. Turns out the number one quality they look for in you is to be coachable. But at the very end of his 18 minutes he said oh, I only have a couple minutes left, let me give you the deck that I’ve used as a serial entrepreneur to raise billions of dollars. And so the 13 slides that you’ll be able to find in addition to the content that we have here on the Kauffman Founders School will give you chapter and verse on what each of those slides require. You can either get it from the additional content here or maybe even go to TED and watch David Rose give that presentation himself.

In any case, you need to be rehearsed for anything from your wow statement, to what you would use when you meet somebody and they say so who are you and what do you do, to giving a two‑minute presentation, all the way up to a ten‑minute presentation and then everything in between. Once you’re ready for any of those presentations, you will be set and available to go out and present to investors anywhere in the world with confidence, excitement and passion. And make sure you rehearse.

Suggested Readings

Founders School || Powerful Presentations || Presentation Categories || Impact Guide (PDF).

Wohlmuth, Ed. Overnight Guide to Public Speaking. New York: Signet, 1995.

Fraleigh, Douglas M. and Joseph S. Tuman. Speak up!: An Illustrated Guide to Public Speaking. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin, 2011.

Klaus, Peggy. Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 2003.

Gold, Nathan and Claudio Sennhauser. Giving Memorable Product Demos., 2009.

David S. Rose: How to Pitch to a VC, TED 2007.

Questions for You

Imagine that your laptop would not start and you need to present. Present without any slides and see what happens to your ability to present!

Record yourself on video for five minutes and watch it immediately afterward. Are you showing enthusiasm?

How’s the closing on your presentation? If you don’t have a strong close, create one now!

Tools and exercises

Guidelines for pitch deck: How to Pitch to a VC by David S. Rose (TED 2007) discusses these slides in detail.

Guidelines for a Two Minute Pitch (PDF).