For those that dont know, Graphicly, at its core, is a digital comic book reader. Recently, when I was pitching the company, I got an intro to a Sand Hill Road VC.

Pretty excited, I got to the meeting a few minutes early so I could set up my mac with the overhead.

Then the minutes passed (my personal pet peeve – being late to meetings). After the investors were about 10 min late, I thought to myself, “fuck it. Im going to read a comic.” So I fired up The Killer, and started reading it on the projector. About half way through the book, the two partners came into the room, and rather than pull down the book and jump into my deck, I left the comic on the screen.

“Whats that,” they asked.

“Graphicly,” I replied.

And for the next 20-30 minutes we talked about the product and market while walking through the application. I think in the last 10min of the meeting, I actually went to the slide deck.

“Thats awesome,” they said.

“Cool,” I replied.

About a week later I got an email from one of the partners.

“Great demo,” he wrote. “But, we are not investing in this segment right now.”

What was the learning? That not presenting a demo was a bad move?

Actually, it was the exact opposite.

Part of the investment process is having the potential investor believe in the entrepreneur, and more so, fall in love with the product. If the investor cant see themselves using or recommending the product to their friends daily, then how can they care about the future of the product, or more importantly entrust their LP’s money into the company?

Here is a great example. One VC that I have a huge amount of respect for, Bijan Sabet, wrote that on a recent vacation he found that using Kik was the best way for him to stay in touch with the important people in his life.

2 or 3 weeks later Kik raised $8mm or so from a syndicate that included Spark Capital, where Bijan is a partner.

Coincidence? I dont think so.

How to ensure that you have the perfect demo:

1) Make sure it highlights the important functions of the product that speak directly to the stated value proposition. If you have a communications tool, then make sure you can communicate using your product

2) Make sure its design friendly. It can look like crap, but it should speak to its prettiest future. Twitter, in its beginnings was a text entry box and a submit button.

3) Make sure its short. No need for it to take 15 minutes to get to the wow moment.

4) Make sure it speaks for itself. You should be able to slide a tablet or laptop over to someone and let them play with your product. They should, at some point, nod their heads and say “hrm, cool.”

5) Make sure that your demo is the central component of your pitch. Words are words; actions are money.

Unsure if your demo is good enough to demo? Show it to your mom, a random person on the street, a server at the bar. Give them 5 min and then say, “what is it?” If they cant answer that question correctly, then go work on your demo. Rinse. Repeat.

Great demos create a connection to your potential investor. And every investor will tell you that they invest based on their connection to the entrepreneur and their vision. Your demo is the material representation of your vision.

Next Post: Doing It in Six Slides.

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