By Joseph Flaherty, Director of Content & Community
Many founders seem to think VCs are purely rational beings who can be convinced to invest if the right logical arguments are made and the correct fact sets are assembled. The reality is that most VCs are more Epicurean than Aristotelian — especially at the early stage.
I have the honor of reviewing a lot of Series A decks and it’s shocking how often the actual product the company sells isn’t shown until halfway through the pitch. Strategy, team, sales, etc., are all important. However, remember that VCs are consumers too.
�� Would you buy a sports car based entirely on its 0–60 time?
🏠 Can you imagine buying a house based purely on square footage?
🧼 Even a commodity like the soap at your sink probably has some narrative or aesthetic appeal. The equity in your company is no different.
Even the hardest core SaaS founder could learn something from how CPG products are sold. Aesthetics matter to VCs because they matter to customers. Moreover, there’s no good reason *not* to show your product.
Seriously, just put a picture of your product on your cover slide, right next to the logo. It’s not like you’re paying by the pixel. What’s the harm?
Don’t Waste Your First Slide
If you’ve good news, like runaway user growth or a $20M run rate, don’t wait for the final third of the deck to tell…
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the dullest SaaS dashboard or your offering is primarily a human service — there are many clever ways you can showcase it visually! Here are a few ideas:
Images that MUST accompany every startup PR pitch
Before you email a reporter, prepare *at least* one of these pictures to go along with your press release.
Also, look through your deck — any point at which you use stock art is a spot that you can use to showcase your product. This is quite possibly the lowest effort, highest return improvement you can make in under five minutes.
Your pitch deck isn’t an application for financial aid
A case for treating your slides like a movie poster.
Practically, pictures of the product are useful in that they tend to answer a bunch of low-priority questions in a very efficient manner — e.g. does the product have this or that feature? Are you considering this use case? And so on. But practicality is a secondary concern.
“Words when spoken out loud for the sake of performance are music. They have rhythm and pitch and timbre and volume. These are the properties of music and music has the ability to find us and move us and lift us up in ways that literal meaning can’t.”
This * 1,000 for pics.
Entrepreneurs are trying to do something incredibly hard. The odds are ever against them. And far too many fail to use one of the most powerful tools at their disposal.
Humans have told stories with images far longer than we’ve used words or numbers. An education system focused on logic and literacy has shamed many away from emotion and imagery, much to the detriment of entrepreneurs. In summary, pics plz.