Presentation Lessons from the Montgomery Conference

I spent last week at the Montgomery Conference in LA watching some of our companies present. For background, the Montgomery Conference is for later stage companies to pitch their business to growth investors – usually defined by having greater than $10m in revenue.

Since the majority of these companies were beyond where we’d play at True, it was a great opportunity to watch how others reacted to presentations and for patterns of success.

Some quick thoughts:

  1. Start with the story of the people behind the company.  Even if it wasn’t the Founder pitching, the presentations that started with the story behind the company quickly caught people up with the story and made them able to engage more easily.
  2. Figure out your story first, then build slides to supplement the talk.  This enables you to know the one or two points you want to drive home without bogging the conversation down with every detail.
  3. Live demos.  This isn’t for everyone – but done correctly, this will capture the audience.  (I’m looking at you Optimizely)
  4. Ask for feedback privately from people you trust.  The best founders were rabid about seeking out thoughts and recommendations in a constant attempt to improve.

Though these companies were much later stage than most of the companies we work with, the lessons feel broadly applicable to any person pitching their business (or pitching in general)

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I work for True Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto. We partner with promising entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in the technology market providing hands-on management support to guide our portfolio companies through the challenges of early growth.