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Lo Toney’s product manager playbook for pitch deck success


Lo Toney’s product manager playbook for pitch deck success – TechCrunch

The cold email worked — you’ve landed a meeting with your dream investor. Hell, you even set aside $40,000 for a pitch deck consultant to make sure your presentation looks suave.

One thing to figure out before you pick out a Zoom background: what information actually goes into those slides?

Lo Toney, founding managing partner at Plexo Capital, has advice for founders looking to raise money: think like a product manager while crafting your pitch deck. Toney has helped shape products at Zynga, Nike and eBay, and currently serves as both a GP and an LP at Plexo Capital, which invests in funds and startups. He’s done a ton of pitching and gotten pitched himself, which is why we invited him to TechCrunch Early Stage 2020.

“The framework of product management is very similar to the same playbook used by an early-stage investor and early-stage investors in the absence of an abundance of data,” Toney said. “They’re really thinking very similar to a product manager to evaluate an opportunity.”

Crafting a solid pitch deck is critical to the success of a startup seeking venture capital. Investors, however, spend less than four minutes on average per deck, and some even tell you that you have half that much time (so either talk fast or pick your favorite slides). Even if you have the business to prove that you’re the next Stripe, if you butcher the story behind the numbers, you could lose the potential to get the capital you need.

Toney said adopting a product manager mindset helps refine what that story looks and feels like.

“The story is not your product. It’s not your company, and it’s not the entrepreneur. It’s how your customer’s world is going to be better when your product has solved their problem,” he said, quoting Rick Klau from GV.

In action, Toney broke down the framework into four key slides: problem, market, solution and, of course, team.

Problem

First up, most investors say they want to see the problem you’re trying to solve up high. Toney is no different.

“I like to see an entrepreneur describing the desired outcome first, and then what are some of those roadblocks that come along the way to that desired outcome?” he asked. Similar to a product manager, founders could illustrate the different challenges that could come to executing a solution on a specific problem.

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the first TechCrunch Early Stage ‘Pitch Deck Teardown’”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Have you ever taken something apart, like a clock or a motor?n

The method is particularly useful when it comes to learning how things work u2014 or how they don’t, in some cases.n

During TechCrunchu2019s Early Stage event, two venture capitalists took pitch decks and evaluated them with a critical eye on content, presentation and overall messaging. If you missed it the first time through, watch it below in its entirety.n

The session was a blast. This was the first time weu2019ve hosted this event, but weu2019re working on bringing this session to TechCrunchu2019s main event, Disrupt, this September.n

Accelu2019s Amy Saper and Bessemeru2019s Talia Goldberg gave great advice as we clicked through each deck. First impressions are everything, and pitch decks are often the first glimpse of companies by potential investors and business partners. Itu2019s critical that these decks properly present and illustrate in a concise and effective manner the goals and potential of a company.



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