Ten tips on how to demo your startup

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Jason Calacanis has heard and reviewed hundreds of startup and has excellent advice for all of us on how to demo your startup.

1. Show your product within the first 60 seconds.
2. The best products take less than five minutes to demo
3. Leave people wanting more.
4. Talk about what you’ve done, not what you’re going to do.
5. Understand your competitive landscape–current and historical.
6. Short answers are best.
7. PowerPoint bullet slides are death.
8. How to use this new device called the phone.
9. How to handle questions you don’t know the answer to
10. Always confirm the time of your meeting/call, and always be 15
minutes early.

This is a great list for “how to demo” your startup. May not be a perfect list for how to present your company for fund raising. “Show me what you got” is not the same as “why should we help you?”

Especially item number 4, “talk about what you’ve done, not what you’re going to do”. If you are a startup, there are more of “things to be done”, compared to what you have done. A showing of a clear path as to where do you plan to take the the things you have done is equally important.

The item one, “Show your product within the first 60 seconds” works only when your audience is well versed in your space. I try to take the first 30-45 seconds to connect with the audience, you don’t have to connect to them by showing the size of the market, or by showing your market share, but you need to take them to a level where they can follow your plans.

You typically have one to fifteen minutes to tell your story. No matter how hard you try you will NOT be able to bring out all the important things; so you need to focus on thing that are going to be important to your targeted audience. In this case, Jason wants to see a demo, sort of like an end user. Show him the demo, talk about what you have done and what your product can do. If you are giving a presentation to a potential investor, they want to know “how would you sell this” and you got to focus on that.



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