Can I use alternative facts in a pitch deck to VC’s?
While I’m sure the question is a joke or half-joke, there’s an important variant of this question that is worth exploring.
Yes, founders need to sell a vision and sell ahead. Investors want to see that. But …
There’s nothing that kills a financing faster than something in the pitch that is outright wrong. Especially something that is important.
As a small example, there have two recent start-ups where I really wanted to invest and the founders said they had closed $X0,000 in revenue with their first few customers.
In both cases, I called these customers and … well … it turned out they weren’t actually customers. Not yet, at least. In one case, they were all unpaid pilots with draft contracts for the $$$ amount the founders claimed. In the other case, the deals were again pilots, this time paid, but only one-off deals.
To me at least, this is a stretch too far.
Other examples include claiming management team and/or key team members … that aren’t actually signed up yet. Or are really just advisors, or part-timers.
Another, more subtle example is complete misunderstanding of the competition. If I know your competition and you state something that is completely wrong about the space or them … I’m out.
My “favorite” are fake and pseudo metrics like “QRR” where founders combine three months of revenue into one Quarterly Recurring Revenue number to conflate their revenues. Enough.
You move on once you spot Alternative Facts.