If you’re wondering things like, “What does the process look like?” or “What are these guys going to do, and what are they going to ask me to do?” this page is for you.
After you pay the deposit, here’s what happens:
Step 1: You and The Presenting CFO (TPCFO) do the initial intake meeting.
TPCFO interviews you. This meeting usually lasts 120 minutes. The people from your company who will be speaking to the investors need to be present, and the meeting will take place in the target language (for example, if the investor meetings will be in English, the meeting will be in English too).
What we are doing here is gathering the raw material we will craft into a story arc. We want to hear how you talk about your company and what topics excite you. You might think a few of the questions sound off-topic. Just relax and go with it. We are investigating tangents that are probably dead ends, but sometimes turn out to be rich veins the investors will want to know about.
Step 2: TPCFO comes up with a general story arc.
TPCFO goes back to its offices and does some internal brainstorming, putting together the raw materials we gathered in Step 1.
Then we vet the story, making sure it’s going to going to appeal to the people you’ll be presenting to, and that it’ll make them want to do what you want them to do. This is basically our “psychological due diligence” work.
For example: If you will be presenting to bank FI people, but your end goal is to get the bank’s analysts to start following you, we’re going to ask ourselves if the story we’re putting together is going to appeal to bank FI people, and is it going to make them want to put it into the hands of their analysts.
Before we move onto Step 3, we’re going to run the general story arc past you, to see if you like it and think it’ll accomplish what you are setting out to accomplish, and to confirm we’re all ready to move forward together to the next step.
Step 3: TPCFO designs a rough draft slide deck.
Most of this work will be internal TPCFO work. We’ll be designing the visuals (slides, charts, fact sheets, etc) that reinforce the story arc we agreed on in the first two steps.
It is quite normal during this period for us to request additional information from you. For example, we might email you and ask for more detailed revenue figures, production projections, company photos, etc.
Step 4: TPCFO shows you the rough draft slide deck.
Here you’ll see how the visuals are shaping up. Usually around this step you’ll start imagining yourself in the meeting with your investors, and what you’ll be saying and what they’ll be looking at.
Remember, at this point in the process, you’re looking at a rough draft of the visuals. Many of the numbers on the slide deck will be placeholders, and we will ask you to provide the actual numbers.
Other things that typically happen after you see this rough draft and give us your feedback: Some of the slides will be changed or reordered, or the graphs will be changed, based on conversations between you and TPCFO.
The point at this stage is to start tightening up the integration between the visuals and the spoken presentation.
Step 5: TPCFO iterates the rough draft to an 80%-finished version.
This is mostly an internal step that TPCFO does. We’ll be taking the feedback and actuals you gave us in Step 4, and working them into the rough draft.
If there are still outstanding requests for information (for example, if we asked you for updated revenue projections), or if your earlier feedback included requests to reorder some of the slides or to change some of the graphics, we might check in with you again for feedback on the changes.
This stage typically includes lots of back and forth between you and TPCFO about relatively small details. It’s kind of a miniature version of Step 4. Basically, we’re upgrading the visuals from rough draft to almost done.
Step 6: You and TPCFO meet again.
This meeting typically takes between 1 and 3 hours. The point is for you to review our work so far, and make any late-stage adjustments or course-corrections. It’s also a time for us to ask you about remaining open issues. Typically, those will be requests for data that are still outstanding, or suggestions on how to display a particular piece of data.
Why does the meeting duration vary so much? If you look at our work so far and say, “This is great, this is exactly what I wanted,” the meeting will be on the short side. However, sometimes there’s a particular thorny issue the client hasn’t worked through internally, and the meeting will go long so we can “get creative” and figure out how to deal with it in the real-life, investor-facing meeting.
Step 7: TPCFO adjusts the slide deck per the meeting results.
Like Step 5, this is mostly an internal step that TPCFO does. We’ll be taking the feedback and actuals you gave us in Step 6, and working them into the final draft.
This stage typically includes some back and forth emailing between you and TPCFO as we collect the last pieces of data we need from you.
Step 8: You and TPCFO do some delivery practice sessions.
In this stage we work with you on, typically, the top three things you feel are holding you back in a smooth, professional delivery. Often these are things like reducing your “ah count,” knowing what to do with your hands, and practicing the phrasing you’ll need for addressing particularly difficult or risky issues.
Also, in this stage small changes are often (but not always) made to the visuals. For example, in the practice sessions we will decide that slide #23 should actually be in position #19. We’ll make that change.
Step 9: TPCFO delivers a 100%-finished slide deck to you.
At this point you’re probably confirming your flight to London, getting your best suit pressed, etc. Oh, and we email the final file to you. You’ve seen it a million times before, though, and you even had some practice sessions with it. So there are no big surprises to you.
Step 10: You go to your real-life investor meeting.
This is where you go off to conquer the world and then return home triumphant with that new investment in the bag.
Step 11: You and TPCFO meet for a post-mortem evaluation.
This meeting will last 60-90 minutes. We will be asking things like how did the investor meeting go, what next steps are needed, and how could the process have been better.
This meeting may come at the end of the process, and you may be feeling relief (“oh thank god, the investor meeting is over, now I can get to those 9 million emails that have been piling up in my inbox”), but what you do next is extremely important. After all, the investor was probably pitched by a long line of other people, too. If you don’t do any followup, chances are you’ll disappear into the fog of time along with all those other people!
Basically, it comes down to 4-5 meetings and some emails or phone calls back-and-forth, all taking place in the space of 1-2 months.
By the way, if we are in the same city and face-to-face meetings are convenient, we’ll do that. If not, we’ll do meetings by videoconference.