21 November 2012

How to present a biotech project

Tips from my own experience

Anton Malyshev, iBusinessThe ability to present yourself is a very important quality for any person, and for a beginner startup it is simply necessary.

Your prospects in interaction with the listener largely depend on how you present your project (and the listener can be a potential investor, partner, and client ...). You need to simultaneously interest, hook, and leave a little room for understatement (because questions will follow), and explain clearly...

The content of the presentation largely depends on the context of the event: agree, there are completely different things when you present to ordinary listeners, to experts, to a potential investor, to a competition jury that evaluates projects, to a potential client, etc. The context must be studied and the main purpose of the presentation must be taken into account: to get feedback, to go further in the competition, get financing, etc.

There are also various time limits, which is important to take into account and not go beyond the limit. Of course, almost any project still has a general version of the presentation, which it modifies for a specific situation. But the specifics of a particular situation cannot be neglected. Therefore, in my opinion, the study of the atmosphere and the goal is a basic thing that can ensure success by at least 20%.

Based on the understanding of what listeners expect from you, you build your presentation model, simultaneously coming up with what interesting things you will offer to listeners. There are basic things that, in my opinion, must be observed: you cannot overload the slide with information, you do not need to put phrases on the slide that you will pronounce. The design should be moderately bright, attracting attention (and not only the design, but also the technology of flipping through slides, fonts, the location and shape of pictures, for example, - small things can give a presentation a certain style). There are certain sections of the presentation (about technology, market, financing needs, project team, etc.) that are required in 99% of cases. They are sometimes corrected, but in general they are necessarily present. It is important to update them in a timely manner so that the information is up to date.

It is difficult to give advice on submitting material, because there may be a million of them, and besides, each person has his own opinion. I can note that, in my opinion, it is important to explain the essence of the problem being solved in an accessible way from the very beginning of the presentation and show that it really exists. This can immediately hook the listener.

The following situation is also indicative: at the final of the HSE10k competition, after the presentation of one project, one of the experts took the floor and told the project participants: "You know, I listened to you carefully, but still did not really understand the essence of the project. Please imagine that I am your grandmother. And explain to me the essence of the project as you would explain it to your grandmother."

In my opinion, these are very correct words, because indeed many speakers often speak in terms and phrases that are understandable to them, but not to the listeners. This should not be: no one will simply perceive you. By the way, questions after a speech are a certain indicator of intelligibility and clarity: if you still have the nth time after the speech, they ask you what you have invented, you should think about what and how you say it.

The above things are also relevant for presentation to investors. But there is a separate story with investors: you need to understand what kind of potential investor is (a broad-profile venture fund, a business angel, a fund that invests only in certain areas, etc.), and what key points he will be interested in.

Undoubtedly, slides with financial indicators should be given special attention: the investor is often most interested in how much to invest and after what time and what he will receive. It is necessary not to forget about the novelty and uniqueness of the proposed technology, to convince the investor that it is really necessary and commercially feasible. In addition, it is desirable to give detailed information on the further development of the project, to show what steps you will take to implement the project. And it is also important to show which team will implement the project: competencies, interest in the project, etc.

I can't say that biotech projects are much more difficult to present than IT. It all depends on you: with proper elaboration of the presentation at the same time, 99% can tell both the concept of the Internet service and the uniqueness of the molecule. At least, our colleagues from biotech, whom we observed at exhibitions and competitions, did it quite successfully (although not all of them, of course).

In conclusion, I want to say that both the content of the presentation and the presentation as your action can and should be improved. You prepare, you speak, you get experience and feedback, you take into account mistakes, you prepare for the next presentation and then spiral. Although some startups perform almost impromptu without preparation and with a minimum of text on the slide is also an option, if your creativity wakes up in such cases, please go ahead. In any case, in order for the presentation of the project to be called excellent, you need to work hard. Which, however, will later become the reason for attention to the project and the basis for its further development.

About the author:
CEO of Lactocore.
Graduated in 2011 from the Biological Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University with a red diploma. Specialist-neurophysiologist, has been working for more than 4 years in the Laboratory of Normal Physiology and Regulatory Peptides of the Faculty of Biology of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Participated in 3 pharmaceutical screening projects. He is the author of a large number of scientific papers and several patents.
He started his innovative activity in the fall of 2010. Since then, he has completed educational programs from the Moscow State University Science Park, the Russian Venture Company and the Skolkovo Open University, as well as an internship at MIT (Boston, USA).
The Lactocore project team is the winner of the 2012 Formula for Success contests from the Moscow State University Science Park, the Moscow stage of the Startup Sauna Warmup international competition, HSE {10k} 2012 from the Higher School of Economics and the SKIP-Start competition from the Moscow Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship.
The project was presented at the MassChalenge business accelerators (Boston, USA) and Aalto Venture Garage (Helsinki, Finland), and is also a resident of the MSU and HSE business incubators.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru21.11.2012

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