From screenshots to use case

How do you showcase your application in a 20 minute pitch? Doing a full, live demo is hardly ever an option:
  • Murphy’s Law will strike, and your Internet connection will break down, and if not, another technical issue will hit you
  • Some aspects of your app are interesting to show, others are boring and time consuming (loggin in, entering some data, etc.)
  • It is hard to stay focussed and on script in a live application, before you know you have lost yourself in an interesting feature and spent far too much time on your demo.
In a short VC pitch, doing a live demo is likely to take the energy and momentum out of our talk. The other solution is showing a bunch of screen shots. But how can we transform a series of uninspiring screen shots into an exciting use case of your product? Some steps to consider:
  • Base the whole section on a story. The best stories are real: find an actual customer, disguise everything so it is impossible to expose private information and build the entire screen shot demo on her case.
  • Alternate between regular visuals and screen shots. Use a map to show locations, use images taken in the street to give things a sense of place.
  • When using screen shots, crop out all the clutter that is irrelevant: operating system window bars, icons, browser navigations and put huge arrows or circles to focus the viewer attention to what you want to see them. Use big text to emphasise what you are doing and why it is so great (“We open an account in just one click”).
  • Throughout your story, stay consistent: the same user, the same location, the same issue she is trying to solve.
In this way you got yourself an engaging story that you can use beyond your investor presentation, it could be the corner stone of a customer presentation or even a web site slider. You can still bring the actual demo along, but use it only to point at it as proof that you have a working product. If the investor is interested, you can invite her for an in-depth, and longer meeting later.

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