Day 8 of 45: Martin Landau, our investor

6.13pm. Exhausted. Mentally  and physically drained.

Just lost an epic five setter in ping pong against a guy in my office who never beats me. I was defeated on the floor like McEnroe in the 70s (or was that the 80s?).

I’m home for a planned quiet Friday night in, but just remembered there is a gynormous Holloween party scheduled to rock my building this evening.  Any night but tonight I would join in.

I had my rehearsal presentation this morning with one of our existing investors using a presentation I’ve never even presented before. Clever eh. He thought it looked good, but wanted to see more.

This particular investor we’ll call ‘Martin’ as he always reminds me of the actor Martin Landau. He’s older, and wiser… he’s wily… and he calls a spade a spade. He’s highly respected and astute. He sees through bullshit and gets to the point. In one way its refreshing because investors are prone to B/S too… in another was it’s tough… as he’s hard to sugar coat things with. 

“What have you been doing for the last few months, just sitting on your hands?” asked Martin. 

His sidekick said he wanted to see much more in the presentation, such as biographies of employees, social media stats, press quotes etc. This is totally opposite to advice we got from another investor who said they wanted to see less. 10 slides. That’s it.

I’m convinced there is no real science to a presentation. You need to tell the story in an exciting, passionate, clear way. If you can add a bit of wit I always feel that helps. But even then the person in front of you needs to be on your pulse or you have no hope.

Sometimes it’s so hard to try get them to just wake up in that moment. “We’ve discovered how to make planes fly on water!”… No budge.  “Did you hear me, this will revolutionize aviation.” Nothing. “We’ll make jazillions!… Hello… Hellooooo.” They have heard so much before, that in some ways they can be going through the motions.


I’m being harsh on our existing investor though. He is constructive. He left the room and slagged off my appearance. I liked that. It showed his humor and relaxes the tone.

His sidekick meanwhile took out his laptop and proceeded to give us a range of email introductions to other possible investors. So we couldn’t have asked for more.

Although I did subtly broach the subject of a bridge round of financing. I don’t know where that came from.


So with the weekend here, Monday is a big day. I have 3 meetings – one with an industry legend (who I want to invest), one meeting thats a warm up to that meeting with two of our existing investors, and another ‘rehearsal’ presentation.

Time is running out, but things are happening. 

John Startup


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