4 minutes is plenty of time.
Anyone you talk about your project to has a thousand other things to think about, especially if they are investors. Everyone wants to talk to them. You won’t likely have more than 4 minutes of their attention anyway so practice to make your message clear in a very short time. I actually ended up presenting for 6 minutes…
Tell people it’s big, first.
In the first version of my presentation I was starting with I was building it. I started explaining the problem (in my case, it’s difficult for event organizers to find great speakers). The feedback I got that it was “too small”. So I put things in perspective and started with the events market size. $65 billion! They all need content and speakers. It’s big. Much better start. Even if I’m not building a billion dollar company.
Define the problem you’re solving
Once we assessed it’s big, you have to define the problem you are solving. Too many startups think they have something revolutionary but aren’t solving anything. Most unicorns solved very clear problems. Hotels were full and too expensive for AirBNB. The taxi experience sucked for Uber. Even the products that seem the most visionary are actually solving a problem. Google Glass was trying to have us all look less down at our phones especially while we were talking to someone else. Sergei Brin was obsessed by this issue. Too early.
Where is the revenue for you?
Investors want to understand how you startup can become a billion dollar company. It can be big and it’s solving a problem, great. Now where is the cash? What’s your market size? How are you going to expand? Where is the revenue for you? Say it, even if you don’t know, guess. I’m guessing too, I don’t really know, yet. In my case most of the revenue will come from events finding undiscovered speakers that don’t charge anything, yet. By making them visible we will expose a new supply to the demand of event organizers and expand the market size. Uber made anyone drive people around instead of just professional drivers. A huge new market was unlocked.