Why A Pitch Deck?
Your pitch deck is probably the most important document you will put together when fundraising for your startup. On its own, it won’t get an angel or venture capitalist to invest in your company; they need to meet you and get a feel for the team and people they will be investing in. However, it is probably the first opportunity to create the right impression, and serves as a valuable key to get you in the door and through the first round of filtering.
What Should Be In My Pitch?
Glad you asked! We put together our own template based on our own experience and insights. Take a look around and remember, don’t feel the need to follow the template exactly. Use it as a guide to ensure you are covering all the important aspects of your investment proposition in the pitch deck. You can also take a look at some other resources which we really like:
- Capital Pilot // Pitch Deck Template
- Guy Kawasaki // The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch
- Boris Golden // What I Look For in a Startup Pitch
We look at a lot of pitch decks at Capital Pilot, and there are some common mistakes that founders make. Using the templates above can help you avoid these mistakes, so start with those if you haven’t put your deck together yet, bearing in mind the following:
It’s too long, dense and wordy
Just like everyone else, investors have a short attention span and a lot of work to do. Your pitch deck isn’t the only one they are going to look at that day, that hour, or even that minute (maybe). If it is 50 slides long, 10 point font, and lacking images and diagrams to bring it to life, you are handicapping yourself. Remember, the key job of the deck is to get you an in-person meeting. That’s when they’ll dive in deeper on the business and ask you challenging questions. You don’t have to include everything about your business (it is not a business plan) — leave them wanting more!
It’s a product pitch, not an investor pitch
Often we see presentations which were originally designed as customer pitches with a slide added on the fundraising. You certainly need to demonstrate why your product/service is (or will be) a winner, but that’s only part of it. The key to your investment pitch deck is to explain why your business will be a winner for the investor. In other words, how will they make a big return on their investment. Having a great product/service alone isn’t going to raise you money. You also need to show that there is a great team, a winning revenue model, a big enough addressable market to make a large return, and a clear go-to-market strategy.
It’s too technical/jargony
You might be pitching to investors with sector experience, but in all likelihood you are going to be better versed on the technical stuff than they are. Keep that in mind when you write your pitch. If it is full of arcane abbreviations and acronyms you will lose the reader. Enough with the ELPs, OMTMs, and PEBCAKs — speak in a language everyone can understand. Remember your audience.
You’re selling too hard
Ambition is great. So is confidence. But don’t fall into the trap of over-selling. You also need to be realistic. You are raising funds for a reason – because your business model is incomplete. So be up-front about what resources you need – human, technical, financial – to be successful. Don’t try to pretend you have got everything in the bag already
Inconsistency and inaccuracy
You care whether or not you get funding, right? So make sure that comes across, and rid your pitch deck of typos. 50% of the decks we review have typos and probably 25% of the financial models have errors. Sloppy. Not a good impression.
More substantively, ensure that your words and numbers are consistent – that the assumptions and outputs in your financial projections match the words. And the key test: does your presentation and model demonstrate that your business will be worth multiples of its current value during the lifetime of the investment (ie before the money you are raising runs out)? If not, you’re not going to get very far
Mixing up sales, marketing and go-to-market strategy
They’re different things. If asked “how are you going to build your customer base?” the answer is not “digital marketing and social media”. Be clear on each element. What is/are your target customer base(s) and how will you prioritise? How will you raise awareness of your product or service in that arena? And what is the process by which you will contact and ultimately sell to customers in that arena?
Any Good Examples of Winning Pitches?
Attach.io put together an excellent database of pitch decks that helped well known startups raise over $400m, and Dice Studios has a collection of Powerpoint templates that you can use to make your pitch really stand out. Take a look: