At Capital Pilot, we've seen many pitch decks. In the process, we’ve built up some useful insights on typical errors and omissions, as well as approaches that are better than others. In light of this, we’ve compiled the most common comments we make in our investment committee to help startups avoid the mistakes and apply better strategies when formulating their pitch.

1. Your pitch deck is targeted at your customers and not at investors

Investors have pretty specific and standard information requirements. Ensure you are addressing them (we have another article devoted to this topic).

2. Your deck does not stand alone as an introductory document

The assumption is that your pitch deck is the first document which a potential investor will review – typically delivered by email. It needs to convey all the key points concisely and powerfully.

3. You haven’t highlighted what is unique about your business proposition within its target marketplace and, most importantly, why YOU and YOUR TEAM are the right people to execute on your business model

Remember your audience needs to be convinced about your business and about the passion of the team which is delivering it. You can’t do it all in an investor pitch deck — they will still want to meet you — but you should convey a pretty good idea of the team’s pedigree and background.

4. You haven’t dealt with your traction with customers

The second-most important information after the team is traction and validation. Where is the evidence that your target customers want what you are delivering? It doesn’t matter what stage you are. Customer survey data, testimonials, growth in user numbers or subscribers (free or pay), and of course revenues are all vital to include to strengthen your proposition and bolster your investment case.

5. Your financial model does not demonstrate your revenue build-up – what the key drivers of revenue growth are, and associated costs

The model should support the pitch, and explain the dynamics of revenue and expenses over the 3-5 year projection period. See our resource page for more suggestions.

6. Sales, marketing and go-to-market strategy, are different and need to be addressed separately in your plan for growth

Just saying “Digital Marketing” or “Social Media” don't count as sales or go-to-market strategies. How are you going to grow your customer base, and what is the realistic addressable market which you are going to target initially

7. Your pitch deck could look better

First impressions do count. You’re a disruptor; new kid on the block; looking to punch above your weight. Make your deck looks as good as it can. The flipside is, a great looking deck will not make up for weak content and a weak business model, customer traction or team.

8. Too many words and too many slides

It’s an investor pitch deck, not a research paper. Think about if you were sitting across the table and had to review a tonne of pitches. Hit the key points concisely and visually wherever possible. Images and charts are better than dense text. Throwing everything but the kitchen sink in is tempting. However, initially, the investor wants a cohesive and complete view of your business in a digestible format, and it will need to stand out from the other 30 they are looking at that morning.

9. You haven’t addressed the competition or the market players you are looking to disrupt

An objective assessment of the competition demonstrates that you have done your homework and are realistic in your expectations.

10. You’ve forgotten to include details of your fundraise

How much are you raising? Are you SEIS or EIS eligible? What is the use of proceeds? What milestones will you aim for following the round?

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