Let’s pretend you know how to put together a compelling investor pitch deck and you are on your way to raise $10mil for your great idea and you don’t need objective guidance or experienced insight. You can stop reading here, because you know it all. For those whose job includes providing guidance to startup companies or for those on the receiving end of funding solicitations, you will likely concur with the team at Prospectus.com when lamenting about the thousands of half-baked business plan packages that are disorganized to the point of appearing dyslexic. Worse still (for the aspiring entrepreneur seeking to raise capital), many of those packages are incomplete, as they lack a properly configured investor presentation deck; the collateral that repurposes the 90-second elevator pitch and frames the investment opportunity in a short-form presentation comprised of 12-15 PowerPoint-powered slides.
Yes, it is hard to appreciate that some of the seemingly smartest entrepreneurs struggle with the most important aspect of scaling a business and getting to the next lever: raising capital from investors to fund fast growth or to underwrite a strategic acquisition. The reasons why so-called savvy entrepreneurs are so challenged when it comes to properly presenting their value proposition to investors requires too lengthy an explanation for the purposes of this posit. The fact is, aside from folks such as LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, many people with very solid business ideas, whether tech wonks or fast talking salespeople who are great at relationships building, but not programmed to be creative writers and can ‘t cross the finish line with a completed A Round or a follow-on financing away from first round funding provided by friends and family members . A shame for them, but an opportunity for experienced writers who are fluent in pitch deck presentations and serve folks who know what they know and can acknowledge what they are not good at; true leadership qualifications.
Courtesy of Prospectus.com, the following is a primer for even the biggest primadonnas…
How to Prepare a Investor Pitch Deck : Winning Presentations Require Best Practices
Whether you are a startup seeking first or second round funding, or an established company that is seeking institutional investors, a pitch deck is the vehicle by which you present your company to private equity and venture capital firms as well as angel investors. A proper investor pitch deck is generally created using Power Point (a favorite format on the part of professional investors) and it is a presentation that requires no more than four minutes to review by the targeted audience. Generally, the presentation is confined to no more than 15- 20 slides that effectively highlight the company’s opportunity, its technology and/or other unique value propositions, management team expertise, sales projections and how investors can expect to recoup their investment and recognize a profit. A good pitch deck tells a compelling story that excites viewers. A bad deck wastes everyone’s time.
Most professional investors will acknowledge that Step 1 is a compelling elevator pitch; a verbal presentation that is limited to 90 seconds and frames the value proposition and the ‘ask’. If your elevator pitch landed on the right floor, Step 2 is the investor pitch deck.
The first slide should include three to eight bullets that emphasize the size of the market opportunity and your strategy for exploiting it. You want to convince potential investors that you are presenting a massively valuable investment thesis which will benefit investors significantly. Naturally, interesting images and graphics are a plus to hold the audience’s attention, and you’ll want to use a consistent font size, color and heading style throughout. Remember to put a copyright notice on the bottom of the cover page.
Here is an outline for a 15-slide deck that you can use as the starting point for your preparation:
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