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:
- Big Picture Overview
- How Big Is the Opportunity?
- Your Vision
- What Problem Are You Solving?
- How Are You Solving It?
- What Is Your Product/Service?
- Who Will Be Your Customers?
- What Technology Will You Use?
- Management Team and Prior Investors
- Who Is Already Competing in a Similar Space?
- What Gives Your Idea Traction?
- How Will Your Business Work (Business Model)?
- How Will You Market Your Offering?
- What Are the Financials?
- What Are You Asking For?
Address each topic crisply, without too much wordiness. Add an important stat every now and then to reinforce your points. But most of all, shape your presentation to your audience and confront potential problems head-on. Your audience will enter with concerns – let them know you understand these concerns from the start and they’ll pay closer attention. If you are an early-stage startup, show your audience that you have a well-conceived path and the right vision.
Tips and Tricks For Preparing a Proper Investor Pitch Deck
There are several does and don’ts you’ll want to consider when composing your pitch deck. For more in depth analysis, see article by Reid Hoffman.
- DO pitch by analogy, tying your business and technology to other successful businesses
- DO decide whether to drive your pitch by concept or by data, whichever applies most directly
- DO proactively confront risks with mitigating strategies that help to build confidence
- DO dwell on your competitive advantage, what will give you traction to survive and grow in the market, what makes you unique and maneuverable
- DO show in detail how you will attack competitor’s revenue streams
- DON’T use more than 20 slides, and keep them from being wordy
- DON’T overwhelm with financial data – save for follow-up
- DON’T look to cover everything in the deck – you can flesh out items in subsequent Q&A
- DON’T use jargon or obscure acronyms
- DON’T belittle the competition
- DON’T use old data that makes your deck look dated
- DON’T economize by doing your own graphics – use a graphic designer
It is easy to opine about ‘do this, don’t do that’ when offering pro bono guidance to those who need objective insight. However, we know that it is not always easy to be a good student who ‘gets it’ and can actually follow the instructions provided. Writing a good pitch deck requires objectivity, creative writing talent and the ability to frame your vision into a compelling document. If you want to get your investor pitch deck right the first time, Prospectus.com can help. We are not just a leading provider of prospectus and offering memorandum writing services, we help startups raise money by providing all of the documentation required by investors and regulators and our services are equally suited to established companies seeking additional capital.
We are recognized thought-leaders in best practices for creating private placement/offering memoranda, administering feasibility studies that help you develop your business plan, your pitch deck and in select engagements, we can provide capital introduction to qualified investors who are focused on specific industry opportunities.
Many thanks to Reid Hoffman for inspiring the above. Read his Rules of the Road for Raising Money here
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