There is a lot of confusion by both Startup founders and investors about the use of a Pitch Deck. As an entrepreneur seeking to raise capital from investors there is no shortage of conflicting advice you may receive as to the who, what, when, where, how.
If you follow the typical Silicon Valley structure you'll end up with 11 slides and far too little information for Investors to make a decision.
If you work with a Corporate Advisor or consultant you may end up with a 60 page Information Memorandum that no investors will actually read, let along make an investment decision on.
Over the past 3 years we have been scouring the world for all the best templates and methods to create the perfect Pitch Deck, which I'll share with you shortly. But first let's cover some important points...
Purpose of Your Pitch Deck
This is the document you send an investor when you want to make contact using an email introduction, or when you are speaking with them and they say “can you send me some more information on your business/offer?”. It's a written document designed for them to read without explanation needed.
The intent is to:
- Cover every important aspect of your business (not just your product/service) in a succinct way so that an investor can review you in less than 5 minutes
- Leave an investor wanting more
It is not designed to close an investor but to get them excited and move you to the next stage which is often a meeting (or second one) or begin due diligence.
Pitch Deck vs. Investor Presentation
Your 21 slide Pitch Deck is not the same as your 11 slide Investor Presentation (also commonly referred to as a Pitch Presentation and unhelpfully as a Pitch Deck).
Your 21 slide version is a stand alone document that investors can read without you, while your Investor Presentation is a summary that needs your dialogue to bring to life.
When you present to an investor you use your Investor Presentation, but when you give them materials to read you leave your Pitch Deck, because your Investor Presentation is difficult to convey without you explaining it.
There are 21 items that must be in a Pitch Deck for it to be complete and for Investors to have all the information they need to take their interest to the next step.
1. Cover Page
4. Target Market
7. Market Analysis & Opportunity
8. Unique Selling Proposition
9. Sales & Marketing Plan
10. Business Model
11. Traction: Customers, Partners & Media
12. Competitor Analysis
13. Intellectual Property
14. Team: Founders & Executives
15. Team: Advisors & Investors
16. Funding & Timeline
17. Financials: Historic & Projections
18. Key Risks & Mitigation Strategies
19. Ask, Offer, Use of Funds & Exit Strategy
21. Contact Information
It is crucially important that each of these items is given it's own distinct slide and that there is not more than one slide for any of these items.
It is also crucially important that each slide has less than 50 words on it. When you create a perfect deck, with great accompanying imagery & design, then an investor will be able to quickly read through it in less than 5 minutes and make an immediate decision as to whether they want to spend more time with you.
They may also decide to spend another 20 minutes pouring through every detail and testing your assumptions. If you achieve that then they are on the hook and likely to respond to ask for more information.
The last thing you want is for an extremely busy investor to look at your Pitch Deck and put it in the "too hard basket" because it's either far too long or far too short.