You have got a brilliant idea. Great! You have turned that brilliant idea into a product or service. Even better! But what next? How would you get the right customers to your product/service, and most importantly how will you get the right people to invest in your business? The answer is ‘‘PITCH DECK.’’ The pitch deck or Venture Capitalist presentation is the first doorway for Venture Capitalists (VC) to know all about your company. It is therefore absolutely important to get it right in the first place. There would obviously be a lot of questions in your mind – what should I include, what should I not include, how do I compile the slides, what should the opening slide contain, what is the best way to end it, etc.??? In this blog, I attempt to highlight a few guidelines on how to create a strong, thorough, and engaging VC presentation.
The venture capitalists will give you much more than just their money. These are people with invaluable experience and connections that can help you to steer your company to greater success. Having said that, the VC presentation should not feel like it’s going out to the Venture Capitalist with an attempt to arrange fund for the business. Rather, it should tell how the company is doing a great job and it would be a perfect platform for them to put their fund in. This, therefore, means that majority of the contents of the deck should be about what the company is already doing and not merely trying to impress the investors.
Every organisation is unique in its own way and hence every pitch is unique. True as it is, there are, however, some distinctive do’s and don’ts which should be considered before any pitch.
Start things off with your company’s tagline. Ideally, it should be able to talk about your company in one quick sentence.
- Do include “Confidential and Proprietary”, Copyright © by (Name of Company), All rights reserved etc. at the bottom deck of your VC presentation cover slide.
- Send a copy of the deck, preferably in an uneditable format (eg. pdf), before the meeting with VCs.
- The most powerful way to explain your company’s value is to do so with a story. Think of an engaging story about your business and put it on the deck in the most informative way.
- Be consistent in your font size, colours and header title slides throughout the VC presentation.
- Highlight key numbers that validate your business idea.
- Try to showcase the market potential. Venture capitalists should get an impression that the market is sizeable and you are not catering to a small base of customers.
- Seeing is believing! Incorporate good images and graphics to tell a compelling story.
- Keep your pitch deck concise. Try to incorporate everything in 15-20 slides. Any relevant additional data can be pushed further back to the appendix.
Don’t make promises that you cannot keep or assumptions that you cannot validate. Ensure your assumptions are backed by substantial data.
- You will sound awfully ignorant of your business if you say you don’t have competition. Instead, talk about the customer’s pain point and how you are addressing those problem areas with your offerings ahead of your competition.
- Avoid abbreviations or complex jargons/lingos. The use of industry jargons may look like you are trying too hard.
- Don’t depend on one particular investor for your success.
- Most entrepreneurs know what they have to say but they don’t actually look at investors when they say it. Make eye contact with investors to project confidence, credibility, and passion.
- And lastly, don’t expect your venture capitalists to invest like they are “Angels.” In other words, like any other human, they come with their share of cynicism.
Now that you have made a confident pitch, you also need to make a clean exit. Be confident while doing so, keeping your voice and body language as natural as possible. There will be certain questions thrown at you after your pitch. The final conversations should always revolve around company’s core values – something that any VC worth his salt would care about the most. Lastly, have a stronger call to action.
A VC presentation is essentially a fundraising tool that provides the investors with an overview of your business. Creating an impressive VC presentation is a tough task and creating your first one could look like a daunting peak to climb. Look at some of the successful VC presentations we have made for our clients.
I want to bring to you my top 5 favourite pitch decks which will give you some important cues on how to make your own presentation. Hopefully, through these decks, you will get some insight into what an investor wants and what really makes him/her invest in an entrepreneur’s idea.
This mighty pitch deck by Buffer raked half a billion for their startup. In fact, this is one of the first startup pitch decks to be posted online for everyone to see and learn from it. Link here.
Airbnb is the success story that everyone aspires to emulate. This deck is featured on my list because it shows you how to make a crisp deck within 10 slides and make it worth all the money that it brings in. The detailed breakup of the slides in this link.
I have chosen this deck as it is not the first pitch deck of theirs. Moz’s got their first funding in 2007. After 2 failed attempts at getting funds in 2009 and 2011, they got their second funding in 2012. This deck is packed with company’s information as it was formed 5 years prior to the pitch. Link to the deck.
Why Facebook? For one, because it is not a typical investor pitch deck – instead it is a media kit. In 2004, Facebook was not a global brand as it is today. This media kit was made when Facebook was just 2 months old and through this media kit Mark Zuckerberg first set out to turn his dorm room business into a lasting project. Link to the media kit.
This pitch deck was presented for series B funding way back in 2004. I have included this because it is quite a long ppt, around 37 slides. I know that investors don’t have the patience to sit through such a long presentation. But what worked for me was the fact that the pitch deck was low on text and high on statistics and graphs. Here is the link to a detailed analysis of the deck by Reid Hoffman.
Guy Kawasaki famously said, “Simple and to the point is the best way to get your point across.” His 10/20/30 rule that was and is very relevant when it comes to a pitch. 10 slides on basic aspects like opportunity, value, business model, market strategy, team, projection, and metrics spread roughly over a 20 minute period through a recognizable 30 font presentation, stands out as the gold standard of pitch presentation.