Investor               Pitch Decks

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PITCH DECKS

A pitch deck is a brief presentation, often created using PowerPoint, Keynote, etc., used to provide your audience with a quick overview of your business plan. You will usually use your pitch deck during face-to-face or online meetings with potential investors, customers, partners, and co-founders.

Startups frequently prepare a “pitch deck” to present their company to prospective angel or venture capital investors. The pitch deck typically consists of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation and is intended to showcase the company’s products, technology, and team to the investors.

Raising capital from investors is difficult and time consuming. Therefore, it’s crucial that a startup creates a great investor pitch deck by articulating a compelling and interesting story. A great pitch deck is engaging and has a clear presentation of your business goals, vision, plans, and financials. It will help you capture that initial interest you need to secure that next meeting. 

WHAT DO INVESTORS WANT TO SEE IN YOUR PITCH DECK?

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Investor Business Plans

So what do you think investors are looking for in those one-in-200 odds-defying pitches? Here’s a clue: they are investors. So, like any investor, they are evaluating your pitch in two areas:

  1. Return: The potential return (aka upside) on an investment in your business

  2. Risk: The risks that might prevent them from getting that return on their investment

An investor's job is to find businesses that offer the highest return on investment with the least risk. Your job is to convince them that your business offers a greater return, with less risk, than all the other businesses they are looking at.

Regarding return, remember that most investors are looking for at least a 10-20x return on their investment in a business. (And in their dreams, they are hoping you will be the next Google or Facebook or Uber and drive a 1,000x return.) So you need to convince them that you can grow your valuation at least 10-20x from its current baseline.
 

Regarding risk, understand that when investors read or listen to your pitch deck they are trying to assess your investment risk in three key areas:

  1. Market Risk: Are you addressing a large, growing market?

  2. Product Risk: Can you build a compelling product with sustainable competitive advantages?

  3. Execution Risk (aka Team Risk): Can your team acquire and retain new customers profitably, at scale, and transform your opportunity into a substantial long-term business?

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To answer this question you need to understand what investors are trying to accomplish when they read or listen to your pitch deck. But before we get into that, let's pause for a second to consider what you're up against.

Here's some recent data from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of the hottest VC firms in Silicon Valley right now. Each year, 3,000 startups approach a16z with a "warm intro" from someone the firm knows. A16z invests in 15 of those 3,000 startups. Which means they say "yes" to one in every 200 pitches, and "no" to the other 199. So the odds are against investors saying yes to your pitch. But don't despair. Approximately 4,400 startups did get funding in 2014 so it can be done.
 

Market failure is usually driven by a product in search of a market that doesn’t exist (“the dogs don’t like your dog food”) or is too small to be interesting to investors (i.e. there’s not enough potential revenue to generate the 10-20x return they want). Startups led by engineers can often fall into this trap.

Product failure is typically driven by a product that is not useful, not usable, or simply not competitive.

Execution failure is generally driven by some combination of inexperienced leadership, ineffective sales and marketing, and poor financial management.

A Pitch Deck can be presentation up to 20 slides. Most common idea is to limit the pitch deck with 15 slides. Below is an example of slide contents:

  1. Cover: Announce your big idea. The one thing you do better than anyone else. You have 10 seconds to engage your audience.

  2. Summary: Summarize the highlights of your business/investment opportunity as a teaser.

  3. Problem: The problem you solve, who you solve it for, and the reasons why your target customer/users are frustrated with current solutions.

  4. Solution: How you solve the problem and the benefits of your solution.

  5. Product: Your product and how it works in three simple steps.

  6. Business Model: How you make money.

  7. Market Opportunity: How much money you could make if you dominate your target market.

  8. Competition: Your competitors and why your product is better than theirs.

  9. Growth: How you will acquire and retain customers, profitably, at scale, and keep your product competitive.

  10. Traction: Tangible proof that your customers love your product and are happy to pay for it.

  11. Financials: Your current best guess of how much money you will make in the next 3-5 years.

  12. Team: The team that has the experience and expertise to transform your opportunity into a large, profitable business.

  13. Funding: How much money you need and what you will do with it.

  14. Summary: Summarize the highlights of your business/investment opportunity as a closer.

  15. Appendix: Not mandatory, but feel free to include a few slides with positive press mentions, happy customer quotes, a summary of your technology stack, your detailed financial model, etc.

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Pitch deck is the first communication tool used by the entrepreneurs to reach out to potential investors – either through emails or in person.

It acts as a sales pitch of a startup for the investors and make them understand the startup in the manner they are accustomed to.  

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