I have been reviewing pitch decks for investment as well as serving as VC in Residence at Friends of eBay and speaking on more panels lately. In all of these instances, these questions always arise “What should I include in my pitch deck?” “How do I get an investor’s attention?”
Some decks are too heavy on everything the entrepreneur has in their head about their market, product, audience and it does not engage the focus of the target audience: a potential investor.
After reviewing thousands of pitches across different industries and backgrounds— it really all comes down to one goal. Your initial deck needs to get you to move forward in the investment process — there should be enough of the right information for the investor to make a decision on whether or not they want to learn more about your company.
Telling a good story is always helpful but your deck should leave the viewer with the following four takeaways.
- What are you doing? Seems easy enough but tell us what you do, what does your product do, what service you are providing so that people can understand it easily.
- How is it different? First to market is rarely an advantage. It is our job to know about other emerging startups in the space and those that are further along in funding. It comes down to knowing how you are different. This can be expressed in a few ways: differentiated tech, a differentiated proof of concept established, and/or traction within the market where you are outperforming anyone in the space and showing impressive growth.
- Who are the people behind it and why does it matter? Simply that. Who are you? Who is the team? Why do your backgrounds, personal experiences, or functional expertise make you the team to deliver in the market? It should be clear from the information you present. Surface only what is relevant.
- Where are you going? This is a bit more open but tell us where your company is going: What is the bigger vision? How will this funding help you get closer to realizing that vision? What is your next big milestone or goal?
The deck materials can be presented however you wish. Once it is put together, these four questions should be answered. Only surface what is relevant to answer these questions and support these takeaways. This will help you get a clear answer quickly. Fundraising is about finding the right investors. Focus on that.