Would-Be Entrepreneur

High-Growth Startup

Venture Financing

Entrepreneur Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book  >>  6+6 Drivers

Disruptive Innopreneur  >>  8 +8 Habits

How To Discover Opportunities

11 Keys To a Good First Venture    Reality Check

Be a Negative Optimist    SWOT Analysis

Venture Planning  >>  Checklist  >>  Venture Evaluation

10 Keys to Success  >>  Innovation Football

Startup Business Plan

Capital Formation Process    Business Model

Venturepreneur  >>  Venture Leader

Venturepreneurial Team

Brand Attributes 

  Venture Financing Funnel Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Venture Presentation   >>  8 Issues in 8 Minutes

Key Documents To Be Prepared

VC Basics    How Investors Read a Business Plan

Venture Marketer    Investment Evaluation Criteria

Investment Opportunity Selection by Investors

 

 

Innompic Model for nurturing High-growth Startups

    

 

     

 How to present your company to prospective angel or venture capital investors

nail your investor pitch deck 

Showcase your company’s products, services, technology, and team to the investors.

 

What

 

Contents

 

Company Overview
Your company overview page should grab the reader and convince them that your company has the opportunity to grow big.

ummarize in 4-6 bullet points your business, what problem it solves, where you are located, the experience of the management team, and any key traction already established.

 

Mission/Vision of the Company
The Team
The Problem
The Solution
The Market Opportunity
The Product
The Customers
The Technology

Don't try to explain how the technology works, just talk about what the technology is used for and its competitive advantage.

Keep in mind that venture capitalists are interested in the investment promise of your business -- not the technology.


The Competition
Traction
Business Model
The Marketing Plan
Financials
The Ask

 

Market

convince the target audience of why the market opportunity is huge, but don’t exaggerate

Competition

Describe both direct and indirect competition realistically (Don't underestimate or belittle the competition

Progress Made

Do show that you have more than just an idea, and that you have gotten early traction on developing the product, getting customers, or signing up partners

Financials

Don’t provide excessive financial details, as that can be provided in a follow-up.

 

 How

 

 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 absolutely nails its investor pitch deck and articulates a compelling and interesting story.

In this article, I provide important advice for creating a strong, thorough, and engaging investor pitch deck, along with guidance on presenting to angel and venture capital investors. I also provide links to sample pitch decks you can check out for reference as you begin the process of building your own.

Important Do’s and Don’ts for Investor Pitch Decks
Too many startups make a number of avoidable mistakes when creating their investor pitch decks. Here is a list of preliminary do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Pitch Deck Do’s
Do include this wording at the bottom left of the pitch deck cover page: “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.”
Do convince the viewer of why the market opportunity is large.
Do include visually interesting graphics and images.
Do send the pitch deck in a PDF format to prospective investors in advance of a meeting. Don’t force the investor to get it from Google Docs, Dropbox, or some other online service, as you are just putting up a barrier to the investor actually reading it.
Do plan to have a demo of your product as part of the in-person presentation.
Do tell a compelling, memorable, and interesting story that shows your passion for the business.
Do show that you have more than just an idea, and that you have gotten early traction on developing the product, getting customers, or signing up partners.
Do have a soundbite for investors to remember you by.
Do use a consistent font size, color, and header title style throughout the slides.
Pitch Deck Don’ts
Don’t make the pitch deck more than 15-20 slides long (investors have limited attention spans). If you feel you need to add more information, include it as an appendix.
Don’t have too many wordy slides.
Don’t provide excessive financial details, as that can be provided in a follow-up.
Don’t try to cover everything in the pitch deck. Your in-person presentation will give you an opportunity to add and highlight key information.
Don’t use a lot of jargon or acronyms that the investor may not immediately understand.
Don’t underestimate or belittle the competition.
Don’t have your pitch deck look out of date. You don’t want a date on the cover page that is several months old (that is why I avoid putting a date on the cover page at all). And you don’t want information or metrics in the deck about your business that look stale or outdated.
Don’t have a poor layout, bad graphics, or a low-quality “look and feel.” Think about hiring a graphic designer to give your pitch deck a more professional look.
Make Sure to Review Other Pitch Deck Examples
In creating your pitch deck for investors, it’s extremely helpful to view other sample pitch decks. A great many pitch decks are available online, including:

Google’s Template Pitch Deck for Startups
LinkedIn’s Pitch Deck for Its Series B Round
Facebook’s Original Pitch Deck from Spring 2004
Airbnb’s Pitch Deck for Its Angel Round
Mint.com Pre-Launch Investor Pitch Deck
Check out this sample investor pitch deck for Recuperate.com that I created, which incorporates the advice I give in this article. This sample can be downloaded for free and used as a template for your own investor pitch.

What Are the Key Slides You Want In Your Investor Pitch Deck?
You want your investor pitch deck to cover the following topics, roughly in the order set forth here and with titles along the lines of the following:

Company Overview
Mission/Vision of the Company
The Team
The Problem
The Solution
The Market Opportunity
The Product
The Customers
The Technology
The Competition
Traction
Business Model
The Marketing Plan
Financials
The Ask
1. The “Company Overview” Slide of the Pitch Deck
I’m a big believer that the page after the cover page should be a “Company Overview” where you summarize in 4-6 bullet points your business, what problem it solves, where you are located, the experience of the management team, and any key traction already established.

For example, here is what your “Company Overview” page could say:

company overview investor pitch deck slide example © Richard D. Harroch
Example of a strong "Company Overview" slide.

Your company overview page should grab the reader and convince them that your company has the opportunity to grow big.

2. The “Mission/Vision” Slide of the Pitch Deck
In this slide, you want a crisp summary of the mission/vision of the company. Some examples of a mission include:

“Our mission is to be the enterprise solution for cybersecurity holes in a company’s data storage.”
“We are the mobile solution for millennials wanting to invest in the stock market.”
“We are the Uber-like on demand solution for house cleaners.”
The “vision” can be the goal you think you could become, such as “Our vision is to become the leading e-commerce company for individuals recuperating from injuries.”

Think of this slide as your 15-second compelling elevator pitch.

3. “The Team” Slide of the Pitch Deck
Many investors believe that a company’s team is the most important determinant of whether or not to invest. “The Team” slide will typically include:

Pictures of the key team members
Titles of the team members
Short summary of prior employment of the team showing domain experience and relevant expertise
Advisors, consultants, and Board members (sometimes included in this slide to bolster credibility)
4. “The Problem” Slide in the Pitch Deck
You need to define the problem or need your startup is solving, including:

How big is the problem?
Why is it important?
Who are you solving the problem for?
5. “The Solution” Slide in the Pitch Deck
Since the prior slide articulated the problem, “The Solution” section of your investor pitch deck should articulate your proposed solution and why it’s better than other solutions in the market. This deck should be carefully coordinated with the “Product” slide of the pitch deck, as there may be some overlap.

6. The “Product” Slide of the Pitch Deck
You must clearly articulate what your company’s product or service consists of and why it is unique, so “The Product” slide of the pitch deck should answer:

What are the key features of the product?
Why do users care about the product?
What are the major product milestones?
What are the key differentiated features of the product?
What additional product features are planned?
Images, visuals, and videos can play an important role here—don’t just have lengthy written explanations.

7. The “Market Opportunity” Slide of the Pitch Deck
Investors want to invest in big opportunities with large addressable markets. On your “Market Opportunity” slide you want to:

Define the market you are in.
Set forth the dollar market size.
Include graphs showing that your company will be addressing a large part of the addressable market.
8. The “Customers” Slide of the Pitch Deck
If the company has early customers, a “Customers” slide can be powerful and add credibility. Normally, the logos of customers that are well known are included in this slide page. Here is an example of this page, which highlights both customers and partnerships of the company:

customers and partners slide example © Richard D. Harroch
The "Customers & Partners" slide should show investors the connections you've already established.

9. “The Technology” Slide of the Pitch Deck
Investors will be particularly interested in your underlying technology (both existing and that in development). This slide of the investor pitch deck can address:

The basic technology backbone
Key intellectual property rights the company has (patents, patents pending, copyrights, trademarks, domain names)
Why the technology is or will be superior
Why it will be difficult for a competitor to replicate the technology
10. The “Competition” Slide of the Pitch Deck
The company’s competitors will always be an issue to investors. Your “Competition” slide should anticipate the following questions:

Who are the company’s competitors?
What gives your company a competitive advantage?
What are the key differentiating features from your competitors?
You really have to show an understanding of the competitive landscape and be prepared to answer questions about your competitors. If you don’t understand your competitors, then the investor may conclude that you really don’t understand the market.

11. The “Traction” Slide of the Pitch Deck
A company that has obtained early traction in some way will be viewed positively. A “Traction” slide is sometimes, but not always, included in the pitch deck (sometimes the company’s progress/traction is just sprinkled through other slides). The “Traction” slide can cover the following:

What early traction has the company gotten (sales, traffic to the company’s website, app downloads, growth metrics, etc., as relevant)?
What strategic partnerships have been consummated?
How can the early traction be accelerated?
Press and accolades
Testimonials
12. “The Business Model” Slide of the Pitch Deck
The investors will want to understand your business model. So this slide can address key issues like:

How do you make money?
What is the pricing model?
What is the long-term value of a customer?
What are the customer acquisition channels and costs?
13. The “Marketing Plan” Slide of the Pitch Deck
No matter how good your product is, you will need to have a good marketing plan to get customers or users. The “Marketing Plan” slide of the pitch deck can cover:

What key marketing channels will you use (paid search, social media, TV, radio, email marketing, etc.)?
What early successes have you had and what channels have worked?
What are your preliminary customer acquisition costs per customer (and, correspondingly, what is the projected lifetime value of a customer)?
What PR will you be employing?
What early press or buzz have you gotten?
14. The “Financials” Slide of the Pitch Deck
Investors will want to understand the company’s current financial situation and proposed future “burn” rate (monthly or yearly cash loss while the company is developing and marketing its product).

The “Financials” slide sometimes includes the following:

Three- to five-year financial projections
Unit economics
Burn rate
Key metrics that are important to the business (such as annual recurring revenue)
Total revenue and expenses
EBITDA
Key assumptions
Make sure your projections are not unrealistic; you don’t want prospective investors to immediately question your projections as absurd or just not believable. Avoid the trap of saying you will grow revenues by 10x in one year but only increase sales and marketing costs by 2x.

15. “The Ask” Slide of the Pitch Deck
Near the end, you should have a slide entitled “The Ask.” On this slide you should address:


How much money you are you seeking (a range is fine, such as “we are seeking $2-$3 million in financing”)
How long you think the financing will last (15-18 months)
What major milestones you think you will be able to reach with the financing
What your key use of proceeds from the investment will be (e.g., technology and product development, new hires, capital expenses, marketing, etc.)
Who your existing investors are (highlighting any well-known investors)
Here is a sample slide from my sample investor pitch deck:

the ask slide example © Richard D. Harroch
"The Ask" slide should spell out exactly what you are asking the investors for.

For related information, see:

28 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching to Investors
17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
10 Reasons Why Your Startup Idea Sucks and Won’t Get Funded
65 Questions Venture Capitalists Will Ask Startups
Sample Investor Pitch Deck [downloadable template]
Conclusion
A great investor pitch deck can make obtaining financing for your startup much more likely. But you need to make sure the story is compelling and interesting. You must address the topics that investors expect to see.

 

How To Meet the Criteria of Initial Screening of Venture Proposals by Prospective Investors

 

 

Innopreneur

8 +8 Habits

Venture Leader

Startup

10 Keys to Success

Pitch

 

 

Elements of a Venture Proposal

Executive Summary of the What and Why of the Project

Purpose and Objectives

Proposed Financing: You must state the amount of money you will need from the beginning to the maturity of the project proposed, how the proceeds will be used, how you plan to structure the financing, and why the amount designated is required.

 

 

Marketing: Describe the market segment you've got or plan to get, the competition, the characteristics of the market, and your plans (with costs) for getting or holding the market segment you're aiming at.

Virtuoso Marketing  Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

History of the Firm: Summarize the significant financial and organizational milestones,

Description of employees and employee relations, explanations of banking relationships, recounting of major services or products your firm has offered during its existence, and the like.

Description of the Product or Service: Include a full description of the product (process) or service offered by the firm and the costs associated with it in detail.

 

 

Financial Statements: Include statements for both the past few years and pro forma projections (balance sheets, income statements, and cash flows) for the next three to five years, showing the effect anticipated if the project is undertaken and if the financing is secured. (This should include an analysis of key variables affecting financial performance, showing what could happen if the projected level of revenue is not attained.)

7 Routes to High Profits Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Revenue Model

Capitalization: Provide a list of shareholders, how much is invested to date, and in what form (equity/debt).

Biographical Sketches: Describe the work histories and qualifications of key owners and employees.

Principal Suppliers and Customers, Problems Anticipated and Other Pertinent Information

Provide a candid discussion of any contingent liabilities, pending litigation, tax or patent difficulties, and any other contingencies that might affect the project you're proposing.

List the names, addresses and the telephone numbers of suppliers and customers; they will be contacted to verify your statement about payments (suppliers) and products (customers).

Provisions of the Investment Proposal.

 

 

The Size of Your Venture Proposal

Most venture capital firms are interested in investment projects requiring an investment of $250,000 to $1,500,000. Projects requiring under $250,000 are of limited interest because of the high cost of investigation and administration; however, some venture capital firms will consider smaller proposals if the investment is intriguing enough.

Passing the First Gate

Venture Financing Funnel  Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Venture Financing: Key Documents to be prepared

The typical venture capital firm receives over 400 proposals a year. Probably 90% of these will be rejected quickly because they don't fit the established geographical, technical or market area policies of the firm – or because they have been poorly prepared.

10 Rules for Building a High-growth Business Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Startup Business Plan

The remaining 10% are carefully investigated. These investigations are expensive. Firms may hire consultants to evaluate the product, particularly when it is the result of innovation or is technologically complex. The market size and competitive position of the company are analyzed by contacts with present and potential customers, suppliers, and others. Production costs are reviewed. The financial condition of the company is confirmed by an auditor. The legal form and registration of the business are checked. Most importantly, the character and competence of the management are evaluated by the venture capital firm, normally via a thorough background check.

Business Model Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

These preliminary investigations may cost a venture firm between $2,000 and $3,000 per company investigated. They result in perhaps ten to fifteen proposals of interest. Then, second investigations, more thorough and more expensive than the first, reduce the number of proposals under consideration to only three or four. Eventually, the firm invests in one or two of these.

Evaluating Your Track Record and Potential

Most venture capital firms' investment interest is limited to projects proposed by companies with some operating history, even though they may not yet have shown a profit. Companies that can expand into a new product line or a new market with additional funds are particularly interesting.

New Product Development: 10 Best Practices Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

The venture capital firm can provide funds to enable such companies to grow in a spurt rather than gradually as they would on retained earnings.

Blue Ocean vs. Red Ocean Strategy Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

Companies that are just starting or that have serious financial difficulties may interest some venture capitalists, if the potential for significant gain over the long run can be identified and assessed. If the venture firm has already extended its portfolio to a large risk concentration, they may be reluctant to invest in these areas because of increased risk of loss.

Although most venture capital firms will not consider a great many proposals from start-up companies, there are a small number of venture firms that will do "start-up" financing. The small firm that has a well thought-out plan and can demonstrate that its management group has an outstanding record (even if it is with other companies) has a decided edge in acquiring this kind of seed capital.

Evaluating Your Management Team

 

 

 

Most venture capital firms concentrate primarily on the competence and character of the Management. They feel that even mediocre products can be successfully manufactured, promoted, and distributed by an experienced, energetic management group.

They look for a group that is able to work together easily and productively, especially under conditions of stress from temporary reversals and competition problems. Obviously, analysis of managerial skill is difficult. A partner or senior executive of a venture capital firm normally spends at least a week at the offices of a company being considered, talking with and observing the management to estimate their competence and character.

Entrepreneur Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

6+6 Drivers for Entrepreneurship

8 Key Entrepreneurial Questions

Venture capital firms usually require that the company under consideration have a complete management group. Each of the important functional areas product design, marketing, production, finance, and control - must be under the direction of a trained, experienced member of the group. Responsibilities must be clearly assigned. And, in addition to a thorough understanding of the industry, each member of the management team must be firmly committed to the company and its future.

Evaluating Your Competitive Advantage

Next in importance to the excellence of the management group, most venture capital firms seek a distinctive element in the strategy or product/market/process position of the company. This distinctive element may be a new feature of the product or process or a particular skill or technical competence of the management. But it must exist. It must provide a Sustainable Competitive Advantage Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book.

   

 

 

 

What happens when, after the exhaustive investigation and analysis, the venture capital firms decides to invest in a company? Most venture firms prepare an equity financing proposal that details the amount of money to be provided, the percentage of common stock to be surrendered in exchange for these funds, the interim financing method to be used and the protective covenants to be included.

This proposal will be discussed with the management of the company. The final financing agreement will be negotiated and generally represents a compromise between the management of the company and the partners or senior executives of the venture capital firm. The important elements of this compromise are: ownership, control, annual charges, and final objectives.

 

 

 

 Preparing Your Venture Proposal

 

     

Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo Coaching by Example

Examples of brief venture presentations

     

e-Muromets is a breakthrough web-based business incubator that helps  physically challenged people become successful solo interpreneurs and/or freelancers.

Below are brief video presentations prepared for the Building Global Innovators (BGI) contests organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and  the University of Lisbon.

1-minute video-pitch

3-minute video-pitch