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Creating the Perfect Pitch Deck

...for raising funds


Without the proper tools to bolster their proposition, entrepreneurs struggle to win investment. While there’s no consensus on what a great deck looks like, we see a lot of mistakes that put investors off, yet are somehow still rife in the industry.


Here’s what we’ve learned during the process of successfully funding hundreds of campaigns, plus some useful research, to build the perfect pitch deck.

 

1. Don't limit yourself to one

 

There’s no one size fits all for investors, who, depending on their interest in and knowledge of your offering, need different levels of briefing. This is why you’ll need at least three different decks before you begin to engage investors:

 

●     The Exec Summary – a concise taster document that summarises your proposal and allows investors to gauge whether they want to spend some time delving into your proposal.

 

●     The Presentation Deck – An image-only version of your deck designed to accompany a presentation given in-person or via a video link.

 

●    The Investor Deck – A more comprehensive deck that you’ll leave with already interested investors to mull over.

 

2. Keep your deck in the optimal order

 

Just like preparing slides for a presentation, it’s important to get the order right. Check out the DocSend / Harvard Business School study of 200 startups that completed their Seed or Series A rounds. They discovered the most effective order of slides in the process:

 

1.         The Purpose – What you do and why investors should care.


2.         The Problem – The issue you’re solving and the market opportunity you’re meeting.


3.         The Solution – Why your idea is best placed to solve this problem.


4.         Why Now? – Why is your idea urgent? Is there a new market emerging? Has it been made possible by new tech? Is it an evolution or a revolution?


5.         Market – Your market size, trends and possible penetration.


6.         Competition – Research your competitors well, because if your investor finds a competitor you haven’t named, they’ll be quick to pass on the opportunity…


7.         Product – A proper, evidenced analysis of your product and sales.


8.         Business Model – How you’re making money, how you’ll bring in future revenue, and how you market your product/services.


9.         Team – A summary of your team’s expertise and why they are a huge asset to your business. Include advisors or non-exec directors to fill any skills shortages.


10.  Financials – A brief summary of your financials and when the investor should expect to make a return.


However, if you think particular aspects of your business need to be up front, or if extra slides need to be included, don’t be afraid to change this order to suit your pitch.

 

3. Learn the art of storytelling

 

While rational advice is important, the ultimate decision of an investor is based on emotion. People respond to stories and narratives that bring out empathy as the investor tries to relate to your experience.


Stories have highs and lows as well as lighthearted anecdotes that bring the human element home. This is the best way to help an investor develop an opinion about you and your proposition.

 

4 Make it about them, not about you

 

Communicating an idea from your perspective rather than the investor’s is a big mistake. Copywriters spend years honing their skills and still often miss the mark, so it’s a far from simple process. However, there are some guidelines that will help:

 

●    Picture your ideal investor and write your documents around them. Try speaking to them directly, writing in the first person.

 

●    Read your finished work out loud. Do you sound like a robot? If so, the reader will be left unengaged. If it sounds more like a conversation, you’ll be far more likely to draw the reader in.

 

●    While reviewing each paragraph, ask why an investor should care about what you’re telling them. If you don’t have an answer, delete it.

 

●    Use fewer words to make your point and trim the fat without losing the impact. Concise copy is easier to digest and makes it far more likely that the reader will actually make it to the end.

  

5. Personalise your deck

 

Research each investor you’re meeting via their website, LinkedIn page, or similar, and personalise your deck accordingly. If they invest on gut feeling, open with your story and team. If they appear more analytical, emphasise the numbers, stats and evidence. Lastly, the simple act of sticking their name on the front cover can be surprisingly impactful.

 

If you follow these steps, your chances of winning over an investor will improve massively!

How to build the perfect pitch deck for raising funds

Date:

 

Without the proper tools to bolster their proposition, entrepreneurs struggle to win investment. While there’s no consensus on what a great deck looks like, we see a lot of mistakes that put investors off, yet are somehow still rife in the industry.


Here’s what we’ve learned during the process of successfully funding hundreds of campaigns, plus some useful research, to build the perfect pitch deck.

 

1. Don't limit yourself to one

 

There’s no one size fits all for investors, who, depending on their interest in and knowledge of your offering, need different levels of briefing. This is why you’ll need at least three different decks before you begin to engage investors:

 

●     The Exec Summary – a concise taster document that summarises your proposal and allows investors to gauge whether they want to spend some time delving into your proposal.

 

●     The Presentation Deck – An image-only version of your deck designed to accompany a presentation given in-person or via a video link.

 

●    The Investor Deck – A more comprehensive deck that you’ll leave with already interested investors to mull over.

 

2. Keep your deck in the optimal order

 

Just like preparing slides for a presentation, it’s important to get the order right. Check out the DocSend / Harvard Business School study of 200 startups that completed their Seed or Series A rounds. They discovered the most effective order of slides in the process:

 

1.         The Purpose – What you do and why investors should care.


2.         The Problem – The issue you’re solving and the market opportunity you’re meeting.


3.         The Solution – Why your idea is best placed to solve this problem.


4.         Why Now? – Why is your idea urgent? Is there a new market emerging? Has it been made possible by new tech? Is it an evolution or a revolution?


5.         Market – Your market size, trends and possible penetration.


6.         Competition – Research your competitors well, because if your investor finds a competitor you haven’t named, they’ll be quick to pass on the opportunity…


7.         Product – A proper, evidenced analysis of your product and sales.


8.         Business Model – How you’re making money, how you’ll bring in future revenue, and how you market your product/services.


9.         Team – A summary of your team’s expertise and why they are a huge asset to your business. Include advisors or non-exec directors to fill any skills shortages.


10.  Financials – A brief summary of your financials and when the investor should expect to make a return.


However, if you think particular aspects of your business need to be up front, or if extra slides need to be included, don’t be afraid to change this order to suit your pitch.

 

3. Learn the art of storytelling

 

While rational advice is important, the ultimate decision of an investor is based on emotion. People respond to stories and narratives that bring out empathy as the investor tries to relate to your experience.


Stories have highs and lows as well as lighthearted anecdotes that bring the human element home. This is the best way to help an investor develop an opinion about you and your proposition.

 

4 Make it about them, not about you

 

Communicating an idea from your perspective rather than the investor’s is a big mistake. Copywriters spend years honing their skills and still often miss the mark, so it’s a far from simple process. However, there are some guidelines that will help:

 

●    Picture your ideal investor and write your documents around them. Try speaking to them directly, writing in the first person.

 

●    Read your finished work out loud. Do you sound like a robot? If so, the reader will be left unengaged. If it sounds more like a conversation, you’ll be far more likely to draw the reader in.

 

●    While reviewing each paragraph, ask why an investor should care about what you’re telling them. If you don’t have an answer, delete it.

 

●    Use fewer words to make your point and trim the fat without losing the impact. Concise copy is easier to digest and makes it far more likely that the reader will actually make it to the end.

  

5. Personalise your deck

 

Research each investor you’re meeting via their website, LinkedIn page, or similar, and personalise your deck accordingly. If they invest on gut feeling, open with your story and team. If they appear more analytical, emphasise the numbers, stats and evidence. Lastly, the simple act of sticking their name on the front cover can be surprisingly impactful.

 

If you follow these steps, your chances of winning over an investor will improve massively!




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