I’ve spent a lot of time recently helping startups develop their investment decks used for pitches and communicating with potential investors.
A few things have struck me, so I thought I would share them here, including my ideas on what an investment deck template should look like.
First off, do you need investment to grow? It’s time-consuming and there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed. You or a cofounder will probably need to dedicate several days per week; can you accord the time?
Try and speak to others in your field who have been successful in gaining investment. Hear it from the horse's mouth. They can also be a good source of prospective investor contacts.
Start building relationships with investors ASAP, not when you need the money. It typically takes a long time to gain investment (3-6 months+). You can also gain valuable insights into what investors want to see in an investment deck. This is especially valuable if you have an idea about the investor you want to work with already.
Join a business accelerator like The Accelerator Academy who will teach you the process, or speak to an advisor who can help reduce the amount of time is needed to get to an investable state.
As a startup, your investment proposition is going to be as important, if not more important as your website, so consider the resources you are going to need to produce a really solid visual story. E.g.do you have access to a designer to create your brand assets and deck template? There are plenty of freelance specialists available who can help you, once you have the detail.
You may have two versions of a deck:
Your pitch deck. A highly visual presentation. The amount of content will depend on the time you have to pitch, but typically this is 10-12 slides that you will present to investors
General investment deck. This will be more lengthy and used to leave with investors or that you will send to people to attract them to meet you. It will include additional information such as appendices and comments on the slides so investors will be able to understand without you being present. It may contain 10-30 slides, depending on what you're communicating
Generally speaking, a deck should include the following sections:
Cover page - include your company name and Unique Value Proposition
Team - what is your USP as a team
Problem - what is the issue to be fixed
Solution - how you will solve the problem
Market - what is the opportunity for your business
Business model - how will you make money
Competitors - who are they and what impact will / could they have on you
Financials - look 2-3 years out of seed investment
Achievements - what have you built, sold, accolades gained thus far
Investment opportunity - what are you offering? What is the ROI for the investor?
I'd also recommend searching for examples of pitch decks that have been previously successful (as opposed to a template). You'll see the variations which will help you create your own unique story. Polinzer created a great template, which is a good place to start.
Let me know if I can answer any investment pitch deck questions, or any others relating to startup life!