Investment deck, what to consider


Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time helping startups develop their investment decks used for pitches and communicating with potential investors thereafter.

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 close a round of investment (3-12 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.

Look to join a business accelerator who could teach you the process, or speak to an advisor (like me!) who can help reduce the amount of time is needed to get to an investable state.

As a startup, your investment proposition is vitally important, 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.

Deck components

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 10-20 slides, depending on what you're communicating.

Generally speaking, a deck should include the following sections (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Cover page - include your company name and Unique Value Proposition

  2. Team - what is your USP as a team

  3. Problem - what is the issue to be fixed

  4. Solution - how you solve the problem (no tech jargon!)

  5. Market - what is the opportunity for your business

  6. Business model - how you make money, your go to market strategy

  7. Competitors - who are they and what impact will / could they have on you

  8. USP - why you? What is special about your business, model, etc.

  9. Financials - look 3 years out of seed investment, 5 years out for a VC round

  10. Achievements - what have you built, sold, accolades gained thus far

  11. Investment opportunity - how much are you raising? What is the valuation? What are the comparable exits? What is the ROI for the investor? (their reason for investing!)

  12. Summary - key points, contact info (inc. your email address, not generic one)

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!

Happy business growing :-)

Cheers,

Duncan.

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