Raising funds for your startup can be a daunting task at whatever stage of the journey you’re on: from initial seed funding, to further investment to fuel growth, all the way up to bringing your product to market. It requires a slick, confident pitch that can persuade someone to risk a significant amount of money in exchange for rewards that are far from guaranteed. Can your deck convince them that the return on investment is worth it? As an entrepreneur, this can be one of the most challenging and stressful phases of your business journey.
To succeed in this crucial fundraising endeavour, it’s essential to have a killer investor pitch deck, whether you’re targeting angel investors or venture capitalists. As a team of presentation design experts with extensive experience in creating winning investor pitch decks for various business types, we understand the importance of a well-crafted pitch deck better than most. To help anyone looking to win investment into their new venture, we’ve created a no-nonsense guide to help craft a compelling investor pitch deck. So whether this is your first foray into the world of pitching for investment, or you simply want to streamline your deck for maximum effectiveness during your next round of funding, this is the only guide you’ll need to maximise your chances of success.
Honing your idea into a winning strategy.
It’s not enough to have a well-conceived idea. Even if you’re starting to garner some interest and early adoption, you’ll need more. In the cut-and-thrust world of entrepreneurship, the initial plan is he easy part; almost anyone can come up with that. The real challenge lies in the execution of making it a reality. And that takes cash investment.
So the next steps are all about putting together a strong business plan and engaging pitch that will win the funding you require. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast, there is a huge range of detailed areas to fully flesh out – investors will need to know you have already worked out your operational methodology, marketing approach, growth plans, and financial information before they will part with their cash.
If you haven’t defined the complete end-to-end strategy, ready to go by the time you take a pitch deck out to investors, you will go home empty-handed. Investors don’t mind taking a risk, but it needs to be founded on solid evidence. They need to know that identified you’ve identified a problem that needs solving, an opportunity to disrupt and dominate a particular market, and that you have the vision, skills, team, and plan to do so.
Ultimately, your potential investors need to know that all of the thinking had been done, and there’s a clear strategy to make your idea a reality – you just need the financial resource to begin executing that. They are not here to do you a favour, or to donate to your charity: people invest because they want a return, and your investor pitch deck needs to convince them they’ll see one.
Why less is more in your investor pitch deck.
So let’s start with the basics of creating an investor pitch that will win your funding: it’s crucial to keep it short and sweet. Just 10-15 slides, that cover only the most critical information that investors need to know, is the perfect length. Any further details that can be covered during a follow-up consultation – this is all about hooking them in with the top-line overview.
This initial pitch presentation is all about selling the opportunity, the dream, the big picture. It’s not about providing an exhaustive breakdown of every aspect of your business – that’s for later down the line for the serious punters only.
As Victor Whang advises, keep your presentation simple and avoid using complex jargon or diagrams that can confuse your audience.
When it comes to copy, less is more. And in terms of design, use simple, impactful visuals to deliver each key message on a single slide, making it easy for investors to understand at a glance.
Essential slides to include in your investor presentation.
So we talked about the perfect length of 10 – 15 slides, but what to put in them? It’s critical to keep the important stuff in, and jettison the rest, as it’s just getting in the way. When you’re creating your investor presentation, there are certain key pieces of information that potential investors will expect to see.
Every pitch is different, but the following slide structure is a great place to start when putting your pitch together:
- The Vision – Your elevator pitch – who you are, what you do, and for whom.
- The Problem – Why does your idea exist? What’s the problem, why does it matter, and why does it needs to be solved?
- The Solution – What’s your product or service, and how does it solve this problem? How is it unique, and a better alternative to the options available? Why can’t customers live without it?
- The Opportunity – This is where you highlight your value proposition. How big is the market, and how do you hope to position yourself within it? Use data here to show your working.
- The Business Model – More data here: how will you generate revenue from your product or service? Who will pay for it? How does your pricing fit into the existing landscape? Are you a premium offering or a budget option?
- Validation and What’s Next – Now’s the time to prove your business model works to reduce the risk for the potential investor. Do you have any early adopters, pending orders, or other proof points for your product or service? Explain what you’ve accomplished so far, and deliver a clear roadmap of where you want to be heading next.
- Marketing and Growth – How will you reach your customers? What does your sales strategy look like? Which channels will you use and why? What’s the competition doing, and how has this influenced your decision?
- The Team – Who are the people behind the product? What’s the leadership team’s experience and expertise? Your audience will want to know you’re a credible, safe set of hands.
- Financials – More detailed data here: show robust sales forecast for the next three years. Include profit and loss information, the number of customers, and any other metrics important to your business. Be realistic and prepare to discuss and justify any numbers you put here. This is not the time to massage the numbers.
- The Ask – What are you actually asking for? Deliver a strong call to action where you actually ask for the amount of money you need, explaining your plans for where it will be used. Don’t ask, don’t get.
Storytelling in your investor pitch deck.
So you have a strong slide structure, and your pitch is lean. But data can be boring, and a mere list of bullet points and numbers is not enough. By framing your presentation as a story, you can engage your audience on an intellectual and emotional level, which is crucial to communication.
KissMetrics co-founder Neil Patel suggests that a good story is powerful in communicating the emotion behind your startup to help engage even the most data-driven investors. To do this, use a narrative structure with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Following the template above, you can add a story by describing the current situation, exploring problems to drive interest, and then offering a clear resolution with your product or service.
Constructing your presentation as a story provides meaningful structure and helps people remember information more accurately than just throwing data at them.
Continual iteration and improvement.
But once you’ve crafted the perfect pitch, you can’t stop there. The smart move is to keep on going to refine and strengthen it, updating the presentation regularly to reflect any new developments, such as financial growth or client wins, and incorporating feedback from investors.
By continually improving your pitch deck, you can ensure that it stays relevant and impactful, and increases your chances of securing funding. And – forgive our slight sales nudge – if you want to ensure your presentation is top-notch, consider hiring professional presentation designers to help bring your message to life.
Harnessing the power of an effective investor pitch deck: key takeaways.
Creating a winning investment pitch deck requires careful planning, research, and execution. By understanding your audience, identifying your unique selling proposition, and crafting a compelling story, you can capture the attention of investors and secure the funding you need to bring your business to the next level.
Remember to keep your presentation simple, concise, and visually appealing, using high-quality images, graphics, and typography to enhance your message. And don’t forget to practice, practice, practice – rehearsing your pitch will help you build confidence and deliver a polished and professional presentation. You’ve seen how a lack of confidence can kill a pitch before it’s even started, right?
Finally, don’t hesitate to seek out the help of professional pitch deck designers to take your pitch to the next level. With their expertise and experience, they can help you craft a visually stunning and compelling presentation that will set you apart from the competition.
So go ahead and start boiling down your message and putting those slides together. With the right preparation and execution, you can create a pitch deck that will impress investors and help you secure the funding you need to make your business dreams a reality.