by Adam Noar
The doors are closed, everyone’s sitting around the conference room table, notepads out, coffee in hand.
This is a moment you’ve been preparing for months now. The chance to raise capital for your business and start down the road to success …
But first you have to pitch the investors.
How do you get potential investors excited about your business idea and engage them in a conversation about funding?
If you’re raising money for your business, having an impressive investor pitch deck is perhaps the key component in your fundraising toolkit.
You wouldn’t play baseball without a bat, or paint a picture without a canvas, would you?
Having a winning investor presentation deck on hand is no different.
If there was ever a time to develop a beautiful presentation it would be for your investor pitch deck. If your pitch deck design sucks, what sort of message does that send about your idea?
People won’t trust you can deliver the goods.
To make sure that investors ask for more, not just show you to the door, you need a kickass startup pitch deck that makes the case for your business. Today we’re going to talk about 13 “must have” slides that are essential to any winning investor pitch.
Let’s get started!
Pitch Deck Slide #1 – Vision and Value Proposition – Your elevator pitch in a slide
Thanks to Twitter and memes, pretty much everyone these days is familiar with the art of writing out complex ideas in a short amount of words. Of course, not everyone is very good at this, but you’ve already made it this far!
A quick one sentence overview of your business that proposes the value that you provide to your customers is an essential start to any winning investor deck presentation.
Think about this slide like you approach scrawling out a 140 character tweet, and try to sum it up in a way that your parents (or anyone else who isn’t a technophile) would understand.
One common approach that tech companies make with the value proposition is by comparing their enterprise to another well-known company. For example, you see many pitches that start with things like:
“We’re the Uber for Coffee”
“We’re like Yelp but for Movies”
Drawing these comparisons can help, but just make sure that your comparison makes sense and you’re not just name dropping a big name company like “Uber” to signify growth potential. Your business model has to truly be similar to the company you drawing a comparison to.
The other issue to keep in mind when you make this sort of value proposition is that while a major brand can simplify things, people will automatically envision your app/company/idea working in exactly the same way. So it’s important to distinguish as you go through with your presentation how you follow Netflix or Uber’s model but also explain how things might be different.
Pitch Deck Slide #2 – Introduction – Tell people who you are and why you are here
Besides your name and what you’re doing in front of a group of investors, there’s not really much that needs to be said as far as introductions are concerned. If you’re proposing a new app to make travel bookings easier and you once spent a year backpacking around the world, that might be a relevant bit of information to include in your bio.
If it isn’t relevant, cut it out!
A great pitch deck doesn’t have more; it has less. Nowhere is that more true than your intro slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #3 – Target Market Opportunity – Here is the addressable market and the prospects who will buy your product
Once you’ve introduced yourself to your potential investors, it’s time to explain the most important part of your company and the reason why it exists in the first place: your customers!
Use this slide to expand on who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. Do they live in urban areas on the coasts? How many of them hold college degrees? What is the total market size and how do you position your company within the market? If you can find the data, investors will want to know how much people or businesses currently spend in the market to get a sense of the total market size.
This is where you tell the story about the scope and scale of the problem you are solving.
If it makes sense for your business, you’ll want to divide your market into segments that you will address with different types of marketing and perhaps different types of product offerings.
Be careful with this slide, though. It’s tempting to try and define your market to be as large as possible. Instead, investors will want to see that you have a very specific and reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.
When you’re looking for a brilliant investor pitch presentation, make sure that it includes easy-to-edit graphics which your audience can look at and instantly understand the data being shown.
Influencer Presentation Template gives your audience a few nifty graphics to include when you talk about your market share and how you’re targeting your customer base.
Pitch Deck Slide #4 – Problems and Solutions – Define the problems people have, and solutions you offer to relieve this pain
If there was no such thing as rain, there would be no need for umbrellas. No problem, no solution waiting to solve it.
If you aren’t solving some problem in the world, you are going to have a long uphill climb with your business. But you’ve no doubt identified a real problem on the market, and it just so happens that you’ve found a solution.
Use this slide to talk about the problem you are solving and who has the problem. This section of your investor pitch deck should tell your audience how it’s raining, and you’ve got one hell of an umbrella to keep them dry. You can talk about the current solutions in the market, but don’t spend too much time on the competitive landscape on this slide—you’ll have a chance to do that on a later slide.
Doing some market research (focus groups, 1v1 interviews, online surveys, etc.) is a great way to learn about the problems your target customers face. The more you can show you understand your customers issues the better.
When talking about your problem focus on a story that people can relate to.
The more you can make investors feel a personal connection to your problem (or somebody else’s problem), the more they will get your business and what you are trying to accomplish. A good slide for this section should explain the problem and solution in 3-5 different steps, and it might be a good idea to include icons adjacent to each talking point when you’re putting it together.
You may also want to include some customer testimonials talking about their initial frustrations and the happiness your product or service has brought to them.
Pitch Deck Slide #5 – Product – Briefly describe your product and benefits it provides to potential customers
Once you have outlined the problem and solution to your potential investors, it’s time to explain to them how your product will change everything.
Ideally, this slide should have a combination of relatable stock image, a mockup (especially if you’re selling an app), and a few major talking points that sum up how your product addresses the problem discussed in the previous slide.
You’ll be tempted to move this slide closer to the beginning of your pitch deck – don’t do that! This is classic story telling at its best; dramatically build up the problem and describe how bad it is for lots of people:
Then, Volia: Now your product or service is coming to the rescue!
Most startups pay a lot of attention on their product when instead they need to be focused on their customers and the problems those customers face. By keeping your investor pitch deck focused on your customers you will tell a more impactful story.
Pitch Deck Slide #6- Business/Revenue Model – How your business strategy is going to make your investors lots of money
Once you have provided lots of exciting info on your amazing product or service, you need to go into some detail on how this is going to bring in the cash!
After all, investors do like being paid back!
For example, will your customers pay a one-time payment to use your service or are there various monthly pricing models available?
It’s important to go into some details here.
The best way to lay all of these ideas out in one slide is to include some sort of sequential layout with icons and text, so that it’s easy for investors to see how you go from A to B and make money along the way.
Pitch Deck Slide #7 – Status and Milestones – Where you are in terms of product delivery, and specify the next key milestones
If you already have sales or early adopters using your product, talk about those accomplishments on this slide
Investors want know that your business model is sound and has already worked at some stage.
I’m sure you have seen this on any Shark Tank episode when the sharks light up with excitement that the product being introduced has already brought in a significant volume of sales.
Any proof you have that validates your solution is extremely powerful.
For example, if you’ve already had five thousand users download your beta version and thirty percent of them said they would sign up for an enterprise edition down the road, this would be a great time to bring that up!
You can also use this time to talk about your accomplishments:
What big milestones have you achieved so far and what are the major next steps you plan on taking?
A product or company roadmap that outlines key milestones is helpful here.
A great design pitch deck should have at least one of these slides, if not two – and they don’t need to be fancy. Notice how in the layout above, you can have an image with a couple bullet points to outline your status and milestones.
Pitch Deck Slide #8 – Marketing and Sales Strategy – How you reach your customers and get them to sign up
Marketing is one of the most important points in your investor pitch deck. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t sell it then you will fail – and no VC is going to give you a penny.
That’s why you should have a slide that explains how you reach your customers and get them to sign up. A slick infographic like the one you see above is a cool way to do explain the sometimes-complex levels of a sales and marketing funnel in one slide. Each step should have a corresponding icon with a short blurb of text that describes the marketing process for your company.
Targeting and winning over customers can sometimes be the biggest challenge for a new company.
That’s why it’s important to demonstrate that you know how to reach your customers and what sales channels you plan on using.
If your marketing and sales process is different than your competitors, it’s important to highlight that here.
Pitch Deck Slide #9 – Team – Make investors believe in the people behind your company
Why are you and your team the right people to build and grow this company? What experience do you have that others don’t? Highlight the key team members, their successes at other companies, and the key expertise that they bring to the table.
Even if you don’t have a complete team yet, identify the key positions that you still need to fill and why those positions are critical to company growth. For example, if you plan on expanding into direct sales but don’t have a head of B2B sales, let investors know. Even if you don’t have a hire yet, it shows that you have a plan and the ambition to reach your lofty goals.
The best investor pitch deck always has a slide that explains why your management team – from your CTO to your Creative Director – is strong and more than capable of paying back the investment. You should include headshots of the key members of your team and a sentence or two (max) describing their roles and importance to your company.
Pitch Deck Slide #10 – Financials – Explain your company’s financial health
OK, don’t actually show your financials off here. In-depth spreadsheets are difficult to read and absolutely the worst idea to include in an investor pitch presentation. Limit yourself to charts that show sales, total customers, total expenses, and profits.
You should be prepared to discuss the underlying assumptions that you’ve made to arrive at your sales goals and what your key expense drivers are.
Remember to try and be realistic. Investors see “hockey stick” projections all the time and will mentally be cutting your projections in half. If you can explain your growth based on traction you already have or compared to similar company in a related industry, that is extremely useful.
The slide you use to explain your financial situation should ideally be an infographic and give a bird’s eye view of your financials. Save the actual docs for a more secure environment and keep them in a virtual data room if investors would like to see the nitty-gritty bottom line.
Pitch Deck Slide #11 – Competition – Show who you’re competing against and explain how you’re better
Lebron has Steph Curry. Rocky had everyone from Clubber Lang to Ivan Drago. Your business has its rivals too; sometimes one, sometimes more.
Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your potential customers are using alternative solutions to solve their problems today. So you need to describe how you fit into the competitive landscape and how you’re different than the competitors and alternatives that are on the market today.
What key advantages do you have over the competition? What “secret sauce” do you have that others don’t?
The key here is explaining how you are different than the other players on the market and why customers will choose you instead of one of the other players on the market. A side-by-side comparison of you versus the Stephen Curry’s and Kevin Durant’s of your world is a good way to show investors how you stack up.
Pitch Deck Slide #12 – Investment – In this slide you should define what kind of investment you are looking for and how you are planning to deploy it to meet the specified milestones
Finally, it’s time to actually ask for dough!
That’s why you’re creating this awesome investor presentation, correct? At some point your potential investors will want to know how much money you want
That’s why you need to be able to explain why you need the amount of money you are asking for and how you plan on using the money. Investors will want to know how their money is being used and how it is going to help you achieve the goals you are setting out for your business.
If you already have some investors on board, now is when you should be talking about those other investors and why they chose to invest.
This investor pitch slide is a bit tricky, but this tree infographic is actually a really neat way to detail the various uses for investor capital you have in mind. Will you hire more developers? Rent a bigger office space? Order premium bean bag chairs for all your employees? Best to leave that last one out, but you should visualize your hopes for investment in this slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #13 – Contact – Don`t forget to leave your contact details for investors to reach you quickly
Well, this one is pretty obvious. By the time you finish your investor pitch presentation, hopefully you’ve really given them something serious to think about. Include a final slide with relevant contact information and then cross your fingers and hope for the best!
There are some pretty obvious things you should include in your investor pitch deck, so hopefully you know now what works and what doesn’t. We hope that you’ve liked the sample slides we’ve included here, so the next time you have an investor pitch you come equipped with a stellar looking deck that has all the right information and looks great too.
What pitch deck do you plan on using the next time you have a round of funding come up? We’d love to know! Don’t forget, Influencer makes a perfect investor presentation pitch deck – you can get it here on Graphic River.
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation tips? If so, email them the link to this post.
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