Investors review a huge number of pitch decks on a daily basis so the amount of time they can give them is very limited, which is why you really need to make every moment count.
To help we’ve asked our network to share some tips on how to make your pitch deck stand out from the crowd.
DAN WALKER, FOUNDER FPE CAPITAL
- Value proposition. Be crystal clear about why you exist and why your customers care that you exist. This should be the thing that ‘flicks the switch’ for your potential investor, giving them an understanding of why the market your business operates in is attractive and what you are doing to deliver value to it. Don’t leave it too long before you deliver this message!
- Business model. You’ve told your audience why you matter in the value proposition (above), but for financial investors at least, you need to make sure they understand how you monetise that value proposition. The simpler the better.
AARISH SHAH, FOUNDER EMERGEONE
- Less is most definitely more. I see lots of pitch decks that are put together by founders that feel they need to try to fill every spare inch of their deck with info, everything from internal thoughts on the million and one directions the venture could go to millions of random links to articles that they think support their case. Instead, founders should focus on creating a deck that is uncluttered and communicates only the critical information an investor might want to know – ultimately a deck should be a tool to get your foot in the door to have a conversation, not try and replace the conversation altogether!
- Tell a story. Lots of decks try to wow by including graph after graph or number after number, but the reality is that investors (especially at earlier stages but even beyond) are driven by the narrative. Now, when I say tell a story, I don’t mean make things up – far from it – rather allow investors to understand the journey that you as a founder, or the business has been on, the problem, why it’s important, how the product will solve it and what outcomes that leads to. You want to be able to grab an investors attention and get them emotionally invested in what you’re doing just as much as you want their financial investment.
JANE HOUGHTON, PRIVATE EQUITY COACH
- One slide, One Headline, One message. Each slide should consist of one headline and one message only. You will lose your audience and your message if you attempt to add in any more. Keep each slide simple and visually attractive.
- Standout from the crowd. VC’s and investors receive 1,000’s of decks per year. How, therefore, are you going to make yours stand out from the crowd? Get creative, don’t do what everyone else is doing and make it resonate with the person who is receiving.
SUNIL PUROHIT, FOUNDER VENTURE THRIVE
- KISS – Keep It Short and Simple. I have seen bloated slide decks that have mushroomed in size as they go through numerous iterations and reviews. No doubt all the content is useful but its easy to overload with information and lose sight of the big picture. Don’t subject the audience to “death by powerpoint”. Be selective in the content you include and use appendices to back up the claims you’re making in the main deck.
- Know your content. Remember the pitch deck is the aide and a prop to the (hopefully compelling) investment case you’re presenting. So it’s vital that you know the content of the deck inside out and can focus on the message you want to convey rather than merely going through the deck in a robotic fashion. Investors are backing the founder and the team not just the idea.
ANINDITA DOIG, CONSULTANT GENERAL COUNSEL & ANGEL INVESTOR
- Why your product / service? Many decks fail to answer this basic question: why should anyone buy your product? Why is it needed? What differentiates it from competitors? What problem is it solving?
- What are you going to do with the money? It sounds obvious but many decks don’t actually answer this question. Are you specifically covering off why you have asked for this sum of money? What is the short term / medium term milestone / development objective? What does that mean for the growth of the business etc?
Some further food for thought:
- Make sure you reference all quotes / data etc
- Double, triple check everything – accuracy is vital (this includes basics from spelling to page numbers etc.)
- Don’t forget to think about the visual aspect: not too long / short; not too crowded a page etc.
See our blog for more tips on preparing your pitch deck. We also offer a Pitch Prep service where we’ll review your pitch deck and give practical guidance and feedback. We know what investors are looking for because we’ve been on both sides of the table. Send us an email if you want to find out more.