Last Updated: 21 Apr 2015
Writing a Pitch Deck
This outlines how to write a pitch deck when pitching for angel or VC. In my (limited) experience, the pitch deck should be short – maybe ten slides at most. You might want to bring supporting material – financial projections, your demo and the like – but you want to talk with investors, not read your pitch deck like a book.
Ten Sample Slides:
1. Cover Slide / Elevator Pitch
The cover slide should have your logo, your tagline, and possibly a quote. This is what should introduce investors to your pitch and your company.
2. The Problem
The problem slide should succinctly demonstrate what sort of pain your customers have. Why do they need this? What issue does it solve that they have? Ideally, it will be an issue that your investors have faced or understand as well. Business Insider makes this point when they talk about the seed round pitch deck for ZenPayroll: many of the investors had felt the pain of doing payroll when starting companies, and so were attracted to somebody trying to solve it.
3. Your Solution
The solution should describe how you solve your customer's pain point. What do you uniquely do for your customers, and how do you do it? Remember that you want to highlight only the high level stuff here; people should have an 'ah hah' moment and say 'I get it!'. You don't need to delve into the technical details here.
If you have a demo, this might be the time to show the product. You don't want to let the presentation go on too long before breaking out the demo; this is where the rubber meets the road.
4. Business Model
Talk about how you're going to make money. Investors will probably want to dive in here, but you shouldn't cram it all into one (or a few) slides. Instead, I'd recommend you bring backup data to support your assertions – e.g. your financial model.
Can you talk about any revenue milestones you've achieved? E.g. XXX customers signed up?
6. Market Size
You need to tell investors how big your market is. Keep in mind that investors want you to demonstrate that you should be able to capture nearly all of a large market, or at least nearly all of a medium sized market. You don't want to say “Everyone in the world can use this, and if only 1% of them did….”
You should use outside data or sources to validate your market data. E.g. Much better to say 'According to the WSJ, the laundromat market is $5B/year'
Who's the competition? The ideal situation here is to have some competition, but not a ton. Too much, and you won't be able to break in. Too little, and investors will rightly question whether you've found a market – after all, are you literally the only person on the planet to think of doing X? Maybe others have thought of it, tested it, and realized there isn't a great business.
8. Proprietary Tech / Barriers to Entry
Is there anything which you have which is particularly unique? Something patentable is ideal… especially if you've already applied for a patent. Your potential investors will want to see that somebody else can't just come along and rip you off.
9. Marketing Plan / Distribution
How are you planning to get customers? You'll need to talk about your distribution channels and what would be involved in scaling the business. You may want to put early CPA ( cost-per-acquisition ) numbers on your deck, or you may want to hold that for later.
Who are the key team members, and what do they each do?
How much are you looking to raise? What is it going to be used for?