How to create a successful investor pitch deck.


By Joe Cardillo

November 17th, 2020


How to create a successful investor pitch deck.


By Joe Cardillo

November 17th, 2020

If you’re thinking about seeking investors for your business, you’ll need a pitch deck. We’re sharing insider information from the experts on how to create one.

If you’re thinking about seeking investors for your business, you’ll need a pitch deck. We’re sharing insider information from the experts on how to create one.

Have you run across a story about how the perfect investor pitch deck led to thousands or even millions of dollars in investment?

It’s the kind of success we see on social media or hear about on local news but, let’s be honest, the idea of asking an investor to give you money to grow your business can be scary.

While each investment opportunity is unique, they all share a similar foundation: it’s about starting a conversation, with one of the key elements being your pitch deck.

We talked to experienced entrepreneurs and investors to get their insights and tips on how to pitch, and how to create a successful pitch deck.

What is an investor pitch deck?

An investor pitch deck is a short presentation (~15-20 slides) that introduces potential angel or venture capital investors to your company, gets them excited about your idea, and opens the door to a conversation about investment.

What does a good pitch deck do?

While it’s true that anyone can create a set of PowerPoint slides, a successful pitch deck will do the following:

  1. Easily communicate what your company does and why it has value to a customer
  2. Show that you know your market and customer
  3. Prove traction by showing there is market demand for your product/service and that people want more and more of what you have to offer

Are there any tips for creating a successful pitch deck?

Yes! We posed that question to Camille Nisich, a Ureeka coach, mentor, and operations, finance, and marketing expert who worked at Dell Technologies for 18 years before starting her own firm to advise founders of fast-growing tech companies.

Practice more than you think you need to

Nisich says the most common piece of advice she gives business owners is to practice early and often.

“Practice 5 times more than you think you need to. You’re effectively selling three products on two levels.

You have to sell investors on your product, the opportunity and your team, plus you have to sell them emotionally and logically. That kind of complexity requires a LOT of practice.”

As you practice, you’ll get better and better at shortening your pitch deck and presentation. Pro tip: view 8 essential slides of a business pitch deck for examples and inspiration.

Write out your messages for each slide in a document first

Another tip is to start your pitch deck by writing out key messages in order, before you turn them into slides with visuals.

For example, Nisich recommends sharing your current success in a way that catches the attention of investors…

Relate your product to something they know and then tell them how your product fills a gap in a way they’ve never heard before.

Once you do that, back it up with reasonable projections that show them how you can deliver a 10X return on their money given your current traction. If you look at your deck and you don’t have one of these pieces, go through another review.

Adding data, stories, and messages to a Word document or Google document can also help you “think out loud” before you spend hours adjusting images and fonts in a presentation software like PowerPoint, Keynote, or Canva.

Keep it simple and visual

Daniel Block, an impact investor who also volunteers as a Ureeka mentor, says there’s an easy way to find out if your slides are too complicated…

“If you can’t explain your slides in 10 seconds each, it’s too complicated. Show your pitch deck to your mom, your roommate, your [significant other].  If they can’t figure out what the page is trying to say at first glance, the slide needs a rework.”

A good rule of thumb is to try to use a title for each slide AND two short sentences OR 3 bullets OR a visual that has text in it. Any more text than that and it’s too easy to lose the audience.

Edit your pitch deck down to ~15 slides and put everything else in an appendix

Block, who serves as Investment Principal at Mercy Corps Ventures, an early stage impact VC focused on fintech, crypto, agtech, and logistics startups in emerging markets, also notes that while a good pitch deck builds investor confidence in a startup, it’s almost impossible to anticipate the question an investor might ask in 15-20 slides.

“Make a list of the FAQs you anticipate and develop an equally simple answer that you can confidently deliver to each question.

A former roommate and serial entrepreneur told me that each time he receives a question from an investor that he hadn’t received previously, he adds a new slide to his deck (or appendix) to be able to tackle it head on next time it comes up.”

This strategy helps to build trust and lets your audience know you are listening and thinking about what information will be helpful to them e.g. “thank you for the question,  let’s take a look at slide 27 in the appendix which has more information.”

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