What exactly is a pitch deck? What is traction for a startup, and how do you include it in a pitch deck in a powerful way for investors? What makes a good pitch deck when it comes to getting your business funded, and how do you create one?
Interest in pitch decks has been rising. With the evolving economy and business environment, entrepreneurship just makes more sense for millions of people. Of course, starting up or growing your own company takes money. Pitch decks are the key to unlocking that funding.
So, how do they work? How do you create a winning pitch deck that works and get it out there?
Pitch Deck Definition
A pitch deck is a slide-based presentation.
It is a visual presentation with text. One which can stand alone. Or which can be presented live, in person, or online.
It walks your audience through the basics of your business and sells them on the opportunity you are presenting to them.
It is not a full business plan nor a comprehensive, in-depth breakdown of every detail of your company or product. Rather, the purpose is to grab their attention, spark interest, and compel further action.
Pitch Books Versus Pitch Decks
These are not the same thing. So, what is the difference between a pitch book and a pitch deck?
A pitch book, also known as a Confidential Information Memorandum, is a presentation more focused on the sale of a company, its assets, or shares. It is most frequently used in M&A by business brokers and investment bankers.
A pitch book can be more complex and in-depth.
In contrast, a pitch deck is primarily used for startup fundraising. That means pitching investors. It applies to all stages of a startup, from initial pre-seed funding through late-stage Series C rounds and beyond.
Pitch decks also serve as critical tools for recruiting the best talent, including advisors and cofounders.
The Role Of Pitch Decks In Funding
Your pitch deck is the core of all of your fundraising efforts. It is often the first encounter potential investors will have with your venture. As well as the heart of everything else.
Whether you are cold pitching over the internet or are presenting live in person, the pitch deck is the first way people engage with you and your company. It will either close or open the doors to the vaults and financial fuel you need.
Nothing else may matter too much if your pitch deck fails.
Everything else is spun off of your pitch deck, including updated business plans, action plans, new milestones, marketing efforts, and fundraising campaign materials.
What Makes A Great Pitch Deck?
These are three of the most important things you need to excel at for your pitch deck to be successful.
1. It’s Simple
This is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to get right. It is also perhaps the most essential.
Investors typically spend less than four minutes viewing pitch decks. To convey your full pitch in that time, it needs to be very concise. 10 to 20 slides are more than sufficient.
It means using minimal text, images, and charts to get your points across quickly. As well as, avoiding bogging your audience down in too much detail.
2. It’s Compelling
Building on the previous point, this is about drawing investors through your presentation to take action.
In just a couple of minutes, they should be excited, understand why this could be a big deal, why they are going to regret missing out, and still have time to contact you to set up a follow-up meeting.
3. It Checks The Boxes Investors Are Looking For
Your pitch deck needs to cover the main points on which investors evaluate startup funding opportunities.
This includes getting the correct format and order of slides.
What Are The Most Important Slides In A Pitch Deck?
The Cover Slide
If your cover slide isn’t right, your pitch ends there. It is going to be deleted or doomed to spam, or investors will just tune out.
Market size is one of the most critical factors for investors. It needs to be a really big market. One that is growing. This is absolutely essential for investors to be able to achieve the returns they need.
Even if you don’t have existing financials, you want to include a financial forecast. Paint a picture of the vision of where this is going.
The financials also tell investors how sustainable and realistic this is, and whether you really know your industry or not.
Poor management will waste any amount of money they are given, even if it is billions of dollars a year. Whereas a great team will not just survive the trials of entrepreneurship, but will multiply that capital invested in their companies.
How Do I Create A Pitch Deck?
There are two main options when it comes to creating a pitch deck.
The first is to hire help. This may be a temporary freelancer or two with a pitch deck and fundraising experience. Or a big agency.
The other option is to try and do it yourself. You can do this in Google Slides, Canva, or Powerpoint.
Even better, take advantage of proven pitch deck templates to speed up the process, and eliminate the guesswork.
How Should You Share Your Pitch Deck With Investors?
Once you’ve built a winning pitch deck, how do you get it out there and put it to work?
Sending attachments is not the best way to share your pitch decks. It gives you no control over it. It dramatically decreases the chances that your messages and emails will get through spam filters and actually be seen.
Instead, send links to your pitch deck. Ideally, you will host it somewhere that you can keep it updated, track engagement, and continue to control access to it.
A pitch deck is the most important tool for fundraising. This slide presentation is going to be crucial for ensuring your business always has the money it needs to stay afloat and grow.
Learn what makes the best pitch decks, take advantage of existing pitch deck templates, and start presenting to investors.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab, which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding, where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since its inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.