A Slide by Slide Guide to a Killer Investor Pitch

I’ve seen thousands of entrepreneurs pitch in dozens of different pitch formats, but the following is the format I’d recommend. I’ve compiled this through my own experience as an investor, the best of the existing resources I found, and input from several angel investors.  

Angel Investor Pitch
Photo by Ministerio TIC Columbia

A Killer Investor Pitch in 13-15 Slides

This format works well for both a live presentation and an investor deck to send by email. I would just suggest putting a sentence or two of narrative on the email deck slides. Both the written and spoken presentations should be as short and sweet as possible.

Slide 1: Intro
Describe who you are and what your company does in as few words as possible. Communicate this in a way that anyone can understand. No matter how technically complicated a business is, it can always be described in simple human terms by answering three simple questions:
-Who is your business serving?

-Does your business provide a product or a service?
-Does your business save your customers time, money, headaches or a combination of the three?

Slide 2: The Problem
What is the pain/problem your customers are experiencing? Your business may be solving larger societal problems, and it’s fine to mention that, but society isn’t going to pay to solve its problems. Keep your primary focus on the pain point of your users and/or paying customers.


Slide 3: The Market/Opportunity
 How big is the problem?

What is the size of your addressable market?
Are there any trends that are driving/will drive the growth of your market? Briefly explain.

Slide 4: The Solution
How is your company solving this problem?

Business model – How do you plan to make money doing this?
*Note: Make this slide short and sweet, but IMPACTFUL. If your business model is complicated, consider breaking this into two slides: 1) The Solution and 2) The Business Model (include a list of revenue streams).

Slide 5: The Competition/Competitive Advantage
Who is already solving this problem?

In what areas are they doing a good job?
 In what areas are they failing?
-Why is your product or service better than the competition? Communicate this in a way that explains why your product or service is better suited to solve the pain/problem your customers are experiencing.


Make sure to explain: Do you have direct competitors? Indirect competitors? Is “business-as-usual” your competition? (i.e.: if you are creating a biofuel, you are not just competing with similar biofuels, you are competing with other alternative fuels as well as business-as-usual (gasoline))
*Note: If explaining your competition helps to explain why your solution is so great, you may consider making this slide, slide #4. Also, if the competitive landscape is complicated, consider breaking this into two slides: 1) Competition, 2) Competitive Advantage

Slide 6: Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Do you have any unique and defendable intellectual property?
-Have patents been filed?
-What prevents your current or future competitors from replicating your product/service?

Slide 7: Go to Market Strategy
-Are you selling direct to consumer or business to business?
-Do you have any channel sales/marketing partners?
-Will your company manufacture/distribute the product or will you work with partners?

Slide 8: Traction
-Is your product complete?
– Have you earned revenue?
-Do you have any contracts or letters of intent from customers/key partners?

Slide 9: The Team
Give a brief bio of each of your key team members and explain:
—–T
heir current role in the company
—–Why they are qualified to fulfill that role
—–Whether they have past experience launching or exiting a company
-Do you have an advisory board and who is on it?

Slide 10: Financial Projections
Include a basic chart that shows your 5-year projections for:
—–Revenue
—–G
ross margin %
—–EBITDA
—–Headcount
—–Unit sales
*Note: If these metrics don’t make sense for your business, change accordingly. If you actually have historical financial data, include the last three years in this chart.

Slide 11: Funding and offering
How much money has been invested to date? How much money are you raising in this round?
-Have you determined your company’s valuation?
-Do you know whether you are raising debt or equity? Can you briefly explain the terms of the deal? 

Slide 12: Exit Strategy
How do you plan to deliver a return on investment?
-What are some potential exit scenarios? Do you plan to sell the company? License your technology? Other?
-What types of companies/entities would likely purchase your business or license your technology? Are there any acquisitions that have occurred in the past three years in your industry?  What was the acquisition sale price?

Slide 13: Conclusion
Briefly recap why the investment opportunity is promising
-Don’t forget to include your contact information!

8 Comments

  1. Jordan Thaeler
    Permalink

    Only slide that matters: how much risk is left in the business, and how much can I buy as an investor? Team, barriers are all moot in the absence of having a risk-free, growth equity business

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    • Jay
      Permalink

      @Jordan – So then you’ve listened to pitches that only contained a single risk aversion slide?

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  2. Jon
    Permalink

    Reblogged this on a Little Light and commented:
    This is a great framework for creating a solid pitch deck. As the primary Venture Associate for Brinc, I review a large amount of pitch decks and analyze them before presenting the promising ones to our internal team for further discussions.

    Before presenting additional resources to optimize pitch deck structure, I wanted to simplify and present the 3 P’s we generally use to evaluate a deck. They are People, Product and Pitch. Otherwise phrased with the 3 why’s: “Why you? Why this? Why now?”.

    People – who is the team, and why are they they the right people to solve this problem. What experience, background and characteristics sets this team apart from the others working on this solution (there inevitably is someone else working on your idea – trust me, I see a lot of pitch decks).
    Product – the problem might be real, but why is this product or solution the optimal one that consumers will adopt to? Where is your validation or traction that showcases this doesn’t just look good in paper, but is also demanded in real life?
    Pitch – this is where the investor is sold. Craft a story where the VC can see why this is the right time for this, how big the market could be and how lucrative the business model is. Drive an emotional response here and secure the chance that your pitch moves forward.

    With this framework in mind, below are resources we recommend to help founders craft a better pitch and business plan.

    A good starting point is the Sequoia Capital Business Plan Template: https://www.sequoiacap.com/grove/posts/6bzx/writing-a-business-plan

    A basic template on pitch decks can be found here: http://guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch/
    Here is a direct link to the infographic: http://files.guykawasaki.com/downloads/TheArtofStart_10slides_r3.jpg

    A finished version of the pitch deck should look like the AirBnb’s first pitch deck: http://www.businessinsider.com/airbnb-a-13-billion-dollar-startups-first-ever-pitch-deck-2011-9?op=1

    If stuck, or seeking another angle to visualize the business, feel free to go through the Lean Canvas model (https://leanstack.com/LeanCanvas.pdf) popularized by The Lean Startup (https://hbr.org/2013/05/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything); also a book (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10127019-the-lean-startup).
    A template of the Lean Canvas can be found here: https://hbr.org/resources/images/article_assets/hbr/1305/R1305C_A_LG.gif

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Ernest (@ernestsemerda)
    Permalink

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing.
    Is this for seed or series x+? I assume the 2 would be vastly different?
    Also is the length (slides) a factor considering that investors see decks everyday and would appreciate a tailored pitch to the round/money being raised?

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    • Elizabeth Kraus
      Permalink

      Great question. This pitch format is applicable for any stage of financing.

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      Reply

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