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.
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:
- Their 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:
- Gross margin %
- 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!
I invited Evan Walden of Getro to share his thoughts on recruiting top talent in the current environment and the role VCs can play to help their portfolio companies address this ongoing issue.
My colleagues Sue Heilbronner and Leah Pearlman Iaunched their Marco Polo Channel, Inside Coaching, this week. Here’s why and how I’m making the channel a part of my weekly routine.
A few of our portfolio companies considered whether to reopen their previous round or open a new round with a higher valuation. If you are considering the same question, here are the thoughts I shared with one of those companies.
Somewhere in my childhood, I learned to hide and feel guilty for my success. It wasn't until recently that I realized how much that inhibited my ability to actually achieve success.
I thought I had overcome my fear of peer pressure when I was 16, but this coronavirus experience has proved me wrong. I broke my commitment to tell the truth at a time when candor could have been of service.
Over the past few months, I've seen an increasing number of pitches from startups tackling the world’s biggest environmental and social problems like climate change, gun violence, and the mental health crisis. I'm also finding that I’m becoming more determined to invest in world-changing startups.
Kim Smith, executive director of the League of Innovative Schools, shares her thought-provoking insights to help drive racial equality in our venture capital industry, and makes a powerful call for white co-conspirators who are ready, willing, and able to fight.
I am grateful for the clarity and inspiration this emotional time has afforded me. I am more driven to do work that matters than ever before. Because we still have a long road ahead, I'm going to take an emotional breather.
I find that I have to expend three times more energy to feel productive during the holidays. This pattern tends to persist not only during the week of July 4th, but for the entire month of July.
We sourced five startups from our Fund81 VC forum members to present for our June forum. Check out this episode to hear pitches from these incredibly tenacious entrepreneurs.