Investor pitch · Business Strategy

Where do great pitch decks come from?

Jason Rubitsky Mechanical Designer/ BIM Coordinator at BuroHappold

February 28th, 2016

Hi All,

I'm looking to see if anyone could share insight on their pitch deck experiences within the seed funding stage.  I'm currently in the process of trying to raise seed capital and wanted to see how others approached this game changing step.
  • Were/ are you the founder of the company?
  • If so, did you create the pitch deck yourself?
  • Did you delegate the deck creation to another team member?
  • Did you and your team reach out to an outside consultant for assistance?
  • Did your deck follow the 10/20/30 rule or did you do something different?
I'd be really interested to hear any success stories.  Thanks in advance!
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Joe Albano, PhD Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.

February 28th, 2016

Great pitch decks tell great stories. Here are a few questions to get you started: 
  • What problem(s) are you solving? 
  • Who are you solving it for? 
  • Why do they care about your solution? 
  • What evidence do you have that they care? 
  • Why should an investor believe you can build and distribute your solution? 
  • Who is the implementation team? 
  • What does each member of the team bring to the table? 
  • Why will each team member stay around?  
Then tell that story in the most compact and compelling way possible. Think about the questions that someone interested in your specific pitch would ask. Is your pitch priming them to ask those questions? 

Arjun Sarin Building a social enterprise powered by Ad:tech

February 28th, 2016

These are some good questions Jason. I think every founder must have pondered on this - If there is a winning formula. I haven't found any success till now. However see if you can find any help from my answers - Were/ are you the founder of the company? *Yes* - If so, did you create the pitch deck yourself? *Yes* - Did you delegate the deck creation to another team member? *No* - Did you and your team reach out to an outside consultant for assistance? *NO, however I took reference of lot of decks outside. * - Did your deck follow the 10/20/30 rule or did you do something different? NO... *One thing any investors will seek from your deck is what is it which will bring the user to use your product. What are the unit economics?*

Thomas Loarie "Bringing Entrepreneurs and Technology to Life" CEO and Chairman, Mentoring and Coaching of C-Level Executives

February 28th, 2016

Contrary to popular belief, there is only one rule to follow and it is not as specific as most would have you believe. - it is to create a deck that attracts and interests investors. Sometimes this can be done with a few (10) slides, and many times, particularly in the life sciences, it cannot. The pitch is your story about the problem, who has the pain. how your solution effectively and unequivocally addresses that pain, your business model (how are you going to make money), your unique competitive position, intellectual property, team, capital required and how you intend to use it. 

Anonymous

February 28th, 2016

Not sure I can add to anything that has already been posted other than your pitch will be something that is organic and eventually a thing of great power and beauty, because you will have refined the content to within an inch of its life - and when you are presenting this stuff you will eventually feel invincible.  

Until you get to this point - i.e. people who you respect are no longer finding holes in the logic - remain humble and continue to learn from others who probably know more than you do.

Believe me, when it all comes together, it's a great feeling...

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

February 28th, 2016

> Were/ are you the founder of the company?

Yes

> If so, did you create the pitch deck yourself?

Yes

> Did you delegate the deck creation to another team member?

No, never.

> Did you and your team reach out to an outside consultant for assistance?

Yes, several times. Oh, what a waste that was. Each consultant invariably said about the last guy's work: "This is bad, we have to redo this from scratch". But the result was always the same.

> Did your deck follow the 10/20/30 rule or did you do something different?

Not really. Most investors had their own predetermined constraints on the number of slides and on the time (one or two even required a certain font size).

Anyway, I'm convinced that for best results one should use more pictures than words. One of the best presentations I've seen was almost entirely made of cleverly chosen stock images, not text. One of the advantages is that you can pack a lot more slides into the presentation, because human brain can decipher images much faster than text, so you can dedicate as little as 5 seconds to each slide, and it works great (if you do it right).

Jayashankar Attupurathu Motivated, Out of box Thinker, Ground to earth

January 15th, 2017

Hi Jason,

Thats a wonderful questions you have put in. Me and fellow co-founders learned things in a hard way after numerous presentation. The among traits among seed funders are that they are looking,

- What is the problem you are trying to solve?

- Is it worth solving?

- Is there a long term benefits for the funder?

- How good is your team?


In the ends its all about story telling. I have used the concept of Monroe's Motivational Sequence it might help you too. Good Luck.

Brett Walfish Entrepreneurial Musician

February 28th, 2017

I recently created my Pitch deck for my company. When learning about it, I found this site really helpful:

https://piktochart.com/blog/startup-pitch-decks-what-you-can-learn/


I am lucky that one of my mentors is on faculty at a business school, so he had one of his MBA consultant teams help with my market research, and then they put together the initial drafts of the deck. In the end, I put the final touches on it for presentation.


As the company is still pre-revenue, and I am a solopreneur with a functional app in the App Store, but pre-revenue, mine has 16 slides. It's about 30 min long and has many diagrams.


I am now looking to get in front of VC's.

D. Johnston CEO & Co-Founder MDC DOT | MDC DOT Solo a Sales Enablement Platform for Individual Sales Reps & Sales Teams

February 28th, 2016

Jason:

You may want to check out @fundingroadmap. Ruth Hedges built the site with the intent of providing those looking for funding a precise roadmap to that end. You can also check her qualifications and work int he area of funding out here: @thegccworld

Good Luck!

Bruce

Matthew Maly

February 28th, 2016

I found the process of creating a deck excruciatingly difficult. I have created TWENTY versions of it over the last one and a half years. I heard that the investors want as little as six slides, which means I would not be able to explain what my app does and how it does it. My latest version has eighteen slides and that includes three pictures.


I did have a seven-slide deck. It sounded crazy:


"Hello, I am a Martian, and I want is to make you a billion bucks. Please invest $200K into my tumba-yumba that makes magnificent ChipotStarbaburgers. They are the wendiest of them all, with bananamustardamon. Not surprisingly, I enjoy monopolistic advantage, as nobody is that mad (my graduate degree is from Yale and my advisor works for NASA)"


I figured that after these seven slides the investors would be so confused they would have to take a week off to recover. So. I. Took. Eighteen. Slides. To. Tell. My. Story.


I am happy with eighteen slides because it is also a test of a venture capitalist I want to work with. My app is magnificent; it could help millions of people to dramatically improve their lives. It took me 30 years to develop the technology for it, and it is not like I am going to have a second life... Thus, if the investors are so set in their ways they do not fall off the chair by slide number four, they can invest in yet another food delivery service.


So my advice is this: if you are a creator of the New World, respectfully offer your own reasonable rules, and just tell your story. If you are a food delivery service #Zillion, use ten slides, lots of bright pictures, and have it all very professionally done, by a specialized company.


This is America: you either stand out by substance or you stand out by appearance. There is a myth that you can stand out both by substance and by appearance, but I do not believe that Jennifer Lawrence has a Ph.D in Physics.

Felipe Burman Chief Strategy Officer at Smarton

February 29th, 2016

Jason,
There are good advises here and you can find much more online. But my best advice to you is flexibility and knowledge to use what you heard or read as a base to your own recipe. Then, the best ingredients are the identity and differentials of your project, great stories, comfort to talk about the topic, and knowledge of your public (by questions or reading about them prior the presentation, if there are bios online).
For instance, the 10/20/30 rule is really useful as a base but it is really ok if you feel more comfortable with something like a 12/15/24 presentation in order to use two more slides with relevant pictures that talk by itself, finish your pitch in a shorter period or reducing the font-size for a size still big but smaller than some important information. It is all about confidence, a great team, and personal characteristics that you would like to see in someone before you engage with this person. As you probably know, no one has the formula. It is all about an acceptable level of knowledge to attract attention with your own identity.
I wish you all the best!