How to Write an Investor Pitch Deck - Startups 101

How to Write an Investor Pitch Deck - Startups 101

Perfect Pitch Deck - Intro (00:00:00)

  • Pitch decks, not business plans, are key to securing startup funding.
  • The pitch deck must convey the company's story compellingly and convincingly in under four minutes.
  • Consistent storytelling and an appealing design are crucial elements.
  • A successful deck answers specific questions about market opportunities, the product, growth potential, and why the team will succeed.
  • Insights are drawn from hundreds of decks and discussions with founders, as well as successful examples from Airbnb, Intercom, Buffer, Uber, and guidance from venture firms like Sequoia.

Pitch Deck Storytelling 101 & Questions to answer (00:01:36) (00:04:02)

  • Stories often follow a three-act structure, which can be applied to a pitch deck.
  • Introduce the status quo in Act 1, establish a pivotal solution in Act 2, and build the stakes leading to a climax.
  • The climax could highlight traction, competitive strategies, or exceptional team qualifications.
  • Post-climax, ask for investment.
  • Four pivotal questions should be answered: the discovered opportunity, the solution built, the product's operation and target audience, the growth rate, and why the team is qualified.

Different types of Pitch Decks (00:05:14)

  • There are three specific investor pitch decks: the demo day deck, the email deck, and the meeting deck.
  • Demo day decks support limited live presentations, email decks must be compelling without narration, and meeting decks expand upon email decks for in-person meetings.
  • Email decks are crucial as they often lead to meetings and must summarize the premise compellingly within three to four minutes.

Intro Section (00:08:26)

  • Intro section includes optional slides like the traction teaser but should avoid executive summaries.
  • The cover slide should succinctly describe what the company does.
  • The status quo section should realistically portray the current market or problem being addressed.

Status Quo and Solution Section (00:09:36)

  • Great companies resolve global issues; Uber solved taxi problems, Slack reduced excess emails, Dropbox enabled file syncing.
  • An effective problem slide induces an "aha" moment, but a questionable statement can ruin the pitch.
  • Avoid starting with divisive opinions e.g., "current social media is boring."
  • Businesses may also capitalize on opportunities, such as mobile games.
  • The solution slide should mirror the problem slide, presenting a simple thesis without delving into technology or product details.

Product Section (00:11:00)

  • Depending on complexity, the product section may include a brief demo video, a "how does it work" diagram, or screenshots.
  • Feature slides should focus on showcasing up to six key benefits rather than technical specifications.
  • Including an audience or use cases slide can demonstrate understanding of the product's target market.
  • For tech-heavy products, an "underlying magic" or infrastructure slide is useful.
  • Optional market validation or "why now" slides can support adoption challenges.
  • The business model slide should clearly state how money is made without overcomplicating projections.
  • The roadmap or milestones slide connects the product and financial sections and should focus on the immediate future's product vision.

Market Section (00:13:48)

  • Traction slides show growth journey and significant milestones, not just total revenue.
  • Go-to-market slides should emphasize two to three specific growth channels, not generic strategies like social media.
  • Market size slides need to accurately represent the total addressable market (TAM), not the entire market or problem-size value.
  • TAM should be significant enough (in the hundreds of millions) to intrigue investors.

Why Us (00:16:10)

  • Competitor slides should highlight unique insights and understanding of the market not seen by others.
  • Competitive advantages or secret sauce should demonstrate your team's deep market knowledge.
  • Founding teams must have the necessary skills for scaling, particularly to reach one million dollars in revenue.
  • Avoid advisor slides unless they are well-known or connected to investors since advisors typically have limited engagement.
  • The pitch should focus on the startup's team, as they are critical to the company's success.

Ask Section

  • The summary does not include the Ask section, as the text provided ends before this section is fully introduced.

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