Good guidance for startups how to setup your pitchdeck
A killer investor presentation only needs to convey these key things.
by Scott Painter, Founder and CEO
When I sit down with new startup founders, most ask me about one thing: raising money.
This is smart of them, because, as I've stated previously, fundraising needs to be one of the core competencies of any young company. Yet for the many high-level conversations I've enjoyed on the subject with young entrepreneurs, rarely do we delve into the kinds of DIY steps they can take to legitimately improve their chances of actually landing an investment.
I want to spend some time doing just that on a subject worthy of much more discussion than it generally receives: the pitch deck.
If you're a budding entrepreneur who gobbles up broader pontifications on the art of fundraising but find yourself constantly in want of "next steps" advice, this is the column you're going to want to print out and put in your pocket.
The reason I want to talk about pitch decks is simple: I see too many that are simply not good. What should be a short, powerful presentation to pique investor interest is too frequently a gaudy, Keynote-based claptrap--with the apparent build time of a freeway and more slides than a water park.
When I set out for my company's most recent round of funding, I hit the road with a mere eight slides. Am I being prudent to the extreme? Downright cocky? Not at all. In fact, each slide in a pitch deck should precisely mirror one of the eight psychological pillars that any savvy investor has in their head when considering a funding decision.
Granted, nothing I'm about to tell you about how to structure the perfect pitch deck amounts to the magic elixir. It's just simple blocking and tackling. But too many people are hurting themselves by doing it wrong, and it needs to stop.
So here's how to do a pitch deck right, slide by simple slide.
Slide 1: Make your statement of purpose.
When I talk with a young entrepreneur, I always start by asking, "What's the big idea?" What I'm looking for is a statement about who they are and what they do in a sentence so elemental and polished as to adorn a statue. This isn't just the elevator pitch; this is the pitch you need to get out before the elevator doors have closed in the lobby. This statement is worth spending a remarkable amount of time on, because it might be the most valuable dozen words you'll ever assemble. It's something that needs to be torn up and debated and rewritten a thousand times. It also needs to be a living statement that can grow and change as you learn about your business, what happens in your marketplace, what matters to investors, the zeitgeist, and the thousand other factors that will be crucial to the growth of your business. And if your first slide is lacking it, your deck is like a book with a bad cover--nobody's going to buy it.