How To Create Winning Investor Pitch Decks to Achieve Your Fundraising Goals
How To Create Winning Investor Pitch Decks to Achieve Your Fundraising Goals
As a start-up, you’ll be keen to unlock the funding that can help you grow your business and take it to the next level. A so-called “pitch deck” is one of the most important assets any small business or start-up can have. This document is what you’ll present to potential investors to give them an insight into your business.
Your CFO will typically be the person who takes ownership of the pitch deck. If you’re looking at fundraising opportunities, hiring an interim CFO could be the key to creating a winning pitch deck. At FD Capital, we can connect you with senior financial professionals who have a proven track record of helping start-ups access fundraising opportunities.
A pitch deck will typically contain between 15 to 20 slides in a presentation style. The purpose of your pitch deck is to showcase your company to potential investors. It’s a whistle-stop tour of your company, your strategy, and your long-term ambitions.
Getting the backing of venture capitalists isn’t easy. For most start-ups, it’s easiest to hire a CFO who can oversee your fundraising strategy and create a winning pitch deck that creates a compelling story for your start-up.
At FD Capital, our senior financial professionals have extensive experience in creating pitch decks and securing funding for start-ups. We’re sharing our insight into how to create an engaging pitch deck that will win over angel and venture capital investors. This guide covers everything that your start-up needs to know, as well as best practices for your pitch deck. You might be interested in: What to Prepare Before Meeting Venture Capitalists.
What to Do and What Not to Do
If you’re never made a pitch deck before, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. Investors see hundreds of pitch decks every year. Knowing how to format your pitch deck can help you get your presentation in front of potential investors. There are dozens of common mistakes that start-ups make when curating their pitch decks, from being too wordy to not regularly updating their pitch deck.
What you should do for your pitch deck:
- Before going for your presentation, send your pitch deck to the investors. You want to make it as accessible as possible by sending it in PDF format instead of using a download link.
- It’s best practice to include a footer at the bottom of your introduction/title page to state that the pitch deck is confidential with the copyright owned by your company.
- Your pitch deck should create a compelling narrative that translates the story of your brand.
- You want to incorporate images and graphics throughout your pitch deck.
- Don’t forget that the purpose of your pitch deck is to present an opportunity for your investors to fund a profitable start-up.
- If your start-up involves a product, you want to bring along a sample or demo to showcase alongside your pitch deck.
- Your pitch deck should give investors an insight into where your company is – from your product development to your partners and early interest in your company.
- Ensure that your branding is consistent throughout your pitch deck to create a professional look that reflects your brand image.
- Keep your pitch deck as up to date as possible. It’s a good idea to update it at least once a month to reflect the current state of your start-up.
What you shouldn’t do for your pitch deck:
- Avoid information overload with your pitch deck. Keep your slides as short but informative as possible.
- Your pitch deck should be no more than 20 slides in total. You can always include additional information in the appendix of your presentation if necessary.
- Avoid going too in-depth about your financial details. Your pitch deck will usually be presented during the first formal meeting with potential investors. This information can always be provided during a follow-up meeting.
- Your pitch deck isn’t intended to include all the information about your business. Focus on the most important information.
- Avoid adding too many acronyms or industry jargon to your pitch deck.
- Invest in your pitch deck. Use Canva or similar software that helps you create a professional-looking pitch deck. You could also hire a graphic designer to create a custom pitch deck layout and design that incorporates your branding.
Before you start building your pitch deck, do your research and find templates and examples to inspire you. A quick search online will show you thousands of samples from start-ups across different industries.
The Slides You Should Have in Your Pitch Deck
Your pitch deck should have been 12 to 20 slides in it. While every start-up and CFO will take their own approach to their pitch deck, there are slides that should feature in every presentation.
In general, your pitch deck should include the following information:
- Overview of your company
- Your leadership teams
- The problem your product or service solves
- Marketing opportunities for your start-up
- Your product
- Target market and customers
- The technology you’re using
- Your start-up’s competition
- Business model
- What you’re asking for from the investors
This format is what most investors are familiar with and is the best practice to follow when creating your pitch deck.
We’re breaking down the information that you should incorporate into your pitch deck. Your CFO should have access to all the information that you’ll need to create the pitch deck.
Your Company Overview
The first slide in your pitch deck should be an overview of your company. It’s a summary in a few bullet points that should incorporate the USP of your company.
You want to cover a few items on this page. You should mention your leadership team, where your start-up is based, and any attention that your brand is already getting.
As you’ll be sending your pitch deck to investors ahead of time, this slide should instantly grab the investor’s attention and set them on a journey with your company.
Your Company’s Mission Statement
Now that your potential investors have a brief overview of your business, you want to give them an insight into the mission of your company.
You want to include a summarised version of your mission statement. It should be something that hooks the investor and acts as a tagline. It’s the phrase you want them to take away from your business and present as the vision of your brand.
Don’t forget that your mission statement should reflect the goal of your company. It’s the real-life elevator pitch and is one of the most important slides in your pitch deck.
Your Leadership Team
One thing every investor will want to know about is your leadership team. It takes a strong team with the right skill set to allow a start-up to reach its potential. Your leadership team could be a make-or-break factor in whether an investor decides to work with your company.
Highlight each person in your leadership team with a professional headshot and their title. The slide should include a brief summary of their experience and the role they play in the company.
You can also boost the credibility of your start-up by including any advisors or board members that will impress your potential investors.
Identify the problem that you’re solving
You might have a great idea for your start-up, but you have to show the need for your product or service. Start by identifying the problem that your start-up is solving. Go in-depth by identifying who the problem affects and who the target audience of your start-up.
The solution your start-up is providing
After identifying the problem, you want to show the solution. This slide is a chance to spotlight your inspiration, showing why your start-up is superior to the competition that may already exist. The ‘solution’ portion of your slide acts as a bridge between identifying the problem and showcasing your product. Avoid creating too much of an overlap between this slide and the next one.
Showcasing your product
Now is the chance to showcase your product in all its glory. You want to focus on its USP and what makes your product the best on the market.
Your CFO will build this slide around the key features of your product and what it offers your target demographic. As a start-up, you may have plans to release further products in the future. You want to incorporate this into the slide and focus on how each product is different.
You can get creative with this slide and incorporate your marketing material. Images and videos are the best way to visually showcase your product.
Your start-up’s market opportunity
Once your potential investor knows about your product, they’ll be interested in hearing about the market opportunity. You want to use this slide to define the market that your product will be sold in, whether it’s domestically or internationally.
Your CFO should be able to incorporate data into this slide about the valuation of the market size. Don’t forget to utilize graphics to show how your company will utilize the market to maximize sales.
Identify your customers
If your product or service is one that already has customers, such as other businesses or stores, you want to identify them here. Keep the slide streamlined by using the logo of the most recognisable brands that you’re already working with.
Explain the technology behind your start-up
Not every investor is technologically savvy. They want to understand what makes your start-up different and the technology that you have behind it.
This part of your pitch deck should include information about the technology that your start-up uses as well as the intellectual property that it owns.
Identify your start-up’s competition
Investors want to know who your competition is and how you intend to compete against them. Use this slide to show who your competition is and what makes your product different from there.
Your CFO will curate this slide to show that your start-up understands the niche that you’re operating in and is factoring in competition to your strategy.
Showcase any traction or press you have
Getting early press or traction for your start-up is a positive sign of interest in your product or service. You want to showcase this to potential investors with a ‘traction’ slide.
Your CFO will incorporate analytics and data about your start-up’s current traction. You can start by using your website’s analytics or sales. Don’t forget to include any features your start-up has had in the press, along with testimonials from customers or board members.
Explain your business model
You want to move your pitch deck on by explaining your business model. Explain how your start-up intends to make money and what your pricing model is. You’ll also want to include plans on customer acquisition and the long-term value that you expect to be able to offer your customers.
Present your marketing plan
No product will sell without a marketing plan. Your CFO will work with your marketing department to create this aspect of your pitch deck. You want to include information about your marketing strategy, customer acquisition costs, and any early publicity you’ve gotten.
- Money, money, money
By now, your investors want to get down to the nitty-gritty. They want to know the financial situation of your start-up and the expected ‘burn’ rate for how much cash the start-up will need during development and marketing.
Your CFO will take the lead with this part of your pitch deck. Their forecasting, analytics, and strategy will be incorporated here. You’ll highlight the financial projections for your start-up, along with total revenue and expenses.
Ask The Investors for Financial Support
Your pitch deck should end with the all-important ‘ask’. This part of your presentation is where you lay out the terms of what your start-up is asking for from these potential investors. The leadership team should come together to agree on what to ask these investors for.
You’ll want to set out a range for how much capital your start-up is seeking, along with the duration of the financing. Highlight what your start-up will be able to achieve with this funding and how you’ll be using it. If you already have investors involved with your start-up, you want to spotlight them here.
Hiring a CFO for Your Start-Up
If your start-up is going down the path of VC fundraising, you want a CFO on your leadership team. They’ll lead the direction of your pitch deck and give you invaluable insight into how to approach potential investors.
At FD Capital, we’re here to match you with senior financial professionals with a proven track record of securing VC funding. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on hiring a CFO to oversee your start-up’s fundraising.