How To Create a Great Investor Pitch Deck For Startups Seeking Funding

How To Create a Great Investor Pitch Deck For Startups Seeking Funding

I would like to share the experiences I have had so far with Pakistani’s wanting investment funding from me for their tech startup ideas.

Here are some of the responses I have received from Pakistanis wanting my attention on LinkedIn regarding their need for funding. (UNEDITED)

1.) Randall, I have a startup idea, need you to invest in it.

2.) My name is XXXXXXX, I have domain knowledge in computers, and have product. Would like it if you invested in my idea.

3.) Randall please give your investment in a mobile product my friends made with me. I’ll make you rich.

4.) I have made a product for WordPress plugins, how much do you want to give me to make the dream come true.

Do you see a common theme? They are all extremely unprofessional with ZERO investor pitch decks attached.

Some of you might not see anything wrong with what these people wrote above. If you don’t know, then you need to read this entire article and hopefully by the end of it, you will know. First of all, the grammar in these requests is terrible. Nothing about the grammar usage makes me even remotely interested in their proposals. If they can’t communicate well, I will never feel comfortable working with them, and I will seriously question the quality of their product. Secondly, they came at me wrong. They are too direct, and they are telling me what I have to do for them. “Hell no!” is my initial reaction.

If you want to get a potential investor’s attention you need to approach them HIGHLY professionally. Here is a good example.

Hello Randall,

I’m not sure if you are interested in investing in Pakistani startups. However, I have created a fantastic new product for the recruiting industry, and I have attached an investment pitch deck to explain in more detail about the enormous opportunities my product creates. When you have a moment, please take a quick glance to see if it is something that interests you. If you would like a demo of this product, I am available anytime tomorrow. If you aren’t interested in investing, then maybe you would provide me with some feedback as to what I can do better in the future to attract funding from other investors. As a new business owner, I would highly appreciate your valued suggestions. I hope to hear back from you soon. Have a wonderful day.

Thank you.

Now this message is non-threatening, non-demanding, polite and professional. It lets me know that I have an opportunity to invest in you if I like your product, and if I don’t then you have asked me to give you feedback. I think that is reasonable, and I would be more inclined to provide you with feedback since you asked me so nicely.

Now lets us talk about that Investor Pitch Deck.

The Investor Pitch Deck is the MOST crucial piece to getting any funding for your business.

The Investor Pitch Deck is the MOST crucial piece to getting any funding for your business. You can have the most fabulous product in the world, but nobody will give you the time of day if you give them a half-prepared, grammar mistake ridden piece of content that doesn’t correctly explain what your product does.

You should condense your presentation to a few pages, so it is not overwhelming for an investor. Make sure you hire two people for this pitch deck, a designer and an excellent content writer. You will need to spend a little money to make sure your investor pitch deck is top-notch. If I were to see a highly professional pitch-deck from someone, I would think two things. 1.) This company is VERY promising, 2.) I need to jump on this before someone else does, because with a pitch-deck this good, I bet they are shopping this around to a lot of people.

You will need to spend a little money to make sure your investor pitch deck is top-notch.

Pitch Deck Dos:

  1. Make sure you put your Confidential and Proprietary wording on the bottom of each page. Copyright (c) by Company.
  2. Make sure you are very convincing about the tremendous opportunity your product can create.
  3. Talk about how your product is unique and how it can gain market share.
  4. Talk about how you will market the business.
  5. Outline how you will grow and run the business with the investor’s money.
  6. Introduce your current team members along with photos and their backgrounds.
  7. Talk about what roles other employees will play and how many you will need.
  8. Have high-quality designs and screenshots of your product. Hire a professional graphic artist for this, or use Canva.
  9. Make sure your pitch deck is in PDF format or a slideshow format. Do not put your pitch deck in the cloud and make them click a link to download it.
  10. Try to schedule a demo with the initial email sent.
  11. This is your product or service; you must be passionate about it. Make sure that passion comes across in your wording.
  12. Talk about any success you may have already experienced. Try to have some stats, case studies on early success, any financial information outlined.
  13. Make sure you have ZERO grammar errors. Also, no format errors, no broken links. IT has to be perfect!

Pitch Deck Don’ts:

  1. Make sure your pitch deck isn’t too long. You need to keep and hold your potential investor’s attention.
  2. Don’t have an old looking pitch deck. If you want to be cutting edge, then so does your design.
  3. Don’t try to cram all the information about your product or service into two pages. Use the demo to add more details.

Make sure you study other company’s pitch deck examples.

What Are the Key Subjects You Need In Your Investor Pitch Deck?

To make sure you cover everything, you will need the following sections in your investor pitch deck. Try to use roughly the same subject titles and keep them in the same order:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Company Overview
  3. Mission/Vision of the Company
  4. The Team
  5. The Industry Problem
  6. The Solution
  7. The Market Opportunity
  8. The Product
  9. The Customers
  10. The Technology
  11. The Competition
  12. Business Model
  13. The Marketing Plan
  14. Financials
  15. The Ask
1.) The “Cover Page” of Your Pitch Deck

You should always include a neatly designed cover page that says the company name, your name, and all copyright, proprietary and confidential warnings. Also, add a date, but make sure you update this date regularly to let the investor know this is very current information.

2.) “Company Overview” Section of Your Pitch Deck

In the company overview,  you need to summarise your business in bullet points.

  • What problem your business solves
  • The business location
  • Management team experience
  • Any traction your business already has gained
  • Your company overview slide, should immediately grab the attention of the investor and be convincing enough to make them want to read more.
3. The “Mission/Vision” Section of Your Pitch Deck

In the Mission/Vision section, you will demonstrate what your company wants to accomplish and what you want your company to be in the future.

Some examples of a mission statement include:

  • Save the Children: “To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.”
  • Sweetgreen: “To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”
  • Allshore Virtual Staffing: “To promote cultural understanding and build international relationships through a trusted, compassionate and profitable IT staffing experience.”

Yes, that last one is from my company Allshore Virtual Staffing. I came up with that six years ago, and it embodies what our company does. It has meaning, and it is powerful. You need to think about your mission statement and give it meaning and power.

The “vision” statement is what you think your company can become.

Example: “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.” – Southwest Air

Do take your time in thinking about the mission and vision statements. They are your 15-second elevator pitch to the investors.

4. “The Team” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Many investors, myself included, believe that a company’s team is one of the most important factors of whether or not to invest. I for one will always highly evaluate the team before making a decision, so do not skip this step.

“The Team” section should include the following for each team member:

  • Pictures
  • Titles
  • Short summaries of their prior employment, their domain experience and their relevant expertise
  • Include any advisors, consultants, or board members
5. “The Problem” Section of Your Pitch Deck

You must define the industry problem or need your startup company is solving, including:

  • How widespread is the problem?
  • Why is solving this problem important?
  • Who will benefit from your solution? For whom, are you solving this problem?
6. “The Solution” Section in Your Pitch Deck

In this area, you need to provide your proposed solution to the problem in the previous section. Be very articulate here and express why your solution is better than anything else in the market. Be careful not to talk negatively about other solutions, mainly focus on how yours is different and better.

7. The “Product” Section of Your Pitch Deck

In this section, you will define your product or service.

“The Product” section of the pitch deck should answer:

  1. What are the main features of your product or service?
  2. Why would users care about your product or service?
  3. What are the primary product or service milestones?
  4. What makes your product or service different?
  5. What additional product or services features do you have planned?
  6. Here is where you will need your graphics artist to mock up designs, videos and other images to support your written content. Giving the investor a visualisation about your product or service is extremely important.
8. The “Market Opportunity” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Investors such as myself want to invest in opportunities that have huge potential returns. Demonstrate in this section how big the market is in your industry and how much market share you think you can capture.

In your “Market Opportunity” section you want to:

  • Define which market in which your product or service will compete.
  • Define the market size (dollar amount).
  • Define how much market share you think your product can capture and have supporting images.
9. The “Customers” Section of Your Pitch Deck

If your company has already gained customers, you need to include a slide showing them. This adds credibility and shows the investor that there is already interest in your product or service. It also shows the investor that you know how to sell and market for your company, which is a huge added advantage to getting funding. Try to represent your customers graphically by their logos.

10. “The Technology” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Investors will want to know which technologies you have used to build your platform or support your business. Do mention what you have, how you developed it, and what your plans are for adding to the existing technology.

The technology section of the investor pitch deck can describe:

  • The underlying technology architecture and what types of code you used.
  • List all intellectual property rights of the company, such as:
    • patents
    • patents pending
    • copyrights
    • trademarks
    • domain names.
  • Why your technology is better than existing market solutions.
  • Lastly, tell the investors why your technology is difficult to replicate.
11. The “Competition” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Big or small, your competitors will always be a threat. Investors always take a keen look at your competition to see how well you stack up to them and to see how hard it will be to penetrate market share.

Your “Competition” section should answer the following questions:

  • Who are the company’s competitors?
  • What gives your company a competitive advantage?
  • What are the differentiating features of your company from your competitors?

You need to be able to demonstrate you have a clear idea of who your competition is and how you will be able to take market share away from them. If you are not able to name your competitors and describe them in detail, then the investor will assume you don’t understand your market.

12. The “Traction” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Traction, in the sense of this article,  is defined as gaining ground in the market share of your industry. By showing your investors the traction your company has already made, you will instil confidence in them about you and your company’s ability to perform as you claim. If your company is still too new to have gained any traction yet, then you can skip the traction section and add little pieces of traction comments in other sections.

If you include the traction section, then detail the following:

  • Describe your early traction efforts and results.
  • Talk about any existing sales
  • Traffic to the company’s website
  • App downloads and ratings
  • Growth metrics
  • Interest from other blogs, news outlets to cover your story
  • Have you forged any strategic partnerships?
  • How can you accelerate this early traction?
  • Have you gotten any news coverage or awards?
  • Do you have any real customer testimonials?
13. “The Business Model” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Understanding your business model and how you plan to monetise it is crucial for investors.

The “Business Model” section must address the following:

  • How does your company make money?
  • What will be the pricing model?
  • What is a long-term customer worth to your business?
  • Is it a recurring revenue business model or based on one-time product sales?
  • What are the customer acquisition sales and marketing channels and what will it cost to gain customers?
14. The “Marketing Plan” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Every business must have a marketing and sales plan.

Your “Marketing Plan” section needs to address the following:

  • What marketing channels will the company advertise on?
    • PPC
    • Social media
    • TV
    • Radio
    • Email marketing
    • Have you had early success, if so what channels worked?
    • What is the per customer acquisition costs, and how much will each customer earn you over their lifetime with your business?
    • What Public Relations campaigns will you utilise?
    • Have you received any press so far?
15. The “Financials” Section of Your Pitch Deck

The financial section is something you need to heavily consider. Any potential investor needs to be able to understand the current financial position of the company. They will also need to understand what you foresee the company needing for the future. You will need to include what you see as the burn rate of the company. The burn rate is how fast or slow you will spend money to keep the company’s growth plans intact. Consider all the items the company will spend money on while it is gaining market share.

The “Financial” section should include:

  • Employee salaries
  • Sales and marketing efforts and costs
  • Further development of product or services

The “Financials” section should also include the following:

  • Your 3 – 5-year financial projections
  • Burn rate
  • Fixed overheads that the business requires to operate (employee salaries, rent, utilities)
  • Current revenue and expenses

Your forecasts must be realistic. Investors are smart, and they are naturally skeptical at first. They will be looking closely at your projections to see if they make sense or not. Since investors are usually business people themselves, they will easily be able to decide if your forecasts are absurd or if they make sense.

16. “The Ask” Section of Your Pitch Deck

Finally, you need to clearly outline what you are asking the investors. “The Ask.”

  • How much money do you need to seed your business?
  • Try to be exact, but a small range is also fine.
  • How long will the financing last (15-18 months)
  • What major milestones will the funding help you reach?
  • Explain precisely where you will use the investor’s money.
  • Technology Advancement
  • New Hires
  • Capital Expenses
  • Marketing
  • Product Development
  • Explain who your existing investors are. (highlighting any famous investors)
  • Tell the investor how much equity they will receive for the amount of money they invest.

Here is a sample of an “Ask” section for your investor pitch deck.


Conclusion:

A lot of Pakistani’s have brilliant ideas that will be a huge success. However, most entrepreneurs need financial help to get their ideas off the ground. I have had a lot of people ask me if I would be interested in investing in their products, but they do not have any marketing material to show me what I am investing in. If you need financial backing from an investor, you absolutely must entice them with a professional looking, well thought out, and well-written investment pitch deck.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN INVESTMENT PITCH DECK, THEN YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME AND POTENTIAL INVESTORS TIME.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you all can get the money you need!

Resources: Go to Slideshare To Create a Free PDF Investor Pitch Deck

See Related Article: 60 Questions Investors Will Ask You About Your Startup

See Related Article: How Does Series A, B, C Funding Work For Startups?

About me

authorGoPakistan is the brainchild of American Randall Agee. Randall Agee has worked side by side with Pakistanis for ten years and has had many successful experiences. His goal is to share those experiences with other Pakistanis so we can build a strong Pakistan.

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1 Comment
  1. Hello Randall,
    you are doing great job. The article you have written ia very informative and helpful to build investement pitch deck.
    You have talk about some companies like allshore virtual staffing etc but didn’t backlink them for the audience ,it will be great to provide do follow links.
    Thanks

    Reply
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