Securing Growth Capital: The Anatomy of a Great Pitch Deck

Written by Aaron Spool, Managing Director

A pitch deck is an early-stage company’s introduction to the world and a critical communications document that founders will refer to many times. Typically, a digital presentation, the deck is used to educate potential investors about the business and help secure funding.

Show How the Company Solves a Problem

It is easy for founders to forget the pitch deck’s purpose – telling investors why they should invest in the firm. Investors like opportunities that solve pressing issues. The best decks start out presenting a problem, and then show how the company provides the solution.

Must Have a Narrative

The pitch deck should tell a story about the company and what you are working on in a way that gets people excited. A classic pitch deck consists of a series of slides, typically a PowerPoint presentation. It needs to be based around a simple narrative, one that is ultimately distilled down to showing investors how they will get their money back.

There is no need to get complicated in the pitch. In fact, I have seen pitch decks from biotech companies fail because they try to impress investors by cluttering it with too much scientific information and getting too deep in the weeds. The takeaway is not that information is bad, but rather the deck’s focus is telling investors how they will make money in this investment.

Know the Details Before Writing the Deck

Before writing the deck, spend a lot of time researching the market and understanding the competitive landscape. Too many companies don’t show a deep enough understanding of the market they’re targeting. Providing one paragraph describing the landscape of a $1 billion dollar opportunity may not be sufficient.

Investors want to see that you have insight into your competition and the market, a true understanding of why your product is unique, and a realistic vision of how it will succeed. 

Be honest. Everyone acts like their product is amazing and has no competition. Be realistic about the company’s challenges and how it will overcome those challenges.

The presenting team also needs to fully understand the company’s financial models and demonstrate that understanding by building a realistic budget and financial forecast for the company going forward. It’s a complicated process. Many entrepreneurs don’t think it all the way through. They toss around expense numbers that are not based on specifics and fail to put in less obvious expenses, such as Director and Officers (D&O) insurance.

Keep it Simple and Clean

Like any communication, a great rule of thumb is to keep it simple. A great pitch deck is a simple pitch deck. It does not need to be 45 pages of convoluted content. The presentation slides should be clean, preferably without fancy diagrams and charts. Less is more. Use graphics sparingly and don’t get too creative. 

A presentation that is too busy with fancy Powerpoint hacks and graphic gimmicks can end up looking cheesy and, therefore, detract from the story you want to tell. Only use graphics that are relevant to your business and the story. A simple graph showing the direction of the market will suffice. For example, the AirBnB funding deck was just words. It was simple, but compelling. 

On the other hand, if the presentation contains too many words, people will get distracted and try to read the deck while you give your presentation. You want investors to be focused on you, not the presentation when you meet with them.

Introduce Your Team

List your team members and highlight their past successes. Potential investors are not investing in the product. They’re investing in the team, and winners keep winning.

The Deck is a Minimalist Guideline

You do not need to say everything you want to say in the deck. The presentation should be a minimalist guideline for what you want to communicate about the opportunity. Spend just a couple of slides talking about the overall opportunity. There will be plenty of time to fill in the details during the presentation.

How much do you need?

Finally, the deck should say how much the company is seeking in the capital raise and provide a list of inflection points that the company can reach on this budget.

This is very important: investors want to see how (and when) value will be created for them with the money they invest.

Eventus Can Help

Eventus can help our clients build financial models and establish realistic budgets.

Our team has many years of experience across numerous industries and expertise outside the basic financial roles. We have seen everything. Our professionals can arrive at an accurate estimate on what the forward-looking cost structure will be for growing your business. With the combination of experience and expertise, we help you write the deck that will close the deal and get you the growth funding you want and need.

To learn more about Eventus’ Capital Raising Support Services click here

To learn more about Eventus’ On-demand Finance and Accounting Services to support your growth click here.

To learn more about Eventus’ SEC Public Company Filing Support Services click here.

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