Pitch Deck: The first two slides

This post has been updated and can be found here.

In THIS post, I outlined the high-level flow for an investor pitch deck that, in my opinion, covered the basic, necessary information required for a solid, introductory investor presentation.  Here, we’ll get into the details of the first two slides with commentary and advice to go along with each.

First and foremost, it’s really important to have enough white space in your presentation format.  I like a white background because it prints and projects cleanly.  I like titles that are single-line and as few words as possible; and I try to keep the text/image area “middle part” of the slide as open as possible.  In general, right angles are easier to make look clean than circles but your mileage may vary.  Less is absolutely more when it comes to the presentation template.

Slide 1: The Title Slide

The Titile Slide

The Titile Slide

The title slide is really an opportunity to call your investor meeting to order. Most of the time, investors will be in motion getting drinks, setting up, finding their partners, etc. Stay here until everyone is ready.

Important information to have on this slide includes the company name, date, and some investor-specific marking such as show in the Title Slide picture.  Why the investor-specific tag?  I think most VCs tend to honor the notion of confidential information – but don’t try to get them to sign an NDA – they’d reather not hear your pitch.  I believe the most effective way to minimize the sharing of your investor deck is to ensure the investor’s name/firm is on EVERY page. That way, if it gets around, everyone will know where it came from and that should create at least some amout of hesitation ahead of sharing.

Ideally, you’re off this slide as soon as everyone is settled or maybe just ahead of that…quick…the clock is ticking and your potential investors have very short attention spans. Trust me.

Slide 2: The Agenda & Company Snapshot

The Agenda & Company Overview Slide

The Agenda & Company Overview Slide

Next up is the Agenda/Company Snapshot slide.

In general, I believe that every slide should communicate exactly one concept (the “punchline”).  So why are there obviously two concepts on this slide?

First, the Agenda has minimal value in the presentation but you still need an opportunity to ask if there is anything that this investor/firm wants to cover that is not in your current agenda. Maybe they have an investment in this space and therefore some very specific market questions; perhaps they have heard a few interesting things about your company that they want to be sure to dig into those items before the meeting is over. Who knows…but make sure you let them know what you’re going to cover and ask if there is anything else you should be sure to hit in the course of the discussion.

The Company Snapshot serves to key purposes: first, it tells investors who are not familiar with your company what you do.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a pitch (to me, as an investor) where we’re at slide 5 in the deck and I’m still not sure what it is that this company does.  Don’t make your investors guess…lay it out simply along with the other details of your company so you don’t make anyone spend your precious pitch time on silly information you should have dished out earlier.

The second thing that the Company Snapshot slide does is create a simple and effective way for partners at the firm who were NOT at your pitch meeting to easily understand the high-level information about your company.  In most cases, there will be more people involved in making the investment decision for your company than are in the room when you first pitch – give them an easy way to start understanding why they should care about you, your company, and your opportunity. Include: business focus, target market, significant customers & partners, how many employees you have (gives them a sense of your expenses), do you have any other investors currently, when & where was the company founded, where are other offices, and what can they expect in terms of revenue and expenses (“pre-revenue” is a fair answer as well).

…next two slides in the next post.

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