There is no perfect pitch. When I was raising money, every investor responded to something slightly different. Ultimately, nothing speaks louder than a winning team, product, and market. But a good pitch deck can really help you tell your story.
Each pitch is unique. They vary by category. Content matters more than format. With those caveats, below is the outline for a deck in the B2B space. It’s the composite of slides used in pitches that resulted in investment from us.
When it comes to presentation, it goes without saying that the best pitches:
- Tell your audience what you’re doing, why the market will be big, and why you will win.
- Provide an imperative and a sense of urgency — they answer the questions “Why now?” and “What’s changed?”
- Provide real insight — into the market, customer pain, or a unique approach.
- Hook the investor — with compelling customers or user numbers (unless it’s a seed stage deal — even then, potential numbers or customers are helpful).
- Are delivered with knowledge, passion, and conviction by the entrepreneur.
0. Front slide
YourCo — Vision Statement or The Leading XX for YY — Your name(s)
1. Company Snapshot
What you are Key Figures
Customer painpoint/Your value prop
Sales (if you have them)
Selected (potential) customer logo’s
Recent product milestone
(It’s great discipline to have a Company Snapshot outside your deck – a dashboard that you use internally to monitor your business and track progress.)
Entrepreneur / CEO
Highlight a few key accomplishments for each person listed. Focus on the core team — that’s who your potential investors are funding. If there’s a key adviser or two, speak to them.
3. Market Overview — Your Market $X Today, $Y Tomorrow
Insightful market statistics or top players and key stats
The big market you’re playing in, even if you’re in a small segment of it today
Why it will be big
Why investors should care
4. The “Disruption” or “Driving Force”
What’s your insight? Talk about your insight into disruptions taking place in your space.
What do customers care about this?
What’s different now than five or ten years ago?
What’s changed (human behavior, sales model enabled by Internet, utility computing, how people spend their time, etc.)? Often this is a statement like X combined with Y means…
What is this a must-have?
Do more than just show your product — use the screenshot to highlight one key element of your approach. For example, take a specific product feature and use it to emphasize a pillar of your whole approach — agile development, ease of use, automation, user-generated content, etc.
6. Proven Success
YourCo is Winning
Key metrics for customer painpoint and your value proposition (value delivered – however you measure it, cost savings, etc.)
7. Business Model
Keep it simple – Illustrate via two or three graphical boxes and arrows
Stats on sales cycle
Chart on number of users/customers/objects/transactions/etc. growth over time (depending on your stage)
Go to market – direct / channel / etc.
8. Your Customers
Customer logo’s and compelling numbers, if you have them
If possible, show by vertical or solution area (shows you are thoughtful about and a leader in given areas)
If you have a customer sat number that is compelling, include it
9. How Customers Use Your Product
3 or 4 case studies / use cases on a single slide — what was the use, revenue value, etc.
Use this to really drive home your value proposition, customer pain points/value
Key tenets of your product
Relate to earlier screenshot slide — what drives you? Value proposition? Key features? Fast iteration? Ability to scale? Customer sat?
11. Product Futures
Cross of go to market combined with product roadmap
Where things will be when you’re bigger — good place to talk about platform/API’s, vertical solutions, partner strategy, mobile, or just your next version
12. Competitive Landscape
Suggest a 2 by 2 matrix with your company in upper right
Pick axis’s that highlight your strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses
Put a few companies that are really relevant and speak to them knowledgeably.
13. Your Competitive Advantages
Re-emphasize your advantages over the competition
Why you will win
Don’t leave the competitive slide out there without speaking to why you will win
14. Financials – A $XXM+ Business in 5 years
Last year – This year – Next year (depending on stage)
Use a graphic to show the ramp for next 5 years (include previous years if possible)
15. Use of Proceeds
Size of the raise
What three key things will you accomplish with this round of funding?
How do you capture the opportunity and remove risks that will lead you to a successful next fund raising round? Hiring? Product? Key customers?
16. Backup Slide – Bottom Up Analysis
Bottom-up analysis of the market in support of slide 3, if asked.
Manage Your Time
A big part of delivering a great pitch is managing your time. Investors ask questions — your goal should be to answer these questions but deliver your key points. A good slide deck can help you with the message but also act as a framework to keep things on track for both you — and your audience.
A compelling product that delivers real customer or user value, and an entrepreneur with a vision for that product, is at the heart of every great company. Without a product customers want to buy, or a site users want to use, there is little to talk about. But with that in hand, a great pitch can mean the difference between interest and commitment from potential employees, customers, and investors. As the old saying goes, always put your best foot forward…
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