The DeckThere are already a number of great resources on pitch decks. Here are a few solid ones as a starting point:
- Vision Worth Fighting For
- Problem Statement
- Traction (if you have)
- Market Opportunity
- Distribution (Customer Acquisition)
- Business Model
- The Ask
- Milestones: What are you going to do with the money?
In addition to the structure, we encourage founders to keep the presentation very visual without too much text. You should never read directly from a slide. If you’re sending the deck ahead of time, it might be appropriate to have a bit more text if the visuals don’t stand on their own – but always strive to trim as much text as possible.
The MeetingYou should be able to cover your ~10 slide deck in about 20-25 minutes, leaving at least 10-20 minutes for questions. If interrupted during your pitch, address the question or concern and then get back to the deck. When you first sit down with the investor, make sure you ask how much time they have. Often, investors allocate an hour for the meeting but like to end 10 minutes early to debrief or make notes before their next meeting. Sometimes the day is running behind and you might have an abbreviated 30 minute meeting. Make sure to ask and tailor your speaking accordingly. Finally, small talk before diving into the deck can be key. An investor-startup relationship will hopefully last many years, and is bound to experience ups and downs. Start by building a personal relationship and trying to find shared interests or experiences. Often an investor will make a decision of how engaged they will be during the meeting in those first few minutes.