Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Funded - a perfect deck

Having done over 150 investor pitches across five companies, a concise and well-organized deck is critical to success. No deck will be "perfect," but here is what I learned.

First, the deck should evolve as you meet with investors and evaluate their reaction to each slide, so use version numbers with the file to avoid confusion when sending the deck around. Next, avoid revealing confidential information, such as pending business deals or secret release features. Finally, make sure that each slide is very concise, using one line of text per bullet and no more than six bullets per slide. If possible, use graphics or a chart instead of text.

The whole deck should take 20 to 30 minutes to get through without questions, assuming that half of the meeting will be questions. The ten slides that you need, in my experience, are:

1. Vision: What are you trying to do, and why are you doing it?

2. Market: What is the market you are addressing and the estimated value of this market over the next 5 to 10 years?

3. Team: Who are the key three to five executives (Vision, Operations, Tech, Sales, Marketing), and what are their specific qualifications in the target market?

4. Offering: What is your exact offering? If possible, present a three to five minute pre-recorded video demonstration.

5. Roadmap: Where are you in your offering release cycle and with respect to gaining traction?

6. Deals: What are your major partnerships, relationships, etc.? This slide should include various logos.

7. Differentiation: How are you different from your three main competitors? This slide should have a simple table.

8. Stats: What are the basic statistics of your company (Round, Investors, Employees, Location)?

9. Financials: What is your high-level projected P&L for the next two years plus the current and previous year, if available?

10. Capital: How much capital are you raising and what will it be used for?

This type of simple presentation has always worked for me. Please add any other ideas or lessons that have worked for you.

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