Why is your pitch deck so important? The obvious answer is that it’s the primary tool you’ve got to secure funding from angel investors and VCs. It’s how you convince me that your startup is worth not only my capital but also my time. As an angel investor, I’m more likely than your average VC to brave the early, risky rounds of funding and hang in there with you, providing mentorship and guidance along the way. So, for me, a pitch deck needs to be more than just numbers and spreadsheets – it has to tell the story of who you are, who’s behind you, and why you’re offering me an opportunity to ride the trajectory of your success alongside you. Here’s what I look for in a pitch deck.
Top 3 Things To Keep In Mind For A Compelling Angel Investor Pitch Deck
1. Give Me The Facts
The facts themselves are important, but the reason I want to see them is that I want to know that you know what’s important and where your business is headed. While every pitch deck is unique to the company it represents, there are some basic elements consistently provided in decks that investors expect to see. Here are some of the must-have items you should include in your pitch deck for me to keep reading or listening.
- Basic company information: your name, your company name, any existing branding elements like logos and taglines.
- Mission and Vision: This is where you really catch an investor’s eye and set up who you are and what you stand for.
- Your Team: I want to see a breakdown of your team. A startup team is critical, perhaps more so than the founder, and I want to know they’re aligned behind you and ready to put the work in to succeed.
- Confidentiality Language: This is more for your own protection than something that I need to see as an angel investor, but include some confidentiality language on your cover page. Here’s an example: “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.”
- Pain Points: Right off the bat, I want to know what consumer pain point your solution addresses.
- Your Solution: How does your solution work? It can be compelling to include a demo of your product or service, too.
- Beta Results, Use Cases & Traction: Show me your solution in action and the feedback you’ve received, so we can see that you’re strategically aligned with your target audience and market opportunity. Growth metrics, strategic partnership, testimonials, early press, and awards can all be included here.
- Your Tech: How does your tech work? I want to know you understand it deeply and completely.
- Business Model and Market Opportunity: I want to know how you are (or are planning to) generate revenue. You can include your KPIs, OKRs, LTV: CAC, and your TAM SAM SOM knowledge here. Give me your pricing model, too.
- Competitive Assessment: Who is your competition? Knowing this is as important as understanding who your market is – because they’re fighting you for them.
- Use of Funds: Finally, let’s get to financials. I want to know how you use your money, so I can get an idea of how you’ll use my money if I invest as well.
- The Ask: What are you asking for? Even if we end up negotiating for something different, I need to hear what you are looking for and why so I can understand how you think and determine whether you value what I offer. The questions I want you to be able to answer here are: how much do you need, for how long, and what will you be able to achieve as a result?
- Overall: keep the language accessible – no insider jargon or arrogant posturing.
2. Keep It Brief
But I just told you to give me all the information I need, right? The key to remember here is that your pitch deck shouldn’t be 65 slides of information that an investor has to slog through to get the picture. So, try to keep it to 15-20 slides. You want to share enough information to be compelling and exciting, but don’t use your pitch deck as a crutch. You don’t need to include every financial detail (you can send that along afterward if your investor wants more information) and you don’t need to cover everything. There’s a delicate balance between what the presentation offers and what you offer but err on the side of the deck complementing your presentation skills, not serving as the star of the show.
You can, however, create a longer version of your pitch deck that is designed to be left behind or read privately by an investor. Because you won’t be present, it’s okay to get a little more detailed here. Even so, your deck is a strategic tool that you employ to secure the meeting that is the actual opportunity. It’s a teaser that should hook an investor into wanting to meet with you, where you’ll have the opportunity to close the deal and secure your funding in person.
The same goes for both your in-person presentation and your pitch deck: know when you have time for a 10 minute, 5-minute, 3-minute, or 30-second pitch, and be ready with the information you need to take every advantage of the opportunity at hand.
3. Make It Visually Appealing
Anyone who lived through the early days of PowerPoint knows that there is a necessary equilibrium between attractive and overwrought when it comes to pitch deck construction. Here are some tips for constructing a visually appealing pitch deck:
- Include visual imagery and graphic representation in a tasteful, balanced way, to ensure it complements the information and makes it more readily accessible, not distracting.
- Be consistent with fonts, font size, colors, and formatting.
- Send it in PDF format to your investors. I do not want to have to navigate a digital folder to download your deck.
Pitch Decks Are Both Art & Science
You can follow instructions from countless websites on how to construct the perfect pitch deck, but, in the end, it’s a trial and error process. Getting feedback from investors (whether you move forward together or not) is a great way to improve your unique pitch deck and show them that you’re receptive to advice. Ultimately, I am investing in you as much as I am investing in your business. Your pitch deck isn’t the only thing that matters, but it should tell a compelling story that hooks me to want to hear more. And, even more importantly, if poorly constructed, it can tell me that you’re not ready.
If you’ve got a compelling pitch deck that tells the story of your game-changing, revolutionary tech startup, I want to see it.
Enjoy the ride.