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How to Prepare an Effective Pitch Deck for Venture Capitalists

The pitch deck is the first thing investors will consume about your startup. It should be self-explanatory and synthesize the critical details about your business. VCs prioritize information such as the Company Purpose, Market Size and Opportunity, and the Why Now slide that explains your company’s fiscal attractiveness.

Invest Time in Research

The time and effort you put into preparing a compelling pitch deck for venture capitalists like Brad Kern may be the most significant investment in your startup. You must research the individual investors you will be presenting to, as their areas of focus, investment theses, and targeted investment size can impact how much value your startup receives. Identify the one thing you are strongest at and build your pitch around it. This could be your team, your traction, or your market strength. Create a Company Overview slide with key highlights communicating your traction, team, press, and high-level financial information. Depending on your preference, this can be included early in the presentation or at the end. Detailed financials and market research should also be readily available to investors interested.

Be Prepared for Questions

The time and thought you put into a strong pitch deck can be one of the most significant investments you make as an entrepreneur. But content is only half the story – you also need to be prepared to answer questions from investors. After clearly defining the problem your company solves, you need to explain how your solution addresses the issue better than existing solutions (such as clipping coupons or taking too much time comparing prices). Showing your product in action through screenshots, animation, or video is always helpful. Investors will likely ask about your market research and financial projections. Having these slides ready and available is critical, but be careful to keep your market size and sales forecast manageable. Keep these slides short and to the point.

Be Prepared for the Worst Case Scenario

Investors will be concerned about the market size, how large it is expected to grow, and who else is operating in it. The last point is significant, as investors will want to understand how your company stands apart from and improves upon the competition. The next section of your deck should be about the problem you’re addressing and how it needs to be solved. This is one of the best ways to hook investors and make them want to hear more about your startup. Finally, the last slide should cover your business model. This is a crucial part of your pitch and will be the biggest reason why an investor decides to give you money or not. This should include your sales figures, growth, and projected numbers.

Be Prepared for the Best Case Scenario

VCs like to see that you’re taking your product to market in a way that will generate revenue. You should put this at the beginning of your slide deck or right before your Team Slide – either way, it’s something that investors like to know about for diligence purposes. Describe the problem your solution solves and how it will save customers time and money. Use real-life examples and images to illustrate this. This slide should communicate critical milestones and metrics, including a timeline for growth. This also includes an expected return on investment and any other financial projections you may have. Seed investors seek a reasonable amount of revenue to justify their investment. They don’t want to invest in companies that aren’t going to succeed.

Be Prepared for the Future

VCs will want to know how you plan to use any funding they provide. They may also ask for detailed financial projections if they invest at the Series B level and beyond. Your action plan is a high-level overview of your long-term goals and how you plan to achieve them. This can include launching new products, expanding into new markets, or hiring additional staff. Your team slide is a chance to discuss your people and their accomplishments. This is a great way to impress VCs and play the name game, including bios with pictures and links to their LinkedIn profiles. Investors often call up their connections to check your team for background diligence.

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