Have you prepared a pitch deck for your startup?
Most likely, yeah.
However, if you are an early-stage business (pre-seed, seed, or even A) looking for your first venture capital investment, you can be 99 percent certain that your current presentation deck stinks.
Every month, every active investor analyses hundreds of company startup pitch decks. And nine out of ten of them wind up in the garbage.
It irritates me to see company founders spend so many hours creating meaningless slides that no one will read through.
Even more infuriating is that, despite the internet’s endless information on how to make a strong pitch, entrepreneurs continue to make the same mistakes, missing out on the opportunity to grab investors’ attention.
So, let’s go over the crucial errors in an investor presentation deck that every second company still does. We’ll go through each of them below, quoting prevalent misunderstandings in the form of damaging advice and explaining what’s wrong with them.
1. How lengthy should a pitch deck for an investor be? There are no restrictions!
Don’t limit yourself while creating your pitch deck. It is impossible to convey the unique concepts in a few slides. However, the investors’ main mission is to delve deep into the details while exploring the potential of the next unicorn, so 25-40 slides are considered a “good read” by the VC.
In actuality, this may be regarded as impolite: a hint that you do not value the time of your investors. The shorter the sentence, the better. The golden rule for a startup pitch deck is no more than ten slides.
2. Ignore templates and norms in favor of being innovative!
A pitch deck follows a conventional format: problem – solution – market – business model – team – traction – etc. But it’s tedious. Demonstrate that you are a creative founder. Remove all dull frameworks from your pitch deck and make it your own. Investors will remember it for weeks after reading it for the first time!
Don’t squander your time and efforts on being innovative; it might backfire. Professional investors think in terms of standardization. Assume they have a “library of startups” in their minds, organized by stage, sector, technology, business model, etc. And, when they read your pitch deck or listen to your presentation, they should be able to tell which “shell” in that library your business comes from. Whether or not it fits their main focus and mandate.
It’ll be difficult for an investor to make a quick “stop-go” choice if you’re too imaginative.
3. Storytelling will add value to the pitch deck:
Did you know that storytelling may help you sell? Every marketer understands this! In your pitch deck, you should add a narrative outlining the history of your concept and presenting a beautiful tale about how it came to you. It is advisable to create 3-5 specialized presentations (adding photos of you when the idea came into your mind will be a good fit).
When the audience has adequate time and interest to grasp your underlying motive and background, storytelling is effective for marketing or personal talks.
4. Pay greater attention to product and feature descriptions.
What distinguishes your product from the competition? Why will it be more popular with customers? It’s all about the characteristics of the product. It would be best if you were not shy about emphasizing this element and explaining in your pitch deck all of the features you have (or expect to create) over the next x years.
The product is crucial, but the features are not what will make it a great startup. It all comes down to execution and traction. As a result, it is more critical in the pitch deck to illustrate what you know about your organization and how you want to make it successful than to detail the set of features you intend to build.
5. Pretend till you make it!
This is another well-known term and piece of advice that many successful entrepreneurs have publicly repeated. Why not put it to use in your startup pitch deck? For instance, in the traction slide. Consider numbers that investors would like to see, and then just put them on paper. There is always the possibility that they will decline to proofread it.
It might be a deadly blunder that puts you on the “rejected list” and ruins your reputation in the industry. Trust is crucial when talking with business partners (and the investor might be one of them). No one will ever want to do business with you if you wreck it by claiming bogus figures and traction.
If you follow these basic principles, you can be certain that you will sabotage your fundraising efforts and leave the worst image possible. So, ensure you remember them and don’t follow them.
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