Being an entrepreneur at heart and an investor by profession, I have sat through many pitch sessions wherein most of the first time founders are ill prepared for it. Please remember, it is not the VC that needs you to have a deck to pitch, you as a founder need to have a well-drafted investor pitch deck. It helps present your idea effectively and stay focused on the story you want to convey through the deck. Many times, founders while pitching get excited about certain aspects of the business and lose the continuity of the story thereby making it an unstructured talk rather than a pitch. 

To avoid such situations, I have put across a slide-by-slide template for founders to make a super awesome investor pitch deck which can help you raise an angel or a pre-series A round.

Here are the 11 slides that entrepreneurs should have in their investor pitch deck:

Opening Slide

This is your first slide so make sure it’s impactful. Use your Logo and a one-line description of your company in less than 50 characters.

Slide No. 1 – Team & Advisors

If you are a startup seeking angel round, then this is the most important factor in your success. Products pivot, business models evolve and markets change, the most critical thing is the founding team. Contrary to popular opinion, I feel that the team slide should be the first slide of the pitch deck. In cricket, you’d want your best batsman to open the innings and this is akin to that.

Investors look out for:

  • Does your team have the complementary skill set?
  • How long have the founders known each other? Have they worked together?
  • Is this the right set of a team for this particular business?
  • The team has the right mix of corporate and entrepreneurial experience?
  • Can the founder hire the right kind of talent required for this business?

 

Slide No. 2 – Defining the problem statement

This is the most critical slide since it defines the problem you are trying to solve. Choose every word carefully to define the problem objectively.

Investors look out for:

  • Is the company solving a big enough problem/need for the customer? Is it a real problem? Is it an interesting problem?
  • Is this a problem faced by at least 1% of the country’s population?
  • Are people willing to pay you for solving this problem?
  • Are people consciously aware of this problem or do you need to create awareness?

investor pitch deck problem statement

Slide No. 3 – What is your solution to the problem?

This is the product slide. Founders often make this slide very difficult to understand. Make it simple. Mention only the key features.

Investors look out for:

  • Is your solution to solving the problem completely or just partially?
  • What is the core value proposition of the solution?
  • Is it saving money for the customer? Or is it saving time for the customer? Or is it providing convenience?
  • Is it a ‘good to have’ solution or a ‘must have’ solution for the customer?

Slide No. 4 – How does it work?

A process flow diagram to explain how does your model work might help here. Include all participants in the value chain.

Investors look out for:

  • Does it create any entry barriers in the business?
  • Dependencies in serving the customer? Is it seamless?
  • Is it a simple process? Or does it involve a change in customer behaviour?
  • Who has the ‘bargaining power’ in the entire value chain?

Slide No. 5 – Addressable Market

This slide is mainly to understand two things:
(A) Size of the addressable market
(B) Growth in the addressable market – both past and estimated future growth percentage

What is important is that an entrepreneur mentions the correct source (yes I have received pitch decks without the source of information on the market slide!!). Founders should talk about their immediate target market. Investors are more keen to understand how will you capture 10% of your addressable market rather than 0.1% of the total market.

Investors look out for:

  • Is the addressable market expected to expand or shrink in the future?
  • What are the key value drivers of growth in the market?
  • Is the timing right to invest in this market?
  • Will the company be able to garner a big share of a small market in the next 12 months?

 

Slide No. 6 – Go To Market (GTM) Strategy

Be very precise in writing this slide. Specific action points should be mentioned. This slide should answer three questions:

  1. Who are you selling it to?
  2. How will you reach your target market?
  3. Where will you promote your product?

Investors look out for:

  • Customer personas, minimum viable segment, branding, customer acquisition methods, channel strategy, marketing strategy, product positioning.
  • B2B2C, B2B, B2C – which model does the company operate in? What are the challenges?
  • Strategic alliances, SEO, referral programs, content strategy, social media strategy

investor pitch deck GTM strategy

Slide No. 7 – Pricing/Business Model/Unit Economics

Mention the overall pricing strategy and margin (%) profile on this slide. If you have multiple price options (like a SaaS business),  then mention it here.

Investors look out for:

  • What is the basis for pricing? Cost + margin strategy or competition benchmarking?
  • Is the product/solution under-priced or over-priced?
  • Is it a profitable business model?

 

Slide No. 8 – Competition

Generally, a competitive landscape mapping is good on this slide. Do not forget to mention any relevant competitor whether a startup or an MNC. You need to have a very good understanding of the space since investors meet many founders, so you would not want to miss out any important names. Mention only direct competitors and not indirect competitors.

Also while making a table on feature comparison, the key is to select important and relevant features – not those in which your product gets all the ‘ticks’ and competition gets ‘crosses’. Be honest and precise.

Investors look out for:

  • Is the company building a 10X better product than its closest competitor or is it just an incremental improvement?
  • Is there any ‘Learning curve’ or ‘first mover advantage’ in the space?
  • Is it a ‘Winners takes it all’ market?
  • Are there strong sustainable competitive advantages (or moats) the company has built around it?

 

Slide No. 9 – Traction

Mention the right metric for your industry. Do not use vanity metrics to show traction. Investors are interested in knowing whether you can growth hack and get sales with limited funding. They’d want to know if you have a repeat clientele or if your average revenue per user is increasing or how does your speed of execution or revenue pipeline look like.

Some examples can be:
(A) Were they able to get paid for POCs? What is the time taken to close a deal (for B2B)?
(B) Supply-side onboarding growth metrics – aggregator, marketplace
(C) Distribution points, revenue growth – Consumer product non-tech.
(D) Virality, DAUs, MAUs, engagement, retention metrics for app-based startups

Investors look out for:

  • Can the team sell? Do they have ‘hustlers’ in the team?
  • Are they focused on cash flows or only on building the product?
  • How did they get/source the first 10 customers?
  • Learnings from the feedback of the first few customers have been implemented or not?

Slide No. 10 – Roadmap for the next 12-18 months

This slide can be divided into three sections:

  1. Product roadmap – new features, variations, new SKUs, new categories etc
  2. Technology roadmap – how new tech implementation will support the product roadmap.
  3. Business roadmap – new geographies, new target markets, new customer segments etc

Investors look out for:

  • Are the future plans too aggressive or too conservative?
  • What % of the targets need to be achieved for its next milestone? Milestones can be breakeven, next round of funding etc
  • Is the current round of funding enough to achieve the stated targets/roadmap?

Slide No. 11 – The ASK

This slide should clearly spell out the below-mentioned points:

  1. Amount of fundraising and its utilization
  2. Valuation (depends upon the comfort of the founders)
  3. Investment timelines (if any)
  4. Amount of soft commitments received (if any)
  5. Key investors in the previous rounds (if any)
  6. Some examples of recent deals in this space can be helpful.

Investors look out for:

  • Will the current ask impact next round of funding?
  • Founders dilution? Do not want them to get too much diluted. Founders skin in the game?
  • Can Investors make significant money at this price?

 

Some information is best suited for the Annexures section like:

  1. Awards and Recognition
  2. Coverage in press
  3. Product walkthroughs
  4. Financial Projections
  5. Case Study

Some founders put very little information on the investor pitch deck since most of them share the pitch deck without signing any NDA with the investors. My point is, information should be sufficient enough to generate interest. Investors receive hundreds of pitch decks every week. A good investor pitch deck indicates that you have thought through your business from various angles and you are making the job of the investor easier. Another option can be that a detailed investor pitch deck is used to present in person and an abridged version to send it on email.

The above are my takeaways from my experiences so far on how an investor pitch deck should look like. One can use this as a guidebook and modify it to suit their own needs.

The author of this article is Adith Podhar, an ex-entrepreneur and currently the founding and managing partner at Gemba Capital. If you are a founder raising an angel round, then send him your pitch deck and reach out to him at info@gembacapital.in.

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