Mergelane Blog

Broadening the On-ramp for Women-run Companies

A Slide by Slide Guide to a Killer Investor Pitch

I’ve seen thousands of entrepreneurs pitch in dozens of different pitch formats, but the following is the format I’d recommend. I’ve compiled this through my own experience as an investor, the best of the existing resources I found, and input from several angel investors.  

Photo by Ministerio TIC Columbia

A Killer Investor Pitch in 13-15 Slides

This format works well for both a live presentation and an investor deck to send by email. I would just suggest putting a sentence or two of narrative on the email deck slides. Both the written and spoken presentations should be as short and sweet as possible.

Slide 1: IntroDescribe who you are and what your company does in as few words as possible. Communicate this in a way that anyone can understand. No matter how technically complicated a business is, it can always be described in simple human terms by answering three simple questions:-Who is your business serving?-Does your business provide a product or a service?-Does your business save your customers time, money, headaches or a combination of the three?

Slide 2: The ProblemWhat is the pain/problem your customers are experiencing? Your business may be solving larger societal problems, and it’s fine to mention that, but society isn’t going to pay to solve its problems. Keep your primary focus on the pain point of your users and/or paying customers.Slide 3: The Market/Opportunity– How big is the problem?–What is the size of your addressable market?–Are there any trends that are driving/will drive the growth of your market? Briefly explain.

Slide 4: The Solution–How is your company solving this problem?–Business model – How do you plan to make money doing this?*Note: Make this slide short and sweet, but IMPACTFUL. If your business model is complicated, consider breaking this into two slides: 1) The Solution and 2) The Business Model (include a list of revenue streams).Slide 5: The Competition/Competitive Advantage–Who is already solving this problem?–In what areas are they doing a good job?– In what areas are they failing?-Why is your product or service better than the competition? Communicate this in a way that explains why your product or service is better suited to solve the pain/problem your customers are experiencing.Make sure to explain: Do you have direct competitors? Indirect competitors? Is “business-as-usual” your competition? (i.e.: if you are creating a biofuel, you are not just competing with similar biofuels, you are competing with other alternative fuels as well as business-as-usual (gasoline))*Note: If explaining your competition helps to explain why your solution is so great, you may consider making this slide, slide #4. Also, if the competitive landscape is complicated, consider breaking this into two slides: 1) Competition, 2) Competitive Advantage

Slide 6: Sustainable Competitive Advantage–Do you have any unique and defendable intellectual property?-Have patents been filed?-What prevents your current or future competitors from replicating your product/service?

Slide 7: Go to Market Strategy-Are you selling direct to consumer or business to business?-Do you have any channel sales/marketing partners?-Will your company manufacture/distribute the product or will you work with partners?Slide 8: Traction-Is your product complete?– Have you earned revenue?-Do you have any contracts or letters of intent from customers/key partners?

Slide 9: The Team–Give a brief bio of each of your key team members and explain:—–Their current role in the company—–Why they are qualified to fulfill that role—–Whether they have past experience launching or exiting a company-Do you have an advisory board and who is on it?

Slide 10: Financial Projections–Include a basic chart that shows your 5-year projections for:—–Revenue—–Gross margin %—–EBITDA—–Headcount—–Unit sales*Note: If these metrics don’t make sense for your business, change accordingly. If you actually have historical financial data, include the last three years in this chart.

Slide 11: Funding and offering–How much money has been invested to date? How much money are you raising in this round?-Have you determined your company’s valuation?-Do you know whether you are raising debt or equity? Can you briefly explain the terms of the deal? 

Slide 12: Exit Strategy–How do you plan to deliver a return on investment?-What are some potential exit scenarios? Do you plan to sell the company? License your technology? Other?-What types of companies/entities would likely purchase your business or license your technology? Are there any acquisitions that have occurred in the past three years in your industry?  What was the acquisition sale price?

Slide 13: Conclusion–Briefly recap why the investment opportunity is promising-Don’t forget to include your contact information!

Related Posts

Why My Day in the Woods Was My Most Productive Work Day Yet

I am extremely disciplined and focused. However, this can also be a detriment. Anything I perceive as a distraction from my to-do list feels stressful, and I have to constantly tell myself that off-the-to-do-list opportunities are often the best opportunities. I was recently reminded of that.

Read more ➞

Episode #10: Lessons from 300+ Venture Capital Fund Pitches

For the final episode of Fund81's first season, I interviewed Jaclyn Freeman Hester from Foundry Group. As someone relatively new to the industry, she has a fresh perspective on what's compelling to institutional investors and an incredible pulse on the landscape for emerging VC managers. Enjoy!

Read more ➞

Shedding My Commitment to the Conventional Schedule

Could I be more effective if I simply surrendered to a schedule that felt natural to me? After some serious self-reflection and experimentation, I can unequivocally say YES.

Read more ➞

How I'm Doing Less to Achieve More

I’m trying to focus my time on opportunities to operate in my zone of genius and a few select priority areas in line with my passions and in which I feel I can make the most impact, aka my true north. To help all of us stay the course, I thought it might be helpful to share those priorities. ‍

Read more ➞

When Giving First Gets to Be Too Much

I gave first without question for almost five years. It came back to me in spades. I don’t regret it, and I think it was exactly the right thing for me to do at the time. But then….it just got to be too much.

Read more ➞

Episode #9 - Cryptocurrency Venture Investing: The Questions Every VC Should Ask Before Making a Crypto Investment

Dave Balter, the CEO of one of our MergeLane portfolio companies, Flipside Crypto, shares his perspective on investing in the cryptocurrency space. Dave is obsessed with and extremely knowledgeable about cryptocurrency, and has an interesting perspective from both sides of the table.

Read more ➞

Episode #8: Why Ownership Matters in Venture Investing with FirstMark's Amish Jani

Most venture capital funds target a minimum ownership percentage when making investments. In this Fund81 episode, Amish Jani, a founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital, shares his take on why ownership matters and how funds of different sizes and strategies determine ownership targets.

Read more ➞

Episode #7: Venture Capital Liquidity: Innovative Solutions for Today and the Future

Venture capital funds are typically structured to have a 10-year lifespan, but venture-backed companies often take more than 10 years to achieve an exit and return capital to their investors. In this Fund81 podcast episode, we discuss solutions to this problem with our our guest, Roland Reynolds.

Read more ➞

How 75 Ski Days Made Me a Better Venture Capitalist

This year, I decided to do an experiment. To build our MergeLane investor and mentor network, I dedicated four months to exclusively focus on meetings that involved skiing.

Read more ➞

Episode #6: Using Conscious Leadership to Be a Better VC

Conscious Leadership has been a game-changer for our partnership and our investing. For this Fund81 podcast interview, I invited my business partner at the MergeLane venture fund for high-potential startups with at least one woman in leadership, Sue Heilbronner, to talk about Conscious Leadership.

Read more ➞