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.
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: Intro: Describe 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 Problem: What 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:
- Gross margin %
- 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!
In this latest Fund81 podcast episode, I share my 2020 plans for the Fund81 forum and podcast, and a few reflections from my short bout of holiday depression.
I’ve now read over a thousand startup investor updates. The most effective updates — the ones that immediately grab my attention and heighten my interest — have similar characteristics. My advice is below, along with a comprehensive template for startup investor updates.
At MergeLane, we’ve been thinking about how changing market conditions may affect our fund in the future. I know many of our listeners are asking themselves that question as well. Our guest, Liza Benson, thrived as a VC through both the dot-com crash in 2000 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Beezer Clarkson invests in early-stage venture funds at Sapphire Partners (the division within Sapphire Ventures that invests in venture funds). In this episode, Beezer shares her perspective on venture capital trends, VC firm differentiation, and nonobvious mistakes for VC fund managers to avoid.
As an entrepreneur and startup investor, I have had many moments of feeling like I am pushing water uphill with a rake. Sometimes, I have kept pushing and have succeeded out of sheer grit. Sometimes, it was time to admit defeat. Two years ago, I had one of those moments.
Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at the Hustle Fund, shared her thoughts on how to assess a startup’s ability to “hustle”. Her thoughts are applicable to venture capitalists, startups and anyone who wants to work with hustlers.
Nearly every email I receive starts with “Sorry for the delay.” Our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.
We asked our Fund81 forum for venture capitalists to nominate portfolio companies to participate in a startup showcase. We received over 50 nominations. Four of those startups are featured in this episode.
Jocelyn Goldfein from Zetta Venture Partners joined the Fund81 podcast to share her approach to investing in artificial intelligence (AI). With the cost of creating software continuing to decline, Zetta believes the companies of the future will need to build more than just great software to thrive.
I love being active, but I also have high professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to find a productive balance between the two. In this episode, Nicole DeBoom, pro triathlete turned CEO of Skirt Sports, and I share our thoughts on how to fit fitness into a startup schedule.