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Your Pitch Deck Is Done, But Is It Ready for Prime Time?

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Tony Clemendor has been a member of Founders Community since January 2013. He’s additionally been a outstanding FN member in our Silicon Valley Chapter. To obtain peer mentorship from Tony and over 600 fellow Tech Founders, please request an invitation and be a part of our international community.

A lot of the info on the Web about investor shows is both about the way to create your pitch deck and presentation from scratch or is the standard record of slides that you simply’re supposed to incorporate, like “Drawback”, “Answer”, and so on. Founders often get sufficient info from these assets to get the fundamentals down and put collectively a set of slides, however not sufficient to actually assist them create an efficient deck.

In my pitch advisory apply, founders not often come to me for assist in constructing their first deck. The extra widespread state of affairs is that they’ve already created a deck, used it in shows to some investor audiences, tried to determine why they don’t seem to be producing curiosity, and need to know “how they will make their deck higher”.

These founders had decks that have been “carried out” however weren’t actually prepared for prime time. Amongst different issues, the founders tended to have dedicated a number of of a brief record of typical errors that routinely acquired them on the “Thanks for coming. Communicate” record.

A few of you could be fortunate sufficient to have entry to an area accelerator the place, amongst different issues, you’ll have entry to individuals that may aid you hone your deck. Then again, if all you need assistance with is your deck, an accelerator is overkill.

Others of you may belong to a peer to a peer founders group like The Founders Community, who present workplace hours to their members and pitch follow periods. Each of these choices supply a low-risk method to get third-party suggestions in your presentation and options on issues you are able to do to enhance it.

Assuming that you have already got a deck and also you: don’t but belong to a gaggle, don’t need to be a part of an accelerator at present, or are only a Do-it-yourself sort, I needed to supply some assist. I need to aid you take a step again and see your deck from an investor’s perspective. Amongst different issues, I sit on the choice committee for an angel group and see pitches and pitch decks on a regular basis.

“In an investor presentation, you’re delivering the story. Your deck incorporates the illustrations that go together with the story.”

Moderately than spend this publish speaking about learn how to create an investor presentation, I needed to as an alternative, create a guidelines of types that you may use to see in case your deck simply wants a bit of assist with the visuals or the content material. I’ll then recommend particular issues you are able to do to right away make your presentation simpler. A generic one-size-fits-all submit like this will solely go to date to enhance your deck, however it could definitely assist you to keep away from a complete “PitchWreck”.

The guidelines I discussed earlier has two elements. The primary is the visible guidelines and the second is the content material guidelines. Understand that presentation decks are very totally different from decks that you simply e-mail to somebody or add whenever you apply for funding such as you would on Gust. On this publish, the guidelines is for presentation decks.

The Visible Guidelines

The visible guidelines is concerning the impression that your deck makes. It helps should you perceive a primary fact first: Your deck just isn’t a teleprompter and can also be not designed to be learn by you or your viewers. In an investor presentation, you’re delivering the story. Your deck accommodates the illustrations that go together with the story. Just like the illustrations in a storybook, your deck ought to create some emotional response, create a connection, or emphasize one thing you need your viewers to know or keep in mind.

Your viewers can’t actually do two issues directly nicely. On this case, they will’t learn and analyze your slides and take heed to you on the similar time. You need them to be impressed with you, not your slides. Your viewers can also’t keep in mind greater than a specific amount of data, so don’t overwhelm them with complexity. Your slides are usually not actually there to convey info. That’s your job. Your slides ought to join info with a sense.

For each elements of the guidelines, you’ll have to run by way of your slides shortly. For the visible guidelines, attempt to approximate the attitude of your potential viewers. In different phrases, don’t simply sit in entrance of your pc, hook up with a display and sit behind the room together with your distant. Attempt to get a way of how your viewers will have the ability to see your presentation.

Run via your deck taking a look at every slide for one thing lower than 10 seconds per slide, then shut your eyes. Ask your self:

  • What do you keep in mind most from that slide?
  • What did you need individuals to remove from that slide?
  • Have been these two issues the identical?
  • Are you able to learn the whole lot on the slide within the few seconds?
  • Did the pictures on the slide make you are feeling something?
  • Did they improve the important thing takeaway? The important thing emotion?
  • Did every little thing you noticed on the slide appear to be straightforward to know?
  • Did you mechanically “get” what the slide was making an attempt to inform you?


There are various extra questions you’ll be able to ask, however these are a very good begin. Write down your most important takeaway after every slide as an inventory. You’ll need to learn by way of the record and see in case you assume that the sequence of takeaways is sensible.

You (and your viewers) ought to be capable of digest every thing significant in your slide in Three-6 seconds. And if there’s something in your slide that isn’t significant, it’s only a distraction.

For any slide the place there was a disconnect between the message you needed to convey and your precise takeaway, return to that slide and take into consideration what’s inflicting the disconnect. Was it the phrasing? One thing on the slide that was distracting or off message? Did the picture conflict with the message?

For any slide the place you weren’t capable of learn all the textual content in a couple of seconds, the straightforward reply is seize your purple pen and reduce down phrases. In a world with Twitter character limits, having few phrases on a slide must be straightforward. Keep in mind that the sizzle is in your script. You’re the star. Your deck is your backup singer. You (and your viewers) ought to have the ability to digest every part significant in your slide in Three-6 seconds. And if there’s something in your slide that isn’t significant, it’s only a distraction.

Pay specific consideration to any graphics you introduced. The most important visible crimes appear to occur with the visuals. For instance, for those who use a competitor matrix, don’t have 20 corporations within the matrix. Don’t make your axes obscure. The slide under got here from a deck that had success in elevating funds, however additionally they had large traction and made cash earlier than they began fundraising. Whereas the traction information of their deck was nice, their competitors slide was fairly dangerous. It was so dangerous that you simply won’t even be capable of inform which firm the deck was for (I’ll inform you later). Are you able to see a transparent winner within the slide in lower than 10 seconds?

The Content material Guidelines

The second a part of the guidelines is the content material aspect. Whereas a lot of the templates on the market speak about what slides it is advisable to embrace, they need to actually speak about what “content material”. Buyers are in search of sure info. Most don’t care for those who give each bit of data by itself distinctive slide, so long as they get what they’re in search of.

So somewhat than provide the listing of template headings that you simply’re little question accustomed to, I’ll offer you some questions and a small task. The best way that we’ll do that part is to have you ever learn a query, then go to the actual slide in your deck that clearly solutions that query. Once I say “clearly”, I imply clearly to somebody that’s seeing your organization and your deck for the primary time.   I additionally imply “clearly” to somebody whose mind is fried from the opposite eight decks they noticed as we speak or the 40 decks they noticed this week.


  • Who precisely is experiencing the ache you’re fixing?
  • What proof do you’ve that it’s a significant ache level to that individual?
  • What have you ever truly accomplished thus far (what have you ever created, who have you ever spoken to)?
  • How would a consumer work together together with your product/service?
  • How does the consumer interplay particularly clear up/scale back the ache level?
  • What proof do you’ve gotten that clients would change from the established order to your answer?
  • When you don’t have proof (i.e. traction), why do you assume that clients will reply to you positively?
  • How does your organization earn a living?
  • What proof do you’ve that your viewers can pay in your answer?
  • Who’s the paying buyer and the way do you get them in your funnel?
  • What expertise, experiences, and backgrounds does your staff have that make them probably to achieve success (going to a sure faculty doesn’t inform me that)?
  • Why couldn’t or wouldn’t a well-funded behemoth do what you’re doing?
  • What’s the present state of the corporate and product?
  • What do you’ll want to transfer ahead and the place does that get you?
  • Why are you and your workforce those to guess on (keep in mind that individuals spend money on individuals)?

These usually are not all the questions, however they’re questions that I see unanswered typically and having a great reply for all of those will assist set you aside. If yow will discover a transparent reply to all of those questions in your slides and the solutions are spectacular and memorable, most individuals gained’t care what slide you set the knowledge on.

When your presentation makes it via each checklists with no main gaps, you have already got a greater deck than most. If you’d like bonus factors, do the guidelines with somebody who isn’t a part of your organization. Present them the presentation and ask them the questions. You may be shocked at what they picked up and what they missed. At a minimal, the guidelines strategy will let you already know the place to focus your enchancment efforts. When you made the enhancements, simply rinse and repeat till you hit all the guidelines flags.

(BTW. The competitors slide above was from Buffer’s $400okay profitable seed increase. If you wish to understand how they raised the cash regardless of the dangerous slide, I wrote about it right here.)


Good Luck!

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