How Startups Create an Investor Pitch Deck That Makes Sense

You’re not pitching your startup, you’re pitching an investment

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Don’t ask randos to review your pitch deck.

Please don’t send me your deck.

Don’t create the deck to create the deck.

I’ve seen a ton of pitch decks that were just paint-by-numbers affairs with some of the right information randomly tossed into a slide-salad of sorts. Most pitch decks are overkill; they’re boring; and they make investors want to stop reading after the second or third slide.

Don’t copy a winning deck

I have a source who sends me awesome winning pitch decks every once in a while (with permission and after the raise). They’re great, and I learn a lot from them. But I don’t ever copy them.

Don’t stare at a blank slide.

This is like staring at a blank page and trying to write a novel. Or trying to build a house out of a giant lump of clay. Yes, you can get the shape right, but it’s going to suck. First you need a plan.

Always start with an outline

In this case, you need an outline, and you need to start the outline with sections. I usually start with three basic sections:

  • Company progress to date.
  • How you are uniquely positioned to address the growth vectors in the market you detailed in the previous section.
  • Your solution, in detail.
  • How your solution will grow and scale, including hinting at your B-story and C-story which are the plans you’re making for AFTER you use up all the funds from this raise.

Start your investment deck as an explainer deck

I see this all the time: Usually the first few slides are well-designed visuals, then the deck devolves into slide after slide of bulleted text that completely runs out of steam right at the most important moment, the ask for the money.

Update your deck after every pitch

Once you have your story straight, an outline that tells that story in a cohesive manner, and a deck that converts that story into something digestible, stick to the information that matters in investor meetings.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Building Precision Fermentation & Teaching Startup. Former Spiffy & Automated Insights. More at joeprocopio.com

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