What to include in a pitch deck when pitching to Angel Investors
This article was first published on Shao-Ning’s Blog.
What is a pitch deck?
The pitch deck is a tool to help you present and communicate to the persons sitting across the table what your business is about. Not exactly a 5min summary, but the pitch (and deck) should not be too long too. Such meetings are usually not more than 45min to a maximum of an hour long. You should spend at most 15-25min presenting, and use the rest of the time to have Q&As.
How many pages should be included in a pitch deck?
Depending on the stage of the company, your deck should be at most 15-20pages long, yes including the cover, excluding the appendix. Post-A companies have more info to share, so they could go up to 30-40pages. But for angel/seed rounds, please try to keep it to <20pages.
In no particular order (ok, intro and title need to be upfront) I list down the key content on what to include in a pitch deck when pitching to angel investors. How you intend to flow the content, really depends on your personal style and your storytelling. When you are pitching, you are actually telling a story of your business, your dream, and your ambitions. So structure and sequence the content to follow your storytelling style and content.
Here’s what to include in a pitch deck:
- Title / Intro – for early companies, here you should be explaining why you are doing what you are doing.
- Team – profile of your team; some include their prominent investor, advisor, and/or mentor profiles here to boost their credibility. The key idea of this page: ReasonS you are the kick-ass team to back to solve this problem.
- Problem + Problem Owner ID – what’s your problem statement? What’s the big problem that you are committing your life to solve now? Who has this problem?
- Size of the problem – why is this problem worth solving? Ok, this slide is a.k.a. the market sizing slide – TAM / SAM / SOM. Also, do a lot of people have this problem currently? How are they solving it now? Are they willing to pay to solve it?
- Solution / Product – what’s your proposed solution / your idea of the product that will solve THE problem well, and what are the special features that you thought would make your solution/product the best relevant to your problem? (side note: this is when we talk about vitamins vs painkillers when designing your solution. Does your solution really solve the problem, or just help to solve the problem?)
- Business / Revenue Model – how do you intend to make money? How would you charge and why? Focus on the model and the rationale for choosing such a pricing model. You may be asked for the specifics on how much you intend to charge. Respond with your rationale for this pricing model; but please realise that pricing is a perpetual experiment and you will never have a conclusion no matter how matured your business is.
- Go To Market – for the very early companies, how you intend to introduce the service to the market? for those post-MVP and with some revenue, what’s your insight to marketing that can get you a ready stream of customers? The keyword here is “insights” to the customers and to the users. Special caution to those in double-sided network plays, this could be your “moat” in building defensibility too.
- Business Progress / Key metrics to-date – Show concrete data on your business traction. Use relevant KPIs. To me, this is one of the most crucial pages in the deck – it tells me quite a lot of the founders: do they know what to measure? Do they know who needs their solution? Does the target audience like / willing to pay for the solution?
- Competition – locally and regionally. For me, this page is just to get a sense if the founders are aware of the market and what the competition is doing. I only get alarmed when the founders say they have no competition. Either they really found a fantastic business opportunity that no one else has discovered, or they have not researched the market enough and kidding themselves. Usually the latter.
- Fundraising summary and fund usage intended – quick one on asking valuation and amount you want to raise; how the funds will be used; most importantly, where would this money get you to? What kind of progress would you make with this money, hence the next page…
- Product Roadmap!
Some observations from pitch decks and presentations I have sat through:
- Every page is a chance to sell, and fundraising is a sales process. The real product that you are selling is the company you intend to build + YOU!
- Try to have a product deck, or a tech deck, separate from the pitch deck. Some pitch decks are so loaded with product features that the founders spend too much time explaining the technical details. Those should be kept to second or even third meetings. First or second meetings are to convince the investors that this is an interesting problem with large market potential and we are the right team with the right aptitude + attitude + experience to solve this chosen problem.
Sometimes the investor may ask to skip the presentation and just want to “chit-chat” and talk shop. Don’t worry about that. Don’t panic. You could still have your deck up and you should still make use of it for the “chit-chat” Point is, a deck is a tool, not the main cast. You are the main cast, you will use your deck to support your conversation to convince the person across the table that you are a good founder to back.
Very often, we meet founders with interesting ideas and opportunities, but there are not enough tractions for us to continue our explorations. We would tell the founders to keep us in the loop and reconnect when say the revenue crosses a few 1000 monthly CONSISTENTLY, or your key user matrix has hit a certain level. Don’t get discouraged when you are told this. It’s actually a good sign!
I hope you have gotten some tips on what to include in your pitch deck and we look forward to receiving your pitch deck.
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