One of the highlights of being an entrepreneur is telling people about the amazing startup you've built — whether to attract investors, users, or prospective hires. It's a highlight as well as possibly the most nerve-wracking moment of an entrepreneur's life: that moment when you're before an audience, alone with your pitch deck, trying to communicate why they should care enough to invest their time or money in your company.
The art of creating your startup's pitch deck is one that has wrought a thousand and one blog posts. There is a lot of advice out there, given out by angel investors and successful startup CEOs alike. You can even access a host of decks written with startups in mind on Slideshare.
Having combed through a myriad of resources, we've concluded that these three links below are absolutely essential to crafting and polishing your startup's pitch deck. Ignore them at your own peril.
1. Reid Hoffman & LinkedIn's Successful Series B pitch to Greylock
A decade after it was presented in 2004, this deck is still essential. It's an amazing resource, showing each slide along with accompanying insight from Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn's co-founder (and current investor at Greylock Partners). Hoffman offers advice on how entrepreneurs should approach the pitch process, while providing context for the tech climate of 2004.
Open with your investment thesis: what prospective investors must believe in order to want to invest in your company.
Steer toward objections. There will be a few issues that could present problems for your financing — address them head on.
2. Guy Kawasaki's Pitch Deck Template
Back in 2012, author, noted entrepreneur, and chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki posted an alternative pitch deck template on his blog. You can download the full PowerPoint here. He discusses the pitch deck formula in depth within the post, giving pointers that he says no investor will actually tell you, because it's always easier for them to smile and say, "That's interesting."
When it comes to PowerPoint pitches for your company, think "Hot Or Not", not eHarmony. Your investors decide if your company is “hot or not” in a matter of seconds.
According to Kawasaki, the best-case outcome of a pitch is not a request for money wiring instructions. There is a more important goal: rising above the noise and avoiding elimination. You want to “live another day” and get to the next stage: due diligence.
3. Crowdfunder's Investor Pitch Deck Template
Over on Forbes, Chance Barnett, CEO of Crowdfunder.com, contributes a downloadable PowerPoint deck template that distills the investor pitch formula down to 11 core slides every deck needs in order to get its point across clearly. Barnett's pitch deck formula is based on his extensive experience raising money for his own ventures, as well as looking at over 10,000 pitch decks on Crowdfunder. You can download his Investor Pitch Deck Template (PPT) here.
Including too much information in your initial pitch can be counterproductive. You want to leave some questions unanswered, hit the big points in a clear way, and avoid over-sharing.
Put key numbers and traction at the very beginning. This grabs attention and clarifies the market opportunity, especially if the numbers are good.
What other pitch deck advice do you have?
Do you have suggestions of pitch decks that should join this list? Hit the comments and show us the light.