Are you an entrepreneur looking to raise money for your business? Venture capital firms hear a lot of pitches, so you’ll need something special for them to notice you. Making a powerful impression on these potential investors can be as simple as knowing how to make a pitch deck.
Learn more about what goes into an investor presentation and how to prepare a pitch deck that excites potential investors.
How to Create a Pitch Deck Tailored to the Firm
Preparing a pitch deck for investors requires a lot of research, strategic planning and organization. You need to create a compelling story that’ll capture a venture capitalist’s attention and motivate them to act.
First, get to know who you’re pitching to. Every VC firm styles itself differently, so tailor your message to fit their criteria. Research the firm, its partners, its portfolio companies and its investment criteria.
Most firms are looking for a few key elements from startups, like a strong leadership team and an irresistible proof of concept. But some firms emphasize other criteria, too, such as being in a specific industry, using certain technologies or being sustainable. Doing your research helps you learn what’s most important to emphasize during your pitch.
How to Prepare a Business Pitch in 3 Steps
Investors field countless requests from startups but take meetings with only a fraction of them. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. To prepare a pitch deck with staying power, you need a compelling intro that convinces investors that your slide deck is worth their time — and that your business is worth their money.
Zero in on Key Information
Start by highlighting essential information about your business. Some of the items to address in your pitch might include:
- The problem you’re aiming to solve.
- How your product or service solves the problem.
- The target audience for your product or service.
- Your market opportunity and size (total addressable market).
- What makes your product or service different from the competition.
- The team you’ve built, including board members and advisors.
Convey this information clearly and concisely so you can quickly illustrate the value of your product or service. Most pitch deck templates include prompts for key information, but remember that a prompt is a suggestion. Prepare to do some self-editing to limit your pitch to the most pertinent information.
Define Your Market Opportunity
Before pitching your business to a VC firm, make sure you understand the market you’re playing in and your total addressable market, or TAM. This is a metric investors use to assign potential value to businesses. Be prepared to explain the size of your market and why you can capture it.
When describing your market opportunity, emphasize the size and growth potential. Highlight any unique features or advantages that your business has over the competition (other startups or the companies you’re disrupting) for capturing potential customers or clients. Finally, define your go-to-market strategy for reaching this target market.
Share Financial Projections
When addressing financial projections, be realistic but ambitious.
Outline the expected returns the VC firm can expect. Be ready to provide evidence for any claims you make. This evidence can take the form of projections from past performance (yours or a similar company’s), a clear market need or how you’ll go to market. Be ready to talk about detailed financial forecasts, such as cash flow, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets.
Explain how your company intends to use investment funding to support growth. Growth doesn’t always mean profit or even revenue — you might use the cash injection to acquire customers, accelerate R&D, or hire for key positions. Make sure to provide a timeline for when they can expect to see a return on their investment.
Learn How to Make a Pitch Deck With Impact
Ultimately, your objective is to provide investors with enough information to make an informed decision about whether to invest in the business. The content should be concise and not overwhelm the viewer with too much information.
Keep your slides visually clean: You’ll find hundreds of presentation templates out there, but many are too crowded to leave room for your brand and business to be the star. Lean into more streamlined visuals to keep your audience’s interest flowing in the right direction.
Understanding how to make a pitch deck is a crucial step in the fundraising process. Don’t overthink it: Know who you are, what you want to do, and what the market landscape looks like. Then, go win them over.