ok, back to your deck! first: why do you even need one? decks have 2 goals: 1️⃣ to land a meeting, and then 2️⃣ to increase investor conviction by providing critical info to be clear: I’m NOT talking about a live pitch; I’m talking about a deck that gets sent *to* investors
if your deck is not succeeding at getting you meetings or $, either it’s not clear, or it’s not compelling you can waste months workshopping and obsessing over details, but truly, the main thing you need is for it to be clear and compelling
(caveat: there are tons of reasons why you might struggle to raise a round, many of which are out of your control. but your deck is in your control, so it’s worth nailing!)
so where do founders go wrong? imo, too many decks feel too much like a checklist, w no particular direction don’t forget that your deck is effectively an ad, and its goal is to intrigue remember: your goal is to be as clear & compelling as possible
said differently, you need to present a clear narrative with strong momentum to do so, you have to make some tough decisions regarding: 🤓 substance (the information you’re presenting), and 💃 style (the way you present it)
🤓 on substance: you need to determine what the core *story* is, in a way that is as exciting and intriguing as possible in shaping this narrative arc, it can be helpful to write a paragraph about your company that effectively captures your one-minute elevator pitch 👇
each sentence of this paragraph should be able to serve as the main idea of a slide in your deck each of these slides will correspond to one of the “table stakes” elements above, and the order of these slides will vary depending on what is most compelling about your business
if you’re not sure what to lead with, think about what’s most impressive. it could be: 📈 traction (six months straight of 20% MoM growth) 👨👩👦 team (a diverse founding team with unmatched understanding of the customer pain point) 🤖 proprietary market-leading technology etc.
all in all, your story arc should start with a hook, provide additional context, and then lead the investor to forward-looking excitement by the end, the investor should be thinking 🤔 hang on a second … 😳 they’ve figured something out 🥵 I don’t want to miss this!
each slide should have one main idea, stated in 1-2 complete sentences if design isn’t your forte, I’d recommend the following format to start: ✔ small tags (e.g. team, traction) ✔ 1-2 sentences w key idea ✔ supporting graphics/visuals remember: clear & compelling!
two final thoughts – you will likely tweak (or entirely change) your story as you learn more about what is or isn’t resonating – you can split your deck into “main” and appendix sections. i.e. you can move some “table stakes” slides out of the core narrative into the appendix
if you’ve made it this far, please reply w questions, thoughts, and (inevitably) scathing critiques! & to all the founders pushing thru the fundraising grind, knock ’em dead 👊