Photo courtesy of Burst

10 essential components of a fundraising pitch deck

I recently published a post on tactics to raise money for an early stage company and what to do in the process.

One of my suggestions was to use a deck that puts the company in the best light, and allows a founder to hit all the major points she would like to get across.

The logical next question I often get is, what should my deck include? At a high level, it should tell the story of the company in concise way.

Below is the general arc of the story. The exact order varies depending on your specific details so feel free to rearrange for the flow that seems best for your company.

  1. Problem — What is the problem the company is addressing and why? One question VCs always ask is, ‘is this a real problem? How many people feel this pain point?’ Data to illustrate the severity of the problem is always helpful. For example, in its Series D deck WeWork describes how the nature of work is changing rapidly with 40% of the workforce projected to be independent by 2020 but traditional office and leases do not address the needs of this segment.
  2. Vision — Describe the company’s vision. In other words, what is the future state you are striving to realize? For example, LinkedIn’s Series B deck describes “professional people search” as moving from via flat directories to network based.
  3. Our Approach / Solution — This slide should outline what your company is doing and how. This section may include a demo of the product or some screenshots.
  4. Team — Share the key members of the team and their backgrounds. First and foremost, investors are making a bet on you and the team so it is important to highlight why this group is the right one to solve the problem. If members of the team have worked together in the past, it is helpful to call this out as well to illustrate that they are already comfortable working together.
  5. Why now — If this problem has existed for a long time, why is now the right time for you to solve the pain point? In other words, investors are often trying to understand why the problem has not been successfully addressed previously, and why this time could be different.
  6. Total Addressable Market (TAM) — Illustrate how big the market is. It is helpful to calculate how large the market you will directly address is. For example, if you are selling a software product into the logistics market, do not show the size of the entire logistics market, but of the logistics software market you are specifically targeting.
  7. Traction metrics (2–3 slides) — These slides show how the company is doing. These metrics could be revenue, gross margin, unit economics, MAUs, LTV, CAC, the list goes on. The exact metrics to share will depend on the KPIs of your company. If you have important customers or partnerships, you can highlight them here. It is important to show your company in the best light, but also do not omit any key metrics. If you are not sure about some, keep them in the appendix in case an investor asks.
  8. Milestones & projections — Share what the key metrics above will be over the next 12–24 months as well as 5 year revenue projections. Also share any major product or growth milestones (city expansions, new products, etc.). This gives investors a view into how you are thinking about the future of the business and what growth you believe is achievable.
  9. Competition — Outline the players in your market and explain why you are different. Having a comprehensive view of your competitors is important to show investors that you are aware of the market dynamics and its players. Otherwise, you could leave them wondering if you know how your market is evolving.
  10. Fundraise — State how much are you raising and what the goals are for the financing. If you have raised money previously, this would be a good place to include how much and from whom.

If you’d like to see some examples, here is Reid Hoffman’s LinkedIn Pitch Deck and a further comprehensive list of startup pitch decks.


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