I hated, I mean, I really hated sending a pitch deck by email to an investor. I thought the odds of getting in front of an investor went way down if I gave them the pitch deck.
“It’s like seeing a movie without the soundtrack was my reasoning.” The investor was just going to get my deck, but the investor would not hear all of my commentary that added to the story.
So when I was introduced to “Raul”, a very well known VC in the Silicon Valley, I was really bummed when he asked for our deck. I hoped that Raul, like most people I was introduced to, would just accept the meeting.
Despite my worry, I emailed our pitch deck to Raul. I thought I’d never hear from Raul again. Instead, the next day Raul’s assistant asked me when I would be available for a meeting.
Three meetings later, Raul agreed to invest $6M in our company. We could now close, after two years of trying, our $12M series A funding.
I asked Raul after we closed our funding why he took the initial meeting based on the deck. His answer was insightful:
“I took the meeting because I could understand what you were doing, and it was something I was interested in investing in.”
In other words, the pitch deck email investors needs to stand on its own.
That’s it. That’s what your deck needs to do. In fact, I’ll go a step further. You can’t hold back anything when you email your deck to a potential investor. Nothing.
Your job is tougher than being in person or on the phone with an investor.
You don’t have your voice anymore when you’re emailing your pitch deck. You only have the deck. So the deck has to do all the work on it’s own.
That means the bare minimum you should do is email your existing deck. But I’d start by reviewing your existing deck.
Here’s where I’d start. Make sure the text of your response email is short and to the point.
If you have a lengthy email introducing your pitch deck to an investor, then investor may not even open the attachment. Instead, you might send something like this:
Per your request, I’ve attached our pitch deck. Please let me know if you any questions.
Then look at your first slide. There are three things you need to make instantly clear to your potential investors:
A. What do you do
B. Why are you 10X — 100X better than the competition or why are you unique in a meaningful way
C. How big is the opportunity
One more thing. This is really important. You need to make an emotional connection with your audience.
Oh, and you can’t use your voice.
That means your deck needs to get to the point fast!
You’re sending something by email. You’ll be lucky if the investor spends two minutes looking at your deck. More likely, the investor will spend maybe ten seconds. Maybe.
So that very first slide better make a big impression. The test, in my humble opinion, is this:
Have someone that is unfamiliar with your business look at your first slide for maybe 20 seconds.
Then take the slide away and ask them:
A. What do you do?
B. Why do you think we are better than the competition?
C. How much better do you think we are than the competition?
D. How big do you think the opportunity is?
You have more work to do if the answer doesn’t come back exactly with the answer you want.
The rest of the deck should support in more detail the promise of your first slide.
This is exactly the same as your deck should always be. But it’s that first slide that will get you to the face to face meeting you want.
Your first slide needs to pack a punch. Your first slide needs to make your potential investors go, “Wow!”
The good news is emailing your pitch deck to an investor will make your pitch deck even stronger.
When we raised our next round of funding, I designed our pitch deck so it stood on its own. The result was a much improved deck that packed a punch, and got us five term sheets.
For more read: What Shouldn’t Be In Your Investor Pitch?