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The 60-minute full pitch deck

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Charlie Gunningham
// // OK, so you've made it past the first hurdle and secured a meeting with VCs. What should your deck look like...?

// OK, so you’ve made it past the first hurdle and secured a meeting with VCs. What should your deck look like…?

As we have mentioned before, if you are approaching venture capitalists (or angel investors) for investment, you need to condense your pitch into 10 slides. (This is sometimes known as the ‘marketing deck’, or ‘send along deck’ or ‘teaser deck’.)

Let’s assume you have made it past this stage, and have now been invited to the partner meeting, which is usually an hour, held in a boardroom.

This is when you will need to bring along your A-game and the board deck, which is much meatier than the simple 10-slide marketing deck.

  • What should (and should not) be in your pitch deck?
  • What questions should you prepare for?
  • What other advice do you have?

Fortunately, Sam Wong from Blackbird had all the answers in her Innovation Bay presentation a few weeks ago:

If you want the low down, here it is:

  • VCs see about 1,000 pitch decks a year (so getting the 10-slide marketing deck right is so crucial)
  • You’ll get 30 mins + 30 mins Q&A, in person, in a board room
  • Know who are you pitching to, one partner, full team, do they know your space?
    • Don’t come with advisors and board members, just founders
    • 30 mins prez, 30 mins Q&A.
    • Be prepared to do a product demo
  • Arrive 10 mins early, not earlier
    • Swap mobiles, in case of last minute changes
    • Prepare!
    • No handouts. No business cards, your details are on the deck
  • Your goal – move to next step. Strip it back, you can’t communicate it all
  • Think: what 3 things do you want them to remember?
  • Your deck is an aid, not a script!
  • Make it beautiful; for B2C startup, it has to be gorgeous!
  • Simplicity, not busy slides; one idea per slide, don’t labour on any slide, you can click thru fast
  • Use numbers not adjectives. You have growth of x to y, not great growth
  • Infographics should simplify, not confuse
  • Check spelling!
  • Nail the first slide, big first impression, captivate
  • Last slide also crucial, as it stays up for a long time!! (30 mins), not a ‘thank you slide’! The big thought/follow up, should be on that slide. Leave them with a lasting impression (not “Q&A”!!)
  • 3 most important slides
    • Size of opportunity
      • Ambition, captures what you do, simple, strong, global, you’re building for big outcome
    • Team
      • Are these the people we want to go into battle with? For next 7-10 years? Likeable? Good communicators? Are they magnets for talent? The quality and qualifications of the team are linked to the problem being solved
      • Don’t add up years of experience, don’t forget logo, don’t have weird titles, don’t jam it with too many people and advisers, don’t undersell yourself
The 60-minute full pitch deck
Good example of The Team slide
  • Traction
    • Numbers – small numbers are better than no numbers; growth, talk about engagement, users and $$$s; low churn
  • Competition slide
    • Not required, unless there’s a very big incumbent
    • Feature comparison slide, too busy, implies you are feature bashing, speaks to the past, features are easy to copy anyway
  • Financial projections – usually unbelievable, so why have it?
  • Exit slide – we don’t want to talk about it; build a great company!

Canva Deck – as example, 2013.

  • Tell a story
  • Canva – the next generation of publishing
  • Publishing eras – typewriter, desktop PCs, tablets, mobile…
  • Contrast status quo with a potential solution
The 60-minute full pitch deck
Canva’s Contrast slide
  • Status Quo slide, shows the incumbent situation, and large $$$s involved
The 60-minute full pitch deck
Canva’s Big Market slide
  • Contrast to what can be, with Canva…
The 60-minute full pitch deck
Canva’s ‘What Can Be’ slide
  • Done this before, (Canva had been running Fusion Books for years)
  • Use of the cloud, SaaS
  • The first apps will be viral, leading to a growth engine
  • What we will achieve with this round of funding? needs explaining
  • Last slide – Why Now? (get on the train before it leaves the station)


Main Image: by Product School from Pexels.

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Picture of Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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