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How Do I Make a Good Pitch Deck for Investors?

By: Tim Berry


This is my answer to How do I make a good pitch deck for investors? on Quora.

First you need to differentiate between the pitch deck you leave behind for its information value—which has more words—and the pitch desk you use when you are there talk, which should be much more pictures than words, ideally just a title and a compelling photograph.
Don’t confuse the two: A pitch to be read must be very different from a pitch that supports a live presentation with you talking. Different media, different styles.
In either case, what you want to show is something like this (but be flexible, case by case, depending on the exact investment situation; this is just a sample):
  1. Problem: Show a problem to solve, ideally one that investors will understand immediately, and relate to.
  2. Solution: How is your startup going to solve that problem. What do you do? Ideally, the solution is something investors will also understand and relate to.
  3. Market potential: How many people/buyers have the problem and how much is the solution worth? If the story works, the numbers are supplemental, but good to show. If the story doesn’t work, nobody cares about the numbers.
  4. Secret sauce: It’s all case by case. Maybe it’s technology, trade secrets, existing market position, a new idea.
  5. The team: Investors need to see a credible startup team, with previous startup experience, experience specifically related to the problem and the opportunity.
  6. Traction: Show milestones achieved, momentum, traffic, anything you can to make your story – and the opportunity – presentable.
  7. All the rest: Flesh it out as needed, depending on your specifics, with highlights investors will look for. Exit strategies, competition, market strategy. Be sure to have projected P&L as a bar chart and have solid projected P&L, Balance, and Cash Flow to back it up.
This article was originally published by Tim Berry
Published: December 12, 2014

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Tim Berry

Tim Berry is co-founder of Have Presence, founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, and a co-founder of Borland International. He is author of books and software including LivePlan and Business Plan Pro, The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, and Lean Business Planning, published by Motivational Press in 2015. He has a Stanford MBA degree and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. He taught starting a business at the University of Oregon for 11 years.

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