What Do Investors Look for in a Pitch Deck

When reviewing your pitch deck, investors are looking to quickly assess whether or not you’re a good fit for what they invest in and at what stage they invest, and then to qualify whether or not you merit a deeper look that includes an initial meeting.

Your pitch deck is not being used by an investor to decide to invest. Your pitch deck is only being used to qualify you for an initial meeting.

So, how do you prepare a pitch deck for investors that captures their glancing attention at your pitch deck to win a meeting?

Seek Fit

Like founders, investors are time-starved and information-overloaded. Investors websites are now more transparent because investors are seeing significantly more deal flow.

Investors need you to know their investment approach to help you determine fit before sending your pitch deck and requesting a meeting.

Do your homework before contacting any investor. Confirm from their website that they invest in the type of company you are building (e.g., B2B vs B2C, Software vs Hardware) and at the stage you are seeking investment (e.g., Pre-Seed vs Seed vs Series A).

The #1 mistake that founders make when raising capital is they mistake being busy for making progress.

Avoid this common mistake by verifying those threshold details before wasting someone’s time on an introduction or cold-emailing any investor.

If you’re unsure after reviewing their website, send a brief note with the few details you need to confirm before sharing your pitch deck.

People First

In your pitch deck, show investors that you’re not overly enamored by your technology and that you recognize that solutions don’t sell themselves simply because they are innovative.

Execution Risk

When reviewing your pitch deck, investors are looking for signs of execution risk. That is, the risk that your company may fail based on your team’s inability to successfully put into action your pitch deck plans.

Your pitch deck should introduce your team before it introduces your product.

One of the best ways to reduce investor concern over execution risk and increase investor confidence is to use one of the first slides in your pitch deck to introduce your team.

Don’t simply include the logos of the known companies you’ve worked for and the known universities that you attended.

Properly introduce your team in the context of why you are the right people to be working on the specific problem, addressing the specific market and building your specific solution.

The other compelling way to reduce investor concern over execution risk and increase investor confidence is to include in your pitch deck your go-to-market plan (and not just your Total Addressable Market).

A Total Addressable Market, no matter how many trailing zeros it includes, is meaningless without also including in your pitch deck a go-to-market plan that gives your investor the confidence that you will use their funding to systematically acquire your outsized share of that market.

When reviewing your pitch deck, investors are looking for a signal that you are focusing your limited resources (and, ultimately, their funding) on identifying and acquiring the most predictable, profitable and scalable revenue (and not just any revenue). 

Increase investor confidence and win a meeting with them by including in your pitch deck a slide showing how you intend to systematically identify a reliable and repeatable source of revenue signal, which you will eventually fill the top of your funnel with to scale.

Conclusion

As an early-stage founder, your limited time should be focused on customer revenue, not investor funding. 

Don’t squander your limited runway reaching out to investors who are not a fit for your startup (regardless of how compelling your pitch deck is). Confirm that you fit their investment criteria before sharing your pitch deck and requesting a meeting.

Early-stage investors who are a good fit will look to your pitch deck to grab their limited attention and gain their confidence enough to warrant their most valuable commodity: their time.

Win more meetings with investors – and, ultimately, their funding – by elevating your team and your go-to-market plan.

Company and university logos, and Total Addressable Market numbers, are top-down indicators. Instill confidence and signal investability by including in your pitch deck the bottom-up details about your team and your plan to systematically acquire customers and revenue.

Want step-by-step help creating a pitch deck that will capture the attention of investors? I’ve created a free downloadable Pitch Deck Starter Toolkit. It includes everything you need to build a great pitch deck, including a Storyboard Template and a Workshop Video where I walk you through the entire process. Download your copy now:

Free Download: Pitch Deck Toolkit for Founders

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