If you are a founder about to embark on a fundraising journey (a cliché but really it is a journey: challenging, enervating and ultimately, if the stars align, rewarding), I want to offer some practical advice.
I’ve come across plenty of online tips in terms of contents of an investor presentation. Medha Agarwal has summarised 10 essential components of a fundraising pitch deck. Ultimately, it all depends on the stage of your business but the ingredients suggested here are the right ones. My only additional advice would be that you must ensure your deck tells a story. The slides should flow well. Even if you are sending out your deck rather than presenting it in person, try to read the presentation aloud and see whether its narrative flows. If it doesn’t, make it as consistent and engaging as possible.
My own practical tip is this: hire a graphic designer.
At Silvergate Investments, we get several pitches each week. I am seriously impressed with the presentation quality of the decks I receive. Some of them are works of art! I came to believe that regardless of the content, the visual presentation is incredibly important. This is because – for better or for worse – we tend to judge the book by its cover, so it’s essential to make a good first impression. The design of your deck is also important because you are competing for investor attention with other opportunities. If other entrepreneurs looking for capital send me outstanding looking decks, you need to do the same. Trust me, home-made Powerpoint presentations with busy slides and inconsistent fonts look really bad in comparison to professionally designed decks.
I asked entrepreneurs who sent me some of the best-in-class pitch decks to refer the designers they had used to help tell their growth stories. Jess Hook, the founder of non-alcoholic wine Outfox, worked with a freelance designer Hannah Bloomfield. Her pitch was beautifully designed, convincing and demonstrated a big vision, as well as attention to detail.
As for the founders who often find that they don't get a meeting and the only pitch they get to present to a VC is the deck they sent across by email, it literally pays to put your best foot forward.