By Tom Butterworth, Equity account manager at Swoop
Just like turning up to an interview dressed as perfectly as possible, a good pitch deck has similar if not more importance for making a first impression on an investor. Often a pitch deck will be the first thing that a potential investor will see of your company, so you want your top button done up and your most dazzling frock on.
Here I’ll explain a few dos and don’ts of creating your pitch deck. Whilst other great articles out there will give insight as to what slides to include (duration, fonts, colour schemes and so on), I hope to give you some specific examples of do’s and don’ts from my observations whilst analysing 20 pitch decks a week here at Swoop.
- Invest time in your pitch deck. Spend those extra hours perfecting your pitch, read it to yourself, make sure there isn’t a single spelling mistake or text box mis-aligned, investors will notice!
- Make a plan of what you want to say and how you are going to tell your story. Once you have a plan then fill in the gaps. This is always better than a brain dump and will stop your pitch from being disconnected and confusing.
- Share with friends and family before approaching investors. A fresh pair of eyes is always helpful and will allow for extra spelling / grammar checks.
- Know your market. Do a high level of research into your ‘total addressable’, ‘serviceable attainable’ and ‘serviceable obtainable’ markets, TAM SAM SOM for short. This will allow you to express to the investor who your customers are and what chunk of the pie you plan to take.
- Pitch yourself. Make sure your team slide has plenty of detail on why an investor should choose you and your business over the 30 pitches they are reading today. An investor will often choose an A team with a B product over a B team with an A product.
- Boast about your traction and progress, don’t be shy. Sing about any traction you have, even if you are pre-MVP, find a way to show traction in your pitch deck. Did you get quantifiable feedback from a questionnaire? Have you spoken to potential customers / users of your product and what has their feedback been? Include all of this detail.
- Don’t overdo it. Unfortunately, investors do not have enough time to read a 30-40 slide pitch deck. We recommend a pitch with a maximum of 15-20 slides. This will allow you to get all of the relevant information in without overwhelming the reader.
- A shorter pitch deck can always be followed up with something more substantial, but for the initial deck keep it short and sweet. It’s like watching a movie trailer and deciding to skip or watch the full film.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of professionals who can do a great job of creating pitch decks and here at Swoop we’re happy to offer some guidance.
- Don’t use too much text. A combination of text and imagery will make the pitch deck much more digestible for the reader. A picture speaks a thousand words, and no one wants to read a thousand-word pitch deck. We live in the twitter generation, make sure you can describe your company within the 280-character limit or less.
- Don’t forget to compare yourself to your competitors (and why you are better). Saying that there are no competitors in your space won’t win anyone over.
- Don’t forget to ask for funding! Many pitch decks I have seen have forgotten to ask what they have come for…funding. Be upfront about how much you’re looking for, what you will use it for, your valuation and use of funds.
Most importantly, don’t forget to register with Swoop and upload your pitch deck for us to review. We can help match you with the best suited investors to help kickstart your business.