Today is the official launch date of my book, “The Start-Up J Curve”, so I thought it would be a good day to share something which can greatly benefit most start-ups – and especially those who are looking to raise money. I call it The Start-Up J Curve Perfect Pitch Deck.
My venture partner, David Hehman, and I have seen hundreds, probably thousands of pitches over the past 20 years. Many of those presentations, I dare say, were not very good. It’s not that the entrepreneur isn’t good, or that their idea doesn’t have some merit – it’s that the presentation just fell short. It didn’t present the business in the best light and usually left lots of unanswered questions. In not having a great presentation, they did themselves and their idea a disservice. So when I was writing the Start-Up J Curve book, one of the things I set out to do is describe how to make a perfect pitch deck. I did extensive research (the VC firm Sequoia, for example, had one of the better ones) and looked through a bunch of old ones that had been presented to us. Then I put together a PowerPoint deck with 20 slides. Finally, I sent it around to some of my VC friends and asked them for their input. It’s a template that describes exactly what to put on each slide. If you follow it, you will not only give your business the best possible shot at getting funded, but perhaps even more importantly, it will force you to really think through your business.
The Perfect Pitch Deck also contains general pointers for the presentation, such as:
- KISS – Keep It Simple. Be succinct.
- Don’t have more than 3-4 points per slide
- Don’t have anything on a slide that forces middle-aged people to squint.
- Skip fancy graphics
- Shoot for 15 slides total, no more than 20.
- It’s OK to leave some of the finer details out. You can elaborate in the ensuing discussion.
- Don’t read off your slides. Slides should illustrate the points you want to make, not serve as speaking notes.
If you really, really know your business, this deck will only take 2-3 hours to complete. If you don’t, it may take weeks. BTW, it’s OK if it takes you weeks to nail it – the work you are doing is INVALUABLE! By going through the process, whether you get funded or not, your odds of start-up success will certainly go up. That’s a promise.
The deck is available for free at howardlove.com. Let me know what you think (but please don’t send your deck unsolicited) – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.