How to Create an Effective Growth-Focused Investor Deck

What is an Investor Deck?

An Investor Deck, also known as “a pitch deck,” “investor presentation,” or “confidential information presentation” (“CIP”), is a written high-level overview of your entire business.  Investor presentations are your most important tool when launching a capital raise process.  They should accurately reflect your business and position it an optimal way to attract investor interest.

An investor presentation should be structured like a story.  Your goal is to capture the interest of investors from the beginning and then lead investors through the merits of your business.  By the end of the story, you want investors to understand why your business is an excellent investment opportunity.

Ground Rules For Creating an Investor Pitch Deck

Rule 1: Highlight your strengths and make sure the key attributes of your business are properly explained. For early-stage companies, this is usually the market opportunity or your differentiation. For later stage companies, it’s your value prop, proof points, customer list, etc.

Rule 2: Keep it simple. Focus on providing the key information required to understand your business. You can always follow-up with more detailed information.

Rule 3: Make sure it’s easy to read.  Make sure your font color, size, and typeface are easy to read. Make sure that your presentation doesn’t get cut off or have weird formatting issues when printed and is easily readable on a mobile device.

Rule 4: Don’t put any secret sauce in your pitch deck.  Despite having NDAs in place, you never know whose hands your pitch deck will fall into.  Always err on the side of caution when including highly sensitive or proprietary information in an investor presentation.

Rule 5: Leverage professional design resources.  Whether you pay a graphic designer to create the final product or use an online template, make sure your investor pitch deck looks professional.

Rule 6: Create your investor presentation in PowerPoint or comparable online alternative.  Don’t send a massive word document business plan.

Rule 7: The investor presentation should be no more than 15-20 slides max.  You can always have detailed information ready to queue up in case you are asked questions about it, but you don’t need to include it in the initial presentation.

What Slides to Include in an Investor Deck

Below are the sections you want to include in your investor deck. The order of these sections depends on your company’s stage and strengths.  Each of the following sections should be no more than 1-2 slides in your deck.

Executive Team Overview

  • Highlight the background and experience of your executive team.
  • Include a picture, name, title, and background for each of the key executives.

Setup

  • The setup page introduces your business and sets the tone for the rest of the presentation.  Within thirty seconds of starting the presentation, this slide should tell an investor exactly what your business does.
  • One to two sentences max.

Problem / Market Dynamics Discussion

  • The problem discussion provides background information on the set of problems your customers experience and the reason your business exists.

Product / Service Offering

  • This is where you explain your product/service offering.  Ideally, this section will naturally flow with the prior section, where it’s easy to see how your offerings solve the problems highlighted in the problem discussion section.

Competitive Differentiation

  • Competitive differentiation is your chance to highlight how your product/service offering is unique and differentiated from the other alternatives in the market.
  • If you operate in a market with only a few competitors, you can do a company by company comparison.  If you operate in a market where many different types of businesses also play, it may be better to show the different types of companies you compete against.

Addressable Market / Market Opportunity

  • The addressable market would be the total potential revenue opportunity for your business if you had 100% market share.

Customer Overview

  • This is an opportunity to provide a snapshot of your current customer base.
  • Include information so investors can understand your customer mix, concentrations, retention, marquee accounts, etc.

Value Proposition / Return on Investment

  • This is where you provide an investor with proof that your product/service is driving value for your customers.

Pipeline Summary

  • This is where you provide a high-level overview of deals that are in various stages of your sales process to demonstrate visibility towards future revenue.

Revenue Model Overview

  • This is where you describe how you generate revenue from customers.  It’s your business model.

Financials

  • This is a high-level summary of your historical and projected financial statements.

Transaction Overview

  • This is where you outline the amount of capital you want to raise, key terms you are seeking, and what that capital will be used for.

Optional Page:  Company Highlights Page

  • A company highlights page can be a great way to highlight the most attractive attributes of your business.  This is a list of the key takeaways you want an investor to go away with.

Potential Appendix Slides

  • Roadmap
  • Full org chart
  • Staffing buildout
  • Detailed financial assumptions
  • Product/service detail page
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