Over the years our team has worked on multiple pitch decks, some raising funds for a Private Equity fund, some looking for co-investors, some pitching a real estate investment while others for incubators trying to exit a portfolio company.
Almost, always there are some consistent characteristics of the pitch deck that eventually pulls it off on the road-show. Here are these characteristics of the winning pitch deck:
1. Number of Slides: The number of slides for an investment pitch deck is ideally is 10-12. It can go as high as 20, but anything over that is overkill to raise money. A pitch that we designed only on 5 slides, for real-estate investment, was used to raise as much as 10 Million USD in co-investments
2. The flow of Presentation: Information has to flow like a stream of water. You introduce a subject, just to tease the reader and before an obvious question, your next slide is sitting there, answering it. Slides are as engaging as a story-book. Typical example: Start with a universal problem that everyone acknowledges, detail the current ways of solving the problem, go onto propose how all existing solutions are ineffective, present your solution that is different from everything else out there, give business case for your solution, your funding requirements, what can investors expect and finally closing it with the team profile and their accomplishments. Everything flows one after the other like an engaging storybook
3. Structure within a slide: All tables and structures used consistently follow the MECE principle. MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive. A combination of any number of bullet points on a slide has to be MECE. All bullet points combined should exhaustively cover all aspects of a subject and at the same time, no two bullet points should convey anything similar
4. Brand logo and color consistency: Rainbow of colors look good on a book that carries nursery rhymes, but for something that is meant for an Investment Banking crowd, it needs to be soberer. Limited colors on slides which specifically need to be derived from the brand logo, shows the professionalism of the presenter. Loud colors can be used for investment themes related to B2C but for anything B2B, hues need to be tapered down
5. The structure across the slides: If something is repeating again and again on multiple slides, like fund returns of different funds on different slides, the corresponding data needs to be at the exact same place on every slide. It’s like while you quickly move from one slide to another, tables should not dance from its place. The eye of the recipient gets trained to see specific data at a specific place on every slide
6. Less the text, better: For everything that can replace a text is welcome. A picture says a thousand words and one should use info-graphic or a picture to convey rather than writing a thousand words on slides
7. Back-up Material: Although fewer slides are there on a pitch deck, every number that is used on the slide should have a detailed back-up ready to be opened in case of a query. A 5 slides Pitch Deck is usually preceded by 30-40 page business case or a project plan. Another excel carrying P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow projections almost always follow. Financial Modeling is done for more complex investment plans
8. Team Bio: It’s the team that usually gets funding. Their credentials and experience are almost always highlighted in the pitch deck. It needs to be made sure that pictures of all partners are there, preferably in similar professional outlook, clicked at similar zooms, preferably in professional or no background
9. Simplifying the content: We work on multiple concepts that are very “Sciency” and “Academic”, like a core tech, topics that are purely academic, a scientific breakthrough or global epidemic. Material that is available on the topic is good for pursuing a doctorate but the idea is to simplify all these core concepts to the level that is easily understood by investors and in the least amount of time.
There may be several other things that might be important for a pitch deck in a niche area or a specific situation, but almost all the winning pitch decks in our experience have these common characteristics.
Magistral (www.magistralconsultig.com) has worked with multiple firms like Private Equity, Venture Capital, Investment Banks, and Asset Management companies in supporting their fund-raising efforts. We have prepared logos, website and website content, pitch decks, project plans, industry reports and financial modeling that support the fund-raising efforts of our clients.
The author is the CEO of Magistral Consulting and can be reached at Prabhash.email@example.com for any queries or work samples.