Creating an Early Stage Pitch Deck

Last week I gave a presentation on creating early stage pitch decks (primarily focused on the seed round). I took a (fuzzy) picture of my white board talk (very professional on a few fronts, I know) and thought it would be valuable to post it here. And please take this for what it's worth: just one investor's opinion. As is true with everything - the best answer is "it depends". It depends on your background, your company, your raise, and your audience. And with that out of the way - here is what to think about and my proposed outline:

General themes:

- Most importantly, know your audience. It will influence your discussion, the deck and your questions.

1. 10-15 slides. Max.

2. Expect the deck to be shared. It will likely be emailed internally so it should be digestable without your voice-over. This means no big visual builds or super intricate slides.

3. Show the market and the opportunity.

4. Show the product and your traction. Product demo's are great and often the meat of a presentation... but be careful as you (and time) can get lost with the lack of structure. And for early stage startups, remember that traction does not need to be 1million users or monthly revenue. I just want to see some data that suggests this has legs.

5. What's the ask? ... and why? How it will be used? How long will it last? How can I help?

A suggested structure:

A. Vision.

B. The team. Who are you and why are suited for this opportunity / role?

C. The market. and.... D. The opportunity. How big? Who exists? What is not being served today? These two slides set up the opportunity for a new leader, which builds up to:

E. Your product. F. Your traction. Are there reasons to believe you are moving in the right direction and the product is resonating?

G. What lies ahead (including business model). Compare today vs. the big vision and describe the path there.

H1. Your ask. (this is part of that path!) H2. How will it be used.