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This column is for founders creating fundraising decks from Berry to Series C. By the end you should accept how to use this framework for creating a 10–12 accelerate broker presentation.
I’ve been allowance a few startups basal for their Series A and Series B fundraises afresh and they all accept to ache from the aforementioned botheration that I suffered from beforehand this year — bad angle decks abounding with too abundant content.
Some time ago, Sequoia appear a abundant allotment of content: “Writing a Business Plan” and addition added than Sequoia took anapestic authorization and afterwards angry their b-plan arrangement into “The Sequoia Angle Accouter Template”. Pretty abundant every startup angle accouter starts off with their framework afore abacus added slides. And don’t get me wrong, for a aboriginal time architect with little acquaintance it is a actually acceptable architecture to follow.
The agreeable and adjustment are actual good, but I would humbly advance a few changes: annul the “Company Purpose” accelerate as you will be advertence Who you are on accelerate 1; for berry deals I adopt the Aggregation accelerate added up; and afterwards the “Financials” accelerate I would add a abstracted accelerate on Fundraising — what you will be spending the $ on and area that will booty you. So you ultimately end up with article like this:
But we charge to allocution about why you shouldn’t actually archetype the argument (ie the Titles of anniversary page) from their arrangement which every architect seems to do?
Pitch decks are about your aboriginal alternation with an broker you accept been alien to. It is 100% a business document. It is not a McKinsey report. It is not a lath pack. It is not a way to charge every actuality and bulk that you accept gleaned over the antecedent 12 months into a presentation. You’re additionally not aggravating to get a termsheet afterwards they apprehend it. You’re artlessly accepting them aflame about demography a affair (this should already be the case if the barometer comes from addition they bulk awful — so don’t let your accouter spiral this up!). It is additionally the aboriginal allotment of agreeable a Accomplice will allotment internally with their Partners so bigger that its a 12 folio business certificate than a 60 folio McKinsey doc analytic your startup.
Taking the placeholder Titles like “Problem” and “Team”. They are not alone a decay of adored absolute acreage in your deck, but it doesn’t advice aback why your product/company/team are absorbing affairs for them to advance into.
We all ache from absent to allotment every allotment of advice with -to-be investors. But the aboriginal alternation that an broker has with you needs to aback several things:
So how do you actualize the analgesic angle accouter that forth with a able barometer will agreement a affair is accoutrement with a abeyant investor?
Creating a accouter to canyon the ‘Flick Through Test’
Having advised bags of angle decks over the years, aback it was my about-face to actualize one, I anticipation it would end up in the angle accouter Hall of Fame. How amiss I was, our aboriginal attack was black to say the least! What we eventually abstruse was the accent of capturing and communicating our story.
The starting point for the deck? Actualize your 12 abstracted slides with the basal allotment of anniversary allotment of the adventure that you appetite to get across. Instead of the arrant “Problem” “Solution” “Team” accelerate headings, your accouter needs to acquaint a adventure through your headings. If you took all 10–12 slides and aloof apprehend the headings and annihilation abroad in the anatomy of the slide, they should acquaint the adventure of your startup. If you took out aloof one accelerate or alike confused a brace of slides around, afresh your adventure should not accomplish as abundant sense.
This is alleged casual the ‘flick through test’ which I wholly aspect to the Angle Master Benjamin Ball. Afterwards he accomplished this to us, I became acquainted as an broker how I would analysis a slide. I would actually flick through it and cull out the best absorbing pieces of information. “They all formed at Google Brain”. “Cool, they’ve already active Nasa, Facebook and Box as customers”. Afresh I go aback through and absorb up the accordant advice and dig into how their artefact works; why they are application those accurate metrics; why they are adopting x amount, etc. Success. But why? Because I didn’t accept to assignment adamantine to cull out the accordant information, it was told to me through a story. And because belief break with bodies best than accidental pieces of information, you accept a bigger adventitious of authoritative a allusive aboriginal consequence on an investor.
Let’s attending at Ben’s framework a little closer. Instead of a one chat slide, let’s booty “Problem” as an example, accommodate a proactive account about the botheration you are solving. Article like “30% of a abounding assemblage engineer’s time is ashen on cipher reviews*”. Ok, thats intriguing, I’m absorbed in acquirements more.
Also, don’t oversell in the account and don’t echo words that you accept already used. And try to break abroad from accessible phrases that everybody uses (disruptive, innovative, world-class). Use your own language. It needs to complete like a adventure you would tell.
The $ Slides
So area to begin? The two best important slides in the accouter are the aboriginal two slides. If they are sloppily designed, boring, or unclear, I affiance you an broker will absorb all of 10 abnormal attractive through the actual 10 slides.
Slide 1 is your awning accelerate which commonly aloof says the name of your aggregation and possibly alike “Series A Fundraise”. This sets the accent for the absolute presentation. You can’t accept that an broker has paid absorption to the email that your alternate acquaintance beatific them adage abundant things about your startup. So Accelerate 1 needs to get beyond in one band what you do. Don’t accommodate your eyes or mission statement, accommodate a account on who you are.
Let’s go through a little anatomization exercise as a case in point. Front CEO Mathilde Collin** appear her Series A angle accouter online (and I accord it a 9/10 although I accord the aggregation a 10/10 on product/team/traction!).
Notice she starts the adventure off by advertence absolutely what they do on the tin, “All your company’s alien communications in one collaborative inbox.”. Ok so you’re affectionate of like Slack for alien comms? Cool, I’d like to apprentice more! About-face the page.
Slide 2, according to my own YesWare analytics, this is the best important accelerate in the deck. It’s the accelerate that generates the best absorption because investors attending at this accelerate for the longest. This is the accelerate in best Berry and Series A decks that begins with “Problem” and afresh lists a botheration in one book in the average of the folio afore affective to Accelerate three which says “Problem Continued”.
Front does a ablaze job on their accelerate two with the appellation “Email is the best important business advice channel” and does an alike bigger job of abetment this up with acute abstracts and cartoon (but not too abundant to accomplish the accelerate too busy). Mathilde got a 9/10 because the “Problem” aloft her befuddled account on this accelerate or “Solution” on the abutting slide, were in my assessment unnecessary.
I like how her accelerate titles are short, befuddled and explain absolutely what I’m account on that page. In her own way, Mathilde has created her own story. But some of the accelerate titles could accept been alike stronger. In abounding cases, her acknowledging account on anniversary folio is able abundant to be her title. ie Folio 6, instead of “Select Customers” which is affectionate of obvious, Mathilde could accept acclimated the account at the basal of the folio as her appellation “Front works for teams of all sizes, beyond abounding altered industries.” Folio 12, “Acquisition Channels” could accept been, “We’ve articular repeatable strategies to access new customers.”
But I’m actuality ever captious on their deck, which afresh is a abundant archetype for any startup. Skipping ahead, booty a attending at her aggregation accelerate on folio 16, “The Appropriate Mix of Passion and Experience”. How abundant bigger is that than “Team”? If you are a aggregation of Ivy League computer scientists, or if you and a co-founder are spinning out of Palantir or if this is the additional startup that your founding aggregation has formed on together, highlight this in the Heading!
In closing, you accept created a angle accouter that tells a absurd story, hopefully with a acme and finale.
*I fabricated this carbon up, but I’m abiding they do decay a lot of time on cipher reviews
**Disclosure: my accomplice Krishna is a claimed broker in Front
Further Account Materials:
How to cartoon your angle accouter in 10 accomplish — by Brendan Baker
What SketchDeck abstruse from designing 200 angle decks (disclaimer, I’m a claimed investor).
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