Best Practices for a Great Venture Capitalist Pitch Deck

Pitch decks, also called slide decks, are important tools for fundraising, when pitching your company to venture capitalists (VCs). There are a few best practices regarding pitch decks that can separate the pros from the newbies. Look like a pro by following these rules:

  • Make sure your slides are visible: Some pitches occur in a small office with you and the VC hunched over a computer; others may be in front of a small investment team in a conference room; still others may require giving a pitch at an investment conference in a theater designed for 600+ people.

    Regardless of the setting, keep your slides to the 20/20 rule: Include no more than 20 words per slide and use fonts at 20 points or larger.

  • Provide simple, concept-based images and a few compelling words or numbers to focus on. If you have a slide with revenue and earnings projections, for example, limit yourself to no more than three or four rows by four or five columns. Save any more detail for due diligence and your backup documents.

    Slides are free! You can always add another slide to your deck. Sometimes flipping quickly through two or three slides can convey something better and faster than a single slide.

  • Practice your pacing: Some slides need only be up on the screen for a few seconds to convey a point powerfully, whereas others need more time. A rule of thumb is to show each slide for at least five seconds and spend no more than one minute on any one slide.

  • Avoid common mistakes: If you aren’t careful, your pitch deck can steal the show. Avoid these common traps:

    • You have too much stuff on one slide, forcing your audience to read and comprehend many things while you talk.

    • You use stunts just to be different; sure, you’ll be memorable if you get your 10-year old nephew to yodel before the pitch. You’ll be remembered, but not taken seriously.

    • Your deck is sloppy, full of animations, or hard to see, making it impossible for your audience to focus on you while you present because they’ll be busy squinting and trying to decipher your poor visuals.

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