I browsed through my recent client work and saw that the objective of most decks I design is to get interest as an email attachment. This is a significant change from a couple of years ago.

Remember, 90% of my client work is in the field of investor presentations (startups, VC funds who need to raise money themselves, and big corporates reporting to the analyst community).

The big hurdle for many in fund raising is getting through that initial noise and reach the stage of a quick phone call, or even a 30 minute one on one meeting. If this goes well, most clients are less concerned about the big stand up presentation in front of an investment committee.  (Well, after they have gone through my design process they are covered for that stage as well of course).

These send-ahead deck pretty much replace the dense 1-pagers that people used to email. What makes a good introduction presentation that you cannot explain in person?

  • A professional look and feel. Comic sans, standard PowerPoint colors, and a list of bullet points with buzzwords on page one signals "oops, these guys are not ready yet"
  • Clear explanation what you are actually doing, in what field, market do you operate (most people are surprisingly vague about this
  • Some sense of stage of the company, traction (napkin, seed, series A, etc.)
  • Then a condensed pitch of why what you are doing is a big deal.

Leave out super sensitive intellectual property information, confidential financials, partner discussions and/or some of the more "boring" slides with factual information about the company and its strategy. This deck is all about getting people excited about your company, it will not land you the investment.

Sequence the whole story as a "rodeo ride". Assume that you might lose your audience ("click") at any moment, create a slide deck that invites the next click. And no, stunning pictures in itself will not guarantee a click by an investor who is too busy to look at beautiful images. There is a difference between a VC catching up on email and people sitting down relaxed for a day of TED talks.

Painting: Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

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