How to build a great investment deck

Building a great investment presentation is key if you are to raise money from venture capital investors or business angels.

You need a presentation, or ‘deck’, that sets your business apart from the competition. It needs to mark out your business as one with which investors simply have to be involved – and this means that it has to be gripping. We have compiled a list of tips to help you write the best investment presentation you possibly can.

Make your mark early

Many successful investment decks begin with a one-sentence elevator pitch. What is your business, and what does it do? For example, Airbnb, the popular lodgings website that is now valued at around $10 billion, began one of its first investment presentations with the strapline “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” The phrase explains exactly what the company is offering, acts as a hook for potential investors, and provides a jumping off point for the rest of the presentation.

Sell your team

Potential investors will want to know who is working on the project, and what expertise they have. In the tech world a lot is made of ‘rock star’ teams. You need to highlight the strengths of the people you have on board, making clear why they are the best people for the job, and why prospective investors should trust them.

Explain the problem, and your solution

Great investment decks highlight a problem, and then explain how the company will solve it. What issue are you solving in your market? Why is your company needed? You need to give investors an idea of the potential size of the market, your position within it, and the potential for growth.

Know your audience

It is vital that you understand who you are pitching to. You should research your potential investors thoroughly. What have they invested in in the past? What are their areas of expertise? Can trends be seen in their previous ventures? By conducting this research before your pitch you can ensure not only that your deck is well targeted, but that you are able to effectively answer any questions that may arise as a result.

Underscore existing traction

Often, potential investors will want to see proof of ‘traction’ – that is, proof that your products or services have already enjoyed some uptake, or that your company has already generated customer engagement. You should underscore your existing successes, relying on simple, hard data, properly contextualised.

Make sure it speaks for itself

You need to be prepared for the fact that you might not be there the first time your deck is seen. Often potential investors will want to see the presentation before they meet, and they may share it with others. As such, it is vital that your deck speaks for itself, and that it is comprehensible even if you are not there to talk people through it.

Keep it snappy

Finally, remember that investors are busy people. At this stage they probably don’t want to see detailed financial forecasts. Instead, your job is to hook them with a great idea – and you should be able to do this in less than 15 slides. This brevity will also help you write more effectively, encouraging you to concentrate on the most important, most attractive aspects of your pitch.