PILLAR: Startup Funding Guidebook

BEYOND THE PITCH DECK:
THE STARTUP FUNDING GUIDE

FIND YOUR WAY TO FUNDING

How to use your investor pitch deck

Find your way through the funding maze with Pitch Deck Fire’s Startup Funding Guide Book. Shortcut your funding efforts and see results with investors faster. This funding guide was created to help you ace the basics of pitching and getting your most important early marketing material developed; your investor pitch deck.

Investors love businesses with proven customer traction. Our job at Pitch Deck Fire is to help you get traction, secure funding, and win customers through compelling design and story-telling.

The investment you make early on in compelling marketing will help you win investors and customers faster.

Pitch Deck Fire is a full service marketing design & strategy firm that can transform your startup into a growth machine.

What This Guide Covers:

How Do I Reach Investors?

What Do Investors Want?

How Do I Wow Investors?

How Do I Pitch to Investors?

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How Do I Reach Investors?

MEET THEM

As you’re preparing for an upcoming fund raise, plan how you will connect with investors in the first place. How are you trying to reach? What do they care about? These are all important considerations whan planning your raise and building your investor pitch deck.

Getting in touch with investors is an arduous task, filled with many “no’s”. Fortunately, there are several ways to get in reach of investors through incubator, venture capital groups, or small fund managers and we’ve compiled a listing of many of these options here for you: Investor Landscape (coming soon). Find investor vehicles like Angels, VC, Incubators, and Accelerators all organized by location.

THE COLD OUTREACH

Optimally, you would want a direct introduction from someone you know in the investors’ network. But this is not always possible. When working through cold outreach or connections, it’s important to have a solid communication ad fund raise marketing plan. Use our guide to develop your Three Investor Marketing Essentials before approaching your investors with your investor pitch deck.

Don’t approach investors without a pitch deck or other form of visual collateral. Confused about what is what? Find out the difference between these – A Pitch Deck, One Pager, Executive Summary, and What is the Difference Between an Pitch Deck and a Business Plan. Bonus: if you have an explainer video or a demo of your product or service these would be great additions to your marketing arsenal as well.

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What Do Investors Want?

MONEY

To make money. Pure and simple. It is your job to convince them of the viability of your company/concept and its ability to make them money after an investment. A truly compelling investor pitch deck proves this case.

Every investor is different, but some business models, stages, industries, etc are generally more “fundable” in the eyes of investors than others. To find out how fundable your business is, check out this quiz: How Fundable is Your Startup? (Coming Soon)

KEY TERMS TO KNOW

These are some other things that are nice to know and to keep in mind as you raise money for your startup. They aren’t always required at very early stage companies, but as you raise funds, you’ll find these resources valuable.

TERM SHEET

The terms in the term sheet outline the “conditions”for an investment. In early rounds or for seed funding, your lead investors will be most likely setting the terms of the deal and bringing others on-board to fund your startup. Later round funding is more complex, but in general the term sheets are going to lay out the valuation of the company, the split, and the amount of investment required to get in on the deal. Forbes has a great article describing term sheets in more detail.
Also check out this term sheet example from National Venture Capital Association.

CAPITALIZATION TABLES

Capitalization tables show who owns what at your company. Here’s a good walkthrough of what a cap table looks like and how to create and maintain it. For additional detail and a complete overview of Cap Tables and what they mean to your startup check out CapShare’s Cap Table 101.

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How Do I Wow Investors?

THE PITCH DECK

Your Investor Pitch Deck is the most important piece of early marketing collateral that you invest in as a startup founder. A killer pitch deck will grab your potential investor’s attention, effectively convey the value of your company, and incite them to action. A poor investor pitch deck will reflect badly on your ability to sell, either to investors or to your customers. Which is not a good sign of the financial health of the opportunity.

You can utilize many of the storytelling and brand elements developed in the investor pitch deck to develop your customer facing marketing approach as well. These often go hand in hand.

A FOCUS ON TRACTION

Wowing your investors really comes down to having a solid product, customer traction, ability to grow, a big market opportunity and the ability to deliver a compelling pitch. Failing to have focus on delivery and marketing can sink many deals before they even get off the ground. A good idea is great, but you need more.

Check out this article to get inside tips to wowing your investors and making the most out of every interaction you get with them. We’ll discuss multiple-founder teams and pitching in a dynamic way that makes the most of your partnership.

GET MORE TRACTION TODAY

Check Out More Articles on Traction in Your Pitch Deck:

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

Understanding your biggest differentiators is key to making your business stand-out among the rest. Check out this biggest differentiators article to find three great ways to identify your key differentiators. Determine what makes you special and how you can sustainably differentiate yourself in your investor pitch deck and ideally long-term.

FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE

Keep in mind, investors are like all people, not created equally. Don’t put everyone in the same box. Segmenting your investor audience (just like your consumer audience!) is the best way to get your message and approach right each time. 

This means that you’ll need more than one investor pitch deck to effectively communicate with your investors. You’re Going to Need More than One Pitch Deck talks you through this segmentation process as well as how to update your pitch deck for more than one audience.

PREPARE FOR SUCCESS

Check out ways to use your pitch deck to impress investors and get funding faster. You can use this article to formulate your investor strategy and prepare for incoming due diligence support. When you do get traction with investors you’re talking to, you want to make sure to have all of the next steps clearly defined, so you can move things forward successfully.

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How Do I Pitch to Investors?

START WITH THE BEST PITCH DECK

You’ll need a clear story, flow and compelling massage about your company and the investment opportunity all wrapped up in a tight, compelling package that is easy to digest. That is your investor pitch deck.

Start with Develop that Pitch to get a birds eye view of the pitch itself, what makes a great one and some of the underlying content you always find in a good pitch like traction, market size, and financials. Many of these you’ll need to have had a head start on as you prepare the pitch.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

So you’ve got an opportunity to pitch “live”, that’s great! Practicing your pitch is the only way to get to know your pitfalls and possible weaknesses in the content and in the execution. We’ve written many articles under the Pitch Development and Practice Section of our Ignite Blog. You’ll find a wealth of information there about how to make your pitch the best it can be. Whether you are pitching one-on-one or in front of large audiences, the tips and tricks found in this section will help you pitch better and practice right from the beginning.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Like Videos? Check Out These Pitch Hacks for Improving Your Presentations:

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Let's Design a Killer Pitch Deck Today

Great pitch decks tell the story of your company, provide legitimacy and clarity to your message, and highlight the points that clients, investors, or accelerator programs need to see to invest. Here at Pitch Deck Fire, we have extensive experience building clear, concise and compelling pitch decks that get results for our clients.

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NEXT STEPS

Now you’ve built a killer pitch deck and have a clean well, practiced pitch. Your starting to see some traction in your fundraise. But, what else can you get out of this process? It turns out.. A lot! Check out the “Pitch Deck Guide: A Founders Toolkit”

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