How a pitch deck is sent to investors? Sending a pitch deck to VC investors differs from presenting your pitch deck in person.
As your pitch is going to be read rather than watched, you must convert it into an Investor Deck first. This is the format you should use to send a pitch deck to potential investors.
In this article, I’m going to outline exactly what you should consider when sending a pitch deck to investors, why the process is different from others, and how to convert your pitch deck to an investor deck effectively.
When is a Pitch Deck Not a Pitch Deck?
It’s not the first line of a joke, but there really are instances when a pitch deck is not a pitch deck. When you speak with a potential investor about your business idea or startup, the investor will ask for you to send your pitch deck.
But that’s not really what they mean.
Your pitch deck is a 10 – 20 slide long presentation you deliver in front of investors, fielding questions at the end. When an investor asks you to send them your pitch deck instead of actually pitching it to them, they want a condensed version of that deck. If you are wondering what that looks like take a look at the video below where I cover in detail how to create a pitch deck.
We’ll call this condensed version of your pitch deck your “Investor Deck”. You might also see it referred to as a teaser, one-pager, synopsis, summary, or abstract. However, you’ll also have investors call it a “pitch deck” when it’s quite different from the real thing.
This Investor Deck is the format you’ll use when initially sending your pitch deck to investors, including VC firms. Knowing here the pros and cons of Venture Capital is critical.
The Investor Deck Format
Your investor deck is designed to be read rather than watched. It also does not entirely follow a standard pitch deck structure, nor should it contain all the information found in your full pitch.
Instead, it focuses on concise statements about your value proposition, market opportunities, strategy, and the vision you have for the future of your business. This isn’t presented as a wall of text, but as single sentence bullet points under subheadings for each appropriate section.
The key thrust of your investor deck is that it focuses purely on the aspects of your business plan which investors need to know in order to make an investment. Remember that how you show the financials in a pitch deck is what is going to lead the investor to believe whether or not you have done your homework.
Your investor deck will open the door for you, and it might then give you an opportunity to present your pitch deck in full at a later date.
Lastly, consider when creating your investor deck that you will already have been in contact with the investor in some manner, so they will already have an idea of what you are offering.
But they Asked for a Pitch Deck?
When you are speaking with potential targets and wondering how a pitch deck is sent to investors, you should clarify whether it is a one-page summary they want to look at or a full pitch deck presentation. Often, it will just be a summary, to begin with before moving onto the full pitch.
Of course, this will only happen if your investor deck works its magic.
Why Summaries Matter with VC Investors
Investor deck summaries are important, but they are even more critical for the early negotiations and pitching process with VC firms. The reason for this is that your point of contact will be either a VC fund manager or one of their junior associates.
These associates will be looking for lucrative opportunities for the VC fund they represent. However, any VC fund will contain a substantial amount of investment capital. For this reason, VC investment firms deal with many investment pitches before assigning capital.
This is why you will often deal first with a lower level associate of the firm as they process numerous investment opportunities. Only once your investor deck persuades the associate that your startup is worthy of investment, will it be passed up the chain of management within the VC firm.
In essence, your investment deck opens up possibilities. However, just because a VC representative likes your idea and business plan, this doesn’t mean you are guaranteed investment. What it will do is ensure that your startup is given serious consideration.
Holding Back the Pitch
When it comes down to how a pitch deck is sent to investors, unless a VC firm specifically asks for the full pitch deck, make sure you hold back. Give them the teaser, ensuring that it is labeled as a teaser or investment preview so that they understand what you are sending isn’t the complete pitch deck.
In an ideal situation, you will deliver the full pitch deck in person at a meeting in the future. There is a clear through-line here from your initial contact with a VC firm, often by email, to the investor deck, and then finally to the full pitch.
Once the door is opened and you’re given a face to face meeting with someone at the VC firm, then you break out the full pitch deck and get to work putting together the sales pitch of your life.
If you must send the full pitch deck instead of presenting it in person, it’s best to tweak your deck. You won’t be there to back up slides with your sales narrative, so in this situation, you might have to reword your slides so that they are more comprehensive than they would normally be during a pitch.
Always keep your audience in mind and remember that on average, VCs only spend about 4 minutes looking at pitches, so make those minutes count!
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE