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Neil Patel

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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.

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.

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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.

To dive into it deeper you can watch the video below where I cover in detail how to send your pitch deck to investors.

FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:

Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about How to Send a Pitch Deck to Investors. Essentially, the pitch deck is super-critical. It’s going to be that document that it’s going to really make it or break it for you in terms of getting money for your business when you’re going out raising capital. So, today, we’re going to be covering all the elements: how do you send it? What’s the format? So, with that being said, let’s get into it.

To start off, let’s talk about the format. The format, at the end of the day of the pitch deck, as we’ve said multiple times, as you can see underneath on the pitch deck template that you can see for free, that you can use for yourself, is a 15-to-20-slides type of presentation. That’s what it’s all about. 

During that presentation, you’re going to walk them in a very nice flowing structure through the story of your business because it’s all about storytelling. Fundraising is about storytelling; it’s about the process and fulfilling concerns, but stories telling the absolute best movie because people are betting in your future, especially when you’re early-stage. 

Obviously, when you’re later-stage, it’s not so much of a movie, but more narrating the facts of the business because, at that point, people are really betting on the historicals and what the past and the present of the business is to forecast what the future is going to be like. 

But when you’re at the early stages, it’s really all about possibility; it’s all about the future, and for that reason, during those slides, you want to make sure you’re capturing very well the team, the market size that you give a sense and an understanding of what the key drivers of the business are going to be about, and then what the potential service or product is going to be addressing.

With that being said, you want to keep it very short. You want to go to the point, and that’s why 15 to 20 slides is the ideal structure.

The next thing is when to send the pitch deck to investors. When you’re sending the pitch deck to investors is when you’ve had that first initial call. Ideally, you’re going to get an introduction to the investor, and some people may ask you to send them the pitch deck ahead of anything – ahead of a meeting or ahead of discussing further details with you. 

But you don’t want to do that at that point because you don’t know if they’re speaking with other competitors, what their intention is, what’s their agenda. For that reason, you want to make sure that you are having control. You want to have that first call, that first conversation with the investor to really understand what’s driving them, so see if there’s an alignment between what your vision is and your mission, then also what that investor intends by making an investment in your business. Then, after that meeting, then you can follow-up with the pitch deck, and then perhaps you can also add in there the financial model. 

The pitch deck is something that you’d never want to send upfront. You always want to send it after you’ve had that initial call so that you’re basically filtering them, and they’re also filtering you. If there’s a match, then it’s obviously worth it to continue exploring, then you send the pitch deck as a follow-up.

The next thing is, what happens once you send the pitch deck? Once you have sent the pitch deck, they’re going to review it. Remember that typically investors only spend about 2:41 on a presentation. So, you want to make sure that you’ve condensed, very nicely, the information in a way in which they can skim very quickly through what you have put together.

Again, that’s the way that things are going to play out. They’re going to review it. They’re going to share it with a team, with other partners at a venture fund, or if it’s an individual angel, they’re just going to review it themselves. That’s essentially what’s going to happen.

The next thing is, at what point you’re going to be delivering the pitch on those slides that you have presented or that you’ve sent over to the investor. Typically, you’re not going to walk the investor through the slides on the first initial call where they’re getting to know you, and you’re getting to know them. That is one of the big mistakes that I see founders making.

Ultimately, the pitch or the deck that you’re sending, that’s going to only be done and reviewed in person when you’ve had a couple of touchpoints, and perhaps at that point, there is serious interest in your business. Typically, for example, if you go after a venture capital firm, maybe it could happen at the second or third meeting. It could happen, as well, at that partners’ meeting where you’re pitching to all the partners to see if they want to make an investment or not. But essentially, it’s going to happen later on. So, keep that in mind as the expectation.

Now, when it comes down to the format or how you are structuring that presentation being sent out, remember that you do not want to add friction to the process. My strong recommendation is that you go against using tools where you’re making that investor insert an email, to review it, where it’s clear to the investor that you’re tracking their movement and having like maybe a program with analytics where you know where they’re clicking, how much time they’re spending on this slide or this other slide. Investors hate that, and investors hate inputting their email on anything to have access to a presentation.

So, my advice to you is to put it on a super-frictionless format whether you’re sending it directly as an attachment, or my even better recommendation to that is to put it in a Google Drive folder, or in Dropbox, and then send them the link, so the less size on the email, the better. Again, make it frictionless and don’t make them give you their email in order for them to access the pitch deck. 

With that being said, I hope that you like this video, and if that was the case, make sure that you hit the Like button, that you leave a comment, and then also subscribe so that you’re not missing on any other videos. Then, also, don’t forget to check the fundraising training. That’s the program where we’re helping founders from A to Z on everything related to fundraising. We have live Q&As, we also have agreements, templates, founders all over the world helping each other, and I think that you would like it. With that being said, thank you so much for watching. Bye. Bye.

 

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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want me to help you with your fundraising, just book a call.

Book a Call