How to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck to get your startup funded? Check out this formula for successfully pitching investors and securing meetings with your ideal prospects.
Even to get in front of target investors, get on their radar and win the chance to present to them you’ve got to have a powerful pitch deck. Even if you already have some connections and relationships with those around these investors or partners at a VC firm or angel group, you’ve got to prove you can show up with a great and impactful deck they can recommend.
So, what goes into a winning pitch deck? How does a pre-meeting pitch deck like this differ from others you may be creating?
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Crafting An Effective Pre-Meeting Pitch Deck
This step is all about getting your foot in the door. This is often when you are just beginning your outreach and are trying to grab the attention of potential investors. You are trying to earn enough interest and attention that they will not only check you out but listen to your full pitch and give you a chance to win their funding.
Even if you have met or conversed with individuals or reps from this firm before this is your opportunity to take that connection to the next level. Toward actually having a meaningful conversation about them funding you with their capital.
This pre-meeting deck is about spiking interest, compelling them to want to reach out and find out more, and start seriously talking about a potential deal.
With this in mind, this pitch deck should be even briefer than any others you are working on.
It should make a big impression and have enough credibility they believe it is worth pursuing. Yet, can also leave more cues and questions for them to want to find out the answers too.
The Slides You Need In Your Pre-Meeting Pitch Deck
Investors expect a pitch deck to coherently flow through nine distinct stages. There is really no need for more than one slide per stage for the pre-meeting deck.
In fact, unless you are already a later stage startup with a lot of past data to report and a very complex business structure, you should be extremely wary of going much longer than this with any other decks you are creating.
In this scenario, you may also have two additional slides. The cover and final call to action slide. Here are the 11 slides to include in this version of your pitch deck. They’ll help you figure out how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, 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.
1. The Cover Slide
A sharp, crisp cover slide is key to getting investors to open your deck and start swiping. Your cover slide can immediately signal if this is something interesting to them, and the type of startup they are interested in funding.
Keep it simple, but visually interesting.
Include your company name, logo, tagline, name, and contact information. This way they only have to look up your cover to get in touch with you to set a meeting. The easier and more effortless it is for them to take action, the more like they are to take the actions you want.
2. The Problem Slide
What is the big problem your startup is tackling and solving?
This is one of the top two most important factors in an investor’s decision to meet with you and fund your startup venture.
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You do not want to clutter this slide. You must convey this is a real, urgent, and big problem. State the problem clearly and simply. Use an image to drive it home and inject emotion into it. Use a big data point to wake them up and command their attention.
In your actual pitch during your meeting, you will tell this as a story they can relate to.
3. The Solution Slide
How are you planning to solve this big problem?
What is the big idea or concept your startup is focused on? The mission you are on and the vision you have, and a planned idea for tackling this problem?
Again, keep it simple. Stay on message. It’s one of the essentials of how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
4. The Market Slide
How big is this problem and the market you are taking on?
This is an extremely important data point. Investors are generally looking for 100x return potential. Your market size should at least be in the billions of dollars range. There are even more industries that are emerging as trillion-dollar markets.
You will ultimately boil this down to the target market you can address and service. Though demonstrate the grandest potential. Showing how fast and how much this space is expected to grow over the next 5-10 years is good to display as well.
5. The Product Slide
How are you formulating your solution into a product for customers and which can be monetized in some way?
Be careful not to get too detailed. You will only lose their interest. Avoid including any specifics of your secret sauce that will cause you to hesitate from sharing this version of your deck as widely and freely as possible. Do not bore them with too many features.
Stick to the primary benefit which solves the core problem. You can mention how this is 10x or better than any alternatives available.
Include screenshots of your app, images of your prototype or physical product in use by customers.
6. The Traction Slide
Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The difference between a successful startup that actually accumulates value and makes a difference and the rest is being able to get things done and make progress.
This is where you show that ability and just how good you are at it, even prior to getting funding. Or even more important, once you have already put some funding in the bank. Get these details in order when working out how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
Bullet point here what you have achieved. What are the major milestones you have already crossed off of your to-do list?
What is the one main metric you are tracking and reporting on that shows your growth and how fast you are growing?
7. The Team Slide
Along with the problem, this is one of the top two most important slides in your pitch deck.
You may have a fantastic idea, a great concept for solving an important and very large and urgent problem, but that isn’t going to mean much unless you have the team that is capable of pulling it all together, executing, and actually doing things.
Not only do you have to be capable, but you must also have the best team. One that can win and dominate this space. Not only in terms of creating the technology and product, but encompassing all of the factors needed to succeed in business, and scaling, and ultimately exiting a fast-growth startup.
Use this slide to succinctly show who is one of your team and how capable they are. Use profile photos of your cofounders and advisors, and a one-liner to sum up their highlights in relation to this venture.
8. The Competition Slide
Many entrepreneurs shy away from this slide as they fear they will reveal competition and risk. The opposite is actually true if it is presented correctly.
You are going to have competition. You can’t hide that. Trying to is only going to steal your credibility and trust.
Showing that you know who your competition is, have done your research and have worked to create a superior solution are all checkboxes that help derisk this potential investment for investors, and your venture.
Presented well, your competition slide positions you as a company that should be funded, has great potential, and has what it takes to be the winner in this race.
Use a graph or diagram to demonstrate this quickly and simply. It will help when you’re trying to understand how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
9. The Financials Slide
As this is a financial decision and transaction for investors, it should be no surprise that this is one of the slides that are most of interest to prospective investors.
Even if you have no money in the bank and no sales, or track record, use this slide to forecast the future. How many sales are you going to make? How much revenue will you bring in? How much profit will you make?
A basic financial table should be sufficient to tell its own story. It’s another of the fundamentals of how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
You can leave your assumptions and supporting data for your more in-depth pitch and pitch deck that you will present during your meeting, or provide to view online for those interested in learning more.
10. The Ask Slide
Use this slide to state how much you are raising in this round. As well as what round of funding this is for your venture.
If applicable, you may be able to share how much you’ve raised as a percentage of this already, and any notable lead investors who have already committed, or joined your cap table in earlier rounds.
Typically this slide also includes a few bullet points for the categories of spending you plan to use this money for. However, in order to keep up the momentum you may skip this for your pre-meeting slide. Giving them another reason to reach out to you.
11. The Call To Action Slide
The final slide of a pitch deck is often used to say thank you. To thank the viewer for their attention and time.
In this scenario, use your closing slide to propel the momentum and get them to follow through and get in touch with you.
Wrap up with a strong one line closing statement and call to action.
Be sure to include your best contact information prominently and clearly. It’s another of the prerequisites of how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck.
Need more information on how to crush it with your pitch deck? Check out this video where I have explained in detail how it’s done.
Sending & Positioning Your Pre-Meeting Pitch Deck
Once you’ve created this powerful pitch deck you’ve got to put it to work.
Hopefully, you have already created a list of your target investors and have tailored it for them.
Email will probably be the one most consistent medium for sharing this deck. Though you may also be using a combination of LinkedIn and text or other messaging apps, like Signal.
Given how few great matching investors there may be for your startup for this round it is worth investing in carefully crafting great copy to ensure your deck gets through and viewed.
Your from email address, LinkedIn profile, subject line, and cover copy should all be thought through strategically.
Be sure it is easy for them to set an appointment or call you right from your email or DM, without having to scroll through your deck again.
Instead of sending your pitch deck and supporting materials as attachments, send them as links instead. Host these documents online so that you can track their performance, have more control over this information in real-time, and riskless chance of your message getting stuck due to file sizes.
Review & Polish
Before blasting out your pitch deck, have it reviewed by those who are really familiar with the fundraising process, what investors are looking for right now and what is working in terms of decks. Take that feedback and swiftly polish your deck. Just don’t get stuck there trying to perfect it for too long.
No matter how great your pitch and pitch deck is, you still need to be ready to follow up.
People are busy. Especially investors. They may not see your first message or two. They may get interrupted. Follow up until you get an answer from them one way or the other.
Your pre-meeting pitch deck is one of the most pivotal tools you will create as a startup founder. Unless you nail this, you won’t even get a chance to really present your opportunity and everything else great about it.
Use this quick guide to understand how to build the perfect pre-meeting pitch deck and carry the momentum through to contacting you and setting a meeting.
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