Neil Patel

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How to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day? Here’s how to nail it and get your startup funded…

Demo day is a big deal for startup founders. It can feel like the make or break moment of your life. Certainly validation of whether all the sweat, blood, tears, and sleepless nights you’ve spent working on your idea for the last few months have been worth it or not.

This one pitching event can make you and change everything. Check out the following tips for how to debug it, boost your confidence, and deliver a winning pitch that will get you funded.

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

What Is Demo Day

Demo Day is the final graduating day for startups that have enrolled in startup accelerator programs. This is when your cohort of founders take to the stage to each deliver their pitches to a room full of qualified investors who are looking for early-stage startups to fund.

So, how do you ace this pivotal moment?

Know Your Investors

Get an idea of who will be in the room on the day. If you are able to interact with any of them in advance through the accelerator, pick their brains on what makes a great demo day presentation. Who have they funded on demo day before and why? Why do they pass on most pitches? What are they or their fund most looking for in a venture to back right now? What criteria is on their list to check off?

Know Your Competition

You could be pitching in a line of a handful or dozens of other startups and founding teams. Who are they? What are they working on? What are their big claims, USPs, and hooks?

You don’t want to be scooped by another competing startup who presents right before or after you and beats you out on what you think your biggest selling point is. Consider how you can outdo them in front of investors. Understand carefully how to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day.

Tweak & Customize Your Pitch Deck

Equipped with all of the above information, tweak and tailor your pitch deck and verbal presentation specifically for this group of investors, and in his setting, alongside this group of competing startups who are vying for the same money and capital partners.

You may not even want to appeal to all of the investors in the room, just those who are the best fit for your specific startup. Tweak it for them.

Use A Short Pitch Deck

You probably won’t be allotted a lot of time to pitch in this scenario. Instead of rushing and failing to deliver any clear points to prospective investors, condense it down as much as possible. Think 10 slides or less.

Keep Your Deck Clean & Clear

Don’t cram in more information just because you are using fewer slides. Use BIG fonts, have them designed well. And, use big data points.

Use A Proven Pitch Deck Template

You don’t have time to reinvent the wheel here. Use an existing and proven pitch deck template and just fill in the blanks and customize it.

Get Comfortable With Your Pitching Setting

It is vital to get comfortable with the setting you’ll be pitching in. This is even truer if you or any of your co-founders aren’t really confident in presenting in front of a crowd, either on camera or live on stage.

Practice on the stage or video meeting tool that will be used on Demo Day. Test out any technology that will be involved in your pitch. Including mics and getting your deck on screen. Test the volume of your verbal pitch. Get the essential elements in place when learning how to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day. It could be a critical lesson on how to start a business.

Rehearse, Rehearse

Repeatedly practice your live pitch until you know it by heart and it just sounds natural. Ideally, you’ll practice in front of others too.

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.

Show Your Traction

Demo day is the culmination of weeks of months of intense focus. It is all about progress and traction. Show what you have accomplished with that time and that you can really execute and make things happen. What milestones or rate of growth have you achieved during this sprint?

Make Sure You Stand Out & Are Memorable

Not only are you just one in a sea full of pitches these investors may see on this one day but maybe just one of the hundreds of pitches they’ll be sent and see this week. You have to stand out and be memorable. Everything from what you wear to how you speak and your logo can play into this.

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With limited time and so much competing noise, you can only expect your audience to remember 1-3 things about you. Decide what those 1-3 big points will be and own them.

Lead in with a big claim and close with a big one too. It’s one of the basics of how to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day.

Don’t Be Discouraged If Investors Aren’t Throwing Money At You

Don’t be discouraged if your targets aren’t throwing money at you on stage. It is often the least expected person in the room or meetings after this room or later on that lead to the money. Give it your all, but be patient. Just do your best and have real conviction about your mission.

Follow Up

Even with the best pitch deck and presentation closing these investors and getting funded may all rely on your follow up. Get their contact information. Set follow up appointments if you can. Keep hitting them with your investor updates, show them the progress you are making and how they are missing out. Ask for referrals and introductions to other investors for who your venture may be a better fit.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.

In the video below I cover in detail how to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day.

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Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to crush it with your pitch deck on demo day. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that Subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.

Demo Day is a very big deal for startup founders, especially those that are going through accelerators and through incubator programs. In today’s video, we’re really going to be breaking it down for you with all the insights, with all the step-by-step processes to make it happen in a really big way. So with that being said, let’s get into it. 

Demo Day is the graduation day. This is the point of the company going through the three or four-month process that is the actual length of the accelerator program in a place where they come in, where they go on stage, and where they present a sea of investors. 

When you go to Y Combinator, you’re seeing at least 1,000 investors that are watching every single minute of your presentation, which is going to be anywhere between five to ten minutes. Here, essentially, you are going to be pitching the story; you’re going to be letting them know what you’re up to and also inviting them in the possibility of potentially making an investment in your business.

They also leave some networking time so that after all the presentations, they leave the opportunity for the investors to meet the founders on a more personalized networking type of environment. And demo days are the combination of a three-to-four-month process where essentially the accelerator program has helped you on the product, on the way that you’re looking at things, or your story, or maybe thinking about the team and how you’re going to be assembling that rockstar team of individuals, and the 18 to 24-month plan in terms of the execution that you have in front of you. So, the idea is that from the point that you actually join to the point that you’re actually graduating and you’re at the demo day, you have been able to increase your KPI, which is your metrics, at least 10 to 15% week over week.

So you need to know your investors. You want to understand who is going to be in that room during demo day. Maybe get a list of those investors. Try to see which one of those investors is actually excited about your specific segment, about your industry, about your financing cycle, about perhaps the way that you’re looking at executing, maybe like team members that they have a certain affinity on the background and the skillsets.

You need to do your research so that you’re going after the investors that are most inclined to actually make an investment in your business because here’s the thing: the amount of time that you’re investing on others is going to be time that you’re taking away from really investing on the people that are most likely to invest in your business. So be very careful and know who is going to be in front of you at all times.

Know your competitors. There could be competition as part of that batch, as part of the people that are going to be presenting that day. So, again, you want to speak with the organization and maybe try to see the way that they’re going to be handling their own presentation. You want to go out there and make sure that you are seen as the clear winner because, in many instances, they may not be direct competitors, but they may be indirect competitors, and they’re going to be competing for that money. So make sure that you’re coming out on top and that they are going to be viewing you as the leader of the pack.

You want to tweak and tailor your pitch deck. Here, typically, you’re looking at 15 to 20 slides, but you also want to make sure that there’s not a lot of text and that you also have the visuals in there so that they can actually connect with you, connect with you on what you’re saying, on the way that you’re describing it. It needs to be storytelling because storytelling is everything. At this point, in the early stage, you want to have them get excited about the future and the possibility because that’s ultimately what they’re investing in. 

Now, you’re always going to be having the short pitch deck version and the long pitch deck version. The short is the one that you would be using at a demo day where it’s all about visuals and then connecting with you. Then the longer version is going to be that version that perhaps you distribute via email where there’s a little bit more information where maybe if you’re not there, and you can’t see the body language, it self-describes some of those elements to address their concerns.

And, by the way, you can use the pitch deck template below on the link that you will see under this video where there are founders all over the world using it to raise millions. So, don’t start from scratch. Grab that template and get in motion.

You want to also get comfortable with the setting. You want to know where you’re going to be pitching, in front of who, who’s going to be there, what’s going to be the arrangement. The more visibility that you have, the better, so that you know what kind of room you’re heading into. That’s going to help you; it’s going to give you more confidence, more security, more of an understanding as to what’s going to happen every step of the way, and knowing and anticipating in your head what that’s going to look like. The problem is if you go into it not knowing what’s happening with the uncertainty, not sure, not confident – you definitely don’t want to come across that way.

Rehearsing is everything. You want to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. What exactly is going to be your narrative? And how that narrative is going to come in parallel with the slides as you’re going from one slide to another. But the thing is that you want to sound authentic. You don’t want to sound like a robot because people don’t connect with robots. 

And as I said earlier in the video, they all want to connect with you, and that’s why they’re placing the investments. So, come across authentic; let them see that you’re actually doing this, you’re breathing this, you’re living this. This is your life, and that passion is going to come across. It’s going to get them contagious, and you’re going to be able to touch them, move them, and inspire them, so they actually end up becoming investors.

So hit a Like on this video, and subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week. Then, also, leave a comment below and let me know what you’re thinking in terms of your demo day, how you’re going to be preparing it, and so forth. And if you’re raising money, send me an email at [email protected]. We’d love to help out. Thank you so much for watching.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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