Neil Patel

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How to present your projections to investors? In other words, what is the best way to present your projections when pitching startup investors?

Almost no matter what stage your startup is at, projections of what you anticipate to happen and be able to achieve in the future are a huge piece of the fundraising puzzle. It will be absolutely key to opening investors’ vaults and accessing the capital to make your vision a reality.

So, what projections should be included in your investor pitch? Where do they fit in your pitch deck? How do you make them convincing? What might be a reason not to include them?

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

The Role Of Projections In Your Investor Pitch

Projections are a core part of your investor pitch when running any fundraising campaign.

Being able to cast the vision of what is going to happen next and what is possible can easily make or break your capital raising and financing efforts.

This is even more critical for early-stage startups. Most of which don’t really have much else to sell and raise on than their projections.

Even for the latest stage startups and those on the brink of an M&A transaction or IPO, projecting the future is a big deal. Even if your company is mature and growth is likely to be much slower than it was in the early days.

The job of your projections is to paint a picture of the outcome. This directly or indirectly alludes to the return on investment they can expect, create urgency and fear of missing out if they don’t act now, and perhaps even give them a sense of purpose and an ego boost for what they are a part of achieving.

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How Far Out Should Your Projections Go?

The truth is that things change a lot, and fast for startups. The early days of a startup are full of reiterating and tweaking, and pivoting to find the oasis in the desert. Then, even with the best-laid plans and having found a good pace, you can run into major shifts, like those caused by COVID lockdowns.

Being set on the values, mission, and ultimate vision is good. Just anticipate the need to be very flexible until you get there. Investors understand this very well.

So, while five-year projections are great, early-stage startups may only need to go out for three years. With more detail in year one. Perhaps on a month-to-month basis. Then annually for the full three years.

More importantly, the big question is what you are going to achieve before your next funding round or exit. This is what investors are focused on. It is also a test of whether you can focus enough. Which is a critical skill for gaining meaningful progress and results, and creating value.

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.

What Metrics Should Be In Your Projections?

There are some common metrics and data points that investors will want to know. If they are not included in your presentation, then you need to be prepared to answer those questions.

That includes numbers such as:

You may want to hone in and focus on one main data point which you are focused on, and are confident that you can succeed in growing. It’s hard to scale on all fronts at the same time. Unless that is a side effect of doing one thing well.

Key metrics to include when you present your projections to investors are:

  • Number of users
  • Number of paying customers
  • Sales in units
  • Revenues in dollars
  • Gross profit
  • Net profit

What Metrics Are Most Important For This Fundraising Round?

Again, this is largely about hitting the next level milestone. The point at which you will be able to bring in more investors and capital to keep going.

This somewhat depends on the stage you are at now, and the types of investors you are bringing in.

In the very early days, it may be about gaining users. Then it may be about creating real sales and revenues. Then about at least having the ability to break even and be profitable. Or gaining so much market share and company value.

Do you need to hit a certain revenue milestone or value to go public? Do you need so many users to be an attractive acquisition target? Do you need revenues or profitability?

Where Your Projections Fit In Your Pitch Deck

Based on this recommended 16-slide pitch deck outline, you’ll see exactly where your financial projections fit in.

  • Cover
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Market Size
  • Competition
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Product
  • Traction
  • Customers and Engagement
  • Business Model
  • Financials
  • Amount Being Raised and Other Investors
  • Use of Funds
  • Team
  • Advisors
  • Back Cover

You may also include bullet points of the next most important markers and milestones you are working on.

How To Compliment Your Projections

How do you present your projections to investors you’re pitching, so they are convincing, attainable, and realistic?

Use References & Sources

Be sure you are referencing and sourcing all of your assumptions used for calculations and quoted data points.

You don’t have much room to do this in your pitch deck. So, you can use an appendix slide. Or have a second appendix and reference document, and even more in-depth projections and financials in your virtual data room.

Show Your Progress & Traction

Show that you are capable of achieving and producing results and that this is not just dreaming.

How far have you made it, what stats have you put up with the money you already collected, or without any?

Use Of Funds

After you use your progress in data to prove what you’ve achieved, show how this money is just helping to multiply your output. Whether that is by hiring more people, plowing more money into your marketing, or expanding what you are doing into new markets.

How will this capital directly lead to fulfilling your projections?

How To Present Your Projections In Your Pitch Deck

The main way you will present this part of your pitch is going to be in the form of your financial projections.

As a brand new startup, this will be in the form of a simple table on your financials slide. All you have is projections.

You can take advantage of financial modeling tools and software to help with this.

If you have already been operating, then investors will want to see your current and historical financial performance. Avoid being too detailed and complex in your presentation. Save the details and sensitive data for your data room, and only serious investors that need it to move forward.

As an established company, you will ultimately be providing all of your financial statements and tax information. At least in most cases.

This may include:

  • Cash flow statement
  • Tax returns
  • P&L
  • Income statement
  • Bank statements

Additional Positioning Tactics

How you tell the story, build up to, and present your projections to investors with other information makes a big difference. It will provide a lot more context.

Do be bold, but back that up with hard facts.

Team Strengths & Resumes

What have your team members accomplished in other roles and companies that will give investors the confidence you can do this with this startup?

Do you have an expert CMO who really knows this domain? Have you brought in an executive who came from operating at the same level in a different company? Have your advisors carried other startups through to a great exit and similar results?

Market Size

Use your market size slide to lead up to this, and put things in perspective. Use your TAM, SAM, and SOM to show what’s available and possible.

You may also leverage your competition slide to position against others that have been achieving similar results, valuations, and funding rounds.

Market Trend Data

Is this a market that promises tremendous growth in the next few years? Will even maintaining a small percentage of the market share create a multibillion-dollar company, without even displacing any competitors? Or is this a new market that you can take over and control by deploying more capital now?

Traction & Growth Rate

Specifically, show your rate of traction and growth so far. Have you been able to push that growth consistently over the past months and years? If you’ve been able to grow 100% each year, then projecting you’ll be 3x as big in three years is an easy sell.

Knowing how to present projections to investors becomes all the more important when your startup has no revenue. To get funding, you’ll present market and industry-driven research-based estimations of how well your startup can perform in the future. for more information on how to do that, check out this video I have created. You’re sure to find it helpful.

The Pros & Cons Of Projections In Your Pitch

There may be potential pros and cons of putting out too much in terms of projections in your investor pitches. Even though it may be expected in a pitch deck, and less so in a brief in-person pitch at your seed round.

The Pros

  • Show them the vision: If you don’t show them where you are going and what’s possible, how will they know? Especially in a new market, that one investor is not familiar with, they may have no idea how big this problem is, what sales can be expected and if this is a fit for their fund.
  • Show them the returns:  While emotion and ego still play a role in any human decision; this is a financial transaction. Investors have strict criteria that they are looking for. Especially when it comes to the returns they are going to achieve for their own investors and responsibilities. Show them how much financial potential there is. If they put in X, what output can they hope for?
  • Create FOMO: Done well, your projections should make your audience fear missing out on this opportunity. It should create urgency, so they take immediate action. Make it a no-brainer for them to invest with you.

The Cons

  • Limiting Yourself: There is certainly a large percentage of cases in which entrepreneurs seriously undersell themselves and their startups. If you present your projections to investors, but they are too modest, they may not be of interest. Or you may simply end up giving up a lot more of your company, for a lot less. Remember that those on the other side of the table have a different perspective. What they see as possible may be many times larger than you. They might know how to and have the connections to supersize your business overnight.
  • Raising More Questions & Objections Than Needed: If you make your projections too complicated, or just haven’t done your homework on your industry well, then you may raise more questions and objections. That’s the last thing you want. You want to control the presentation and negotiation. Not be on the defensive. You certainly don’t want to give them more excuses to go away and think about it or do more investigating of the numbers themselves first. Your pitch and how you present your projections to investors should be designed to streamline and speed things up, not drag them out.


Projections are a significant part of presenting to startup investors.

To ace this part of the fundraising process, you need to know who to pitch it to, where to include this information in your slides, how to balance bold with attainable and use them to get what you need, not sabotage your efforts.

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.


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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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