How to raise capital without a pitch deck? How would you raise the funding you need for the company?
Pitch decks have become synonymous with raising capital for startup businesses. Most couldn’t imagine ever even thinking about trying to raise a dime. Or having a serious conversation about fundraising and taking an investment without a great deck that they are very confident in.
That seems like it would be too big of a risk to even consider. So, can you raise without a deck? What types of funding may work without a deck? How would you still get it closed?
Raising Startup Capital
All startups need capital in some form or another. It’s quite likely you’ll continue to need multiple rounds of capital for your startup as you organize, get ready for launch, approach new milestones, and want to expand and position yourself for an exit.
Even if you can start to lean without any outside funds, eventually you will find funding becomes pivotal in staying alive. And truly realizing the potential of your venture. Then once you start, you don’t stop.
Pitch decks seem to have become inseparable from fundraising today.
In fact, pitch decks have become a staple in startups for more than just external capital raising. They are used for internal planning, recruiting cofounder, investors and key hires, and as a roadmap to focus teams.
The very first step for virtually every startup being born today is to create the pitch deck. You might get away without a traditional business plan, but typically not a deck.
In any serious conversation, and especially anything around fundraising, the first question you are probably going to get as an entrepreneur is “send me your deck.” So, how to raise capital without a pitch deck?
Can You Raise Capital Without A Pitch Deck?
It would seem to be extremely rare, if almost unheard of for a startup to raise any serious money without a pitch deck.
In fact, pitch decks of famous fast-growing startups have begun to be almost as iconic as their stories of hypergrowth and supersized valuations.
There are cases in which brand new aspiring entrepreneurs, and seasoned serial founders have raised without making it all the way through their pitch deck slides, or with just an email. It’s not common, but it is possible.
Still, given there can be so much on the line, and there are very limited chances to get funding.
With so much competition, it seems a little reckless to try to raise without having a great deck on standby. It always pays to be prepared.
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.
Types Of Fundraising
There is a whole menu of ways to raise and bring in money for a startup venture. These are some of the most common.
Venture Capital Firms
When most people mention startup fundraising it is VC money that immediately springs to mind. Venture Capital firms are where the big famous startup capital often comes from, but not exclusively.
VCs are going to want a pitch deck. Even if you know a partner at the firm very well, or you are getting unsolicited inbound interest, they are going to want to see your deck.
They have systems and responsibility. Don’t expect to get too far without a deck and supporting documentation, even if they really want to help.
Angel groups are collaborations of individual investors. Together they are able to simplify sourcing and vetting potential investment opportunities.
Together they can also greatly de-risk their investments by spreading that risk and having a bigger impact, with more capital going into stronger startup investment opportunities.
For startup entrepreneurs, angel groups can give them what most solo angel investors cannot in terms of check size.
Again, with their duties to their members, and the need for organization, it is unlikely they are going to fund a venture that can’t come up with a pitch deck.
For this reason, you must understand how to raise capital without a pitch deck if that situation ever arises.
Strategic Corporate Investors
These investors have become even more common in the startup ecosystem. They can be very beneficial as early partners for startups.
Especially those with an enterprise focus. They can provide a lot of help and resources in the development stage, as well as for distribution.
For them as investors this is proving to be an important way to efficiently grow, avoid missing out, keep innovating, and get in on new technology early, while planting low-risk seeds for future attractive acquisitions.
More and more highly successful startups seem to be coming out of high-profile startup accelerators. While these accelerators so provide some much-welcomed seed money, they have other benefits too.
The best can provide the necessary structure to gain important traction in a way that new entrepreneurs won’t find elsewhere.
Y Combinator, in particular, is an example of one that can also add great credibility and open more doors to future investors.
Of course, they’ve also become notoriously harder to get into than Harvard. You can expect they’ll demand a lot more than the most basic pitch deck to get accepted.
The Most Likely Scenarios For Raising Money Without A Pitch Deck
This other high-demand and popular ways to raise capital very likely demand a solid pitch deck at the very least. So, what other methods of fundraising are there that may make it easier if you absolutely just must buck the system?
What if you refuse to create a pitch deck? How to raise capital without a pitch deck?
There are all types of loans and debt financing to be raised that may never require a pitch deck.
This can range from personal loans to get off the ground, to SBA loans, emergency disaster loans, and bigger credit lines for startups extending financing themselves. And once you have revenues then working capital type loans.
This angle can be a way to avoid the need for a pitch deck, but in exchange, you can expect to have to complete a loan application and submit any supporting documents required by underwriters.
Some types of crowdfunding are very intense. They will require far more than a pitch deck, including a lot of expensive legal paperwork and government filings.
Other types, like on popular public crowdfunding platforms may not require a deck or regulatory filings. Though you’ll still need to create top-notch materials, including profile pages, PR, explainer videos, follow-up and marketing messages, and more.
In essence, you are probably doing just as much work as a pitch deck. In fact, your pitch deck could probably be repurposed to create most of this content, and vice versa.
Friends & Family
While it is still great if you use a pitch deck to present to friends and family, and will be great practice for pitching other investors, they may not require one.
This is going to be one of your most foundational rounds. It may be a lot more casual and easy than anything you’ll face in future fundraising campaigns, but starting well and as organized as possible is smart.
Though, if you really, really don’t want to create a pitch deck for whatever reason, then this is probably one of the easiest routes to go to raise capital for your startup.
Business Plan Competitions
While the lines between business plans and pitch decks may be blurring at the edges, if you are just out to prove you can survive without a slide deck, then maybe there is a traditional business plan competition that you can enter for the chance at a cash reward.
Along these lines, there are also layers of potential grants that you may be able to apply for to get funding for your business, without having to give up equity, or take on stifling debt. Here’s where you’ll need to learn how to raise capital without a pitch deck.
Just like with friends and family, building awesome relationships with individual investors is probably one of the easiest ways to get funding without investing in creating an outstanding pitch deck.
This will still take an investment. You have to make the connections and build out your network. You have to build and develop those relationships and grow that trust over time.
These may be amateur individual investors or individual angel investors. Most of their decision to invest may come down to how much they believe in you personally.
Cofounders With Capital
Another alternative is to get started by bringing in cofounders. Not just cofounders you are friends with for a company on the ride, or for the talent and time that they can bring into the venture, but also the capital.
Sometimes a founding team is a mix of a team coming together with a well-rounded skill set and shared passion for the mission.
Or it can be an equity partner, with others with the time and skills. Though there is no reason that you can’t have a founding team where everyone brings in seed capital.
Or even to bid out cofounding positions for who is willing to bring in capital to stake their place.
The most direct route to bringing in money for your startup, without needing to create a pitch deck is simply to start selling to your customers. Let those sales put the money in the bank.
It proves your concept and business vision with every sale. It doesn’t require you to give up ownership and control of your business, or take on the burden of monthly debt service and paying interest.
In fact, taking this route, and just building a profitable business is going to make it easy to attract inbound investment offers, and to streamline future forms of fundraising.
Whether or not you want to create a pitch deck, as an entrepreneur, you must master the art of fundraising. Check out this video I have put together for more information about how rounds of financing work for startups.
Easiest Way To Create A Pitch Deck
There are ways to raise capital for your startup without a pitch deck. Though all of them can and will benefit from having one on hand.
Why you wouldn’t want one is pretty unfathomable. This isn’t the place just to be a rebel and disrupt things.
Not if you really want to achieve your business mission and give it the best possible chance.
So, if it is just a matter of creating a pitch deck seeming daunting to you, then what are the easiest and best ways to do it?
There are now great resources for learning how to create an amazing pitch deck that will help you crush it.
Though you can also outsource it all. There are a variety of agencies and freelancers that can do it all for you, and often a lot faster.
If you don’t have any budget at all, and you don’t have time to waste, then there are also plug-and-play pitch deck templates that you can use to streamline it and start closing those investors.
How to raise capital without a pitch deck? It is very rare, but it is possible to fund a startup without a strong deck of slides.
Some sources of capital definitely lend themselves to this far better than others. Some will be very hard if you just insist on not doing it.
So, you can do it, though if this question is simply a matter of trying to get funding without having a lot of time or financial resources, or expertise now, there are ways to streamline your pitch deck creation.
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.