What critical mistakes do startups make with pitch decks that blow their chances of getting funded?
What you do with your pitch deck will make all the difference in fundraising and whether your startup survives long enough for the world to experience what you’re creating. It’s a shame to see entrepreneurs’ potential and valuable startups fail to make it for the sake of what they do with a few slides.
In this regard, not long ago I covered the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). I find that learning from others really helps in decreasing the learning curve and avoiding mistakes. In the event you want a more robust pitch deck template you can use for free the one I created below which has been used already by thousands of entrepreneurs to raise millions.
Five Common Errors an Entrepreneur Just Can’t Afford to Make
Going back to the mistakes, if you are serious about success and getting in front of investors, and more importantly closing them, here are five common errors you just can’t afford to make.
1) Detailing Deal Terms in Your Deck
The deal you are going to offer and are likely to get is going to be different from investor to investor. Save precious time and work, and don’t blow your chances upfront, by leaving this information out of your deck.
Furthermore, if you don‘t have a lead investor the minute you show deal terms it clearly outlines that you are in fundraising mode and the clock starts to tick. From the minute you send your pitch deck with deal terms the word will spread and if you can not close the round in 3 months you will be in trouble.
As the saying goes, you go for money and you get advice. You go for advice and you get money twice. Avoid the terms and framing your interactions as seeking capital. position your conversations more as a feedback request type of thing.
2) Using too Many Slides
Data from a Harvard professor and DocSend survey which evaluated 200 startups through seed and Series A rounds and $360M of funding shows the average number of pitch deck slides was 19.2. The average length of time these decks were viewed was just 3.44 minutes. You don’t want potential investors to overlook your most compelling slides because you went too long.
Pay special attention to financials, the team, and the market as these are the slides where the biggest amount of time is put in by investors when reviewing pitch decks.
3) Missing Key Slides
According to Sequoia Capital the ‘Why Now’ and ‘Market Size’ pages are 2 of the most important 10 to have in your deck. Yet, just 46% and 73% of these 200 startups including August Locks had these in their deck.
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