Sun, Jan 13, 2013
As promised — here is our first Pitch Sunday.
Let’s start at the beginning. Literally.
Your pitch deck must (let me reiterate this: MUST) start with a description of what it is that you’re doing. Your second slide (after the cover slide) is titled “What is NAME-OF-YOUR-COMPANY” (e.g. “What is eBay”). Explain in simple English what you’re doing. This is not the place to be clever, show off your extraordinary grasp of the English language or think that your pitch deck is a novel where you build tension and excitement in the first half and surprise the reader in the end.
If I (or any investor for that matter) don’t understand what you are doing in the first 10–15 seconds you already lost me. I know investors who don’t go past slide 2 if they don’t grasp what the company does.
Simple and obvious, eh?
The crazy thing is — I get tons of decks which make me literally go “WTF?!” Let me illustrate the point. Here are two pitches which get it right (names and some product details have been changed):
What is ACME CORP
A unique coffee subscription business…
1) Rare, unique, single-origin coffee
2) Freshly roasted to order each month
3) A different coffee every month, curated by experts
delivered monthly through the letterbox
A subscription-only business — sign up online — available for self-purchase or as a special gift
You get it, right? As an investor (or someone they want to partner with for that matter) I understand what they are doing, it’s clear, concise and easy.
Moving on — pitch #2:
ACME CORP is an E-FASHION club that provides affordable trendy shoes, accessories and PERSONALIZED style recommendations to European Women!
Clear. They are a shopping club focussed on shoes for European women. Crisp and clear. No fancy language. Just the facts.
And now for something different — pitch #3:
ACME CORP is an online collaboration hub and development environment for makers, hobbyist and engineers.
I have mostly no clue what they are doing. Worse — as I actually know the team and their product: This isn’t even an accurate statement of what they are up to. What they build is Github plus a deployment system for Arduinos. Their statement is overly broad and unspecific.
So — with that being said: Your first slide (not the cover — your first actual content slide) is the most important slide in your deck. It’s the slide where I decide if I want to see/hear more. It’s the slide which sets the tone for the rest of your interaction. And it’s the slide which forms my first image of you and your company. Spend time on it. Make it perfect. Pitch it to strangers who know nothing about your company and see if they get it. Show them just this one slide and then ask them to describe back to you what your company does. If they don’t get it, or it’s inaccurate, go back and revise the slide until you get it right.