Raising capital is hard, especially in the competitive B2B SaaS space, and ever-changing market conditions only add to the challenge. However, at Forum, we're here to help you increase your chances of securing pre-seed or seed investment. A well-crafted pitch deck can make all the difference in attracting potential investors and raising capital. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the key components of a compelling pitch deck, how to build a pitch deck that attracts investors and share five great examples to inspire you.
Challenges Founders often face:
- Founders don’t know how to build a compelling narrative
- Founders struggle to tell a story authentic to them and highlight their strengths
- Founders Focus too much on selling their company vs. selling an investment opportunity for VCs in a way that VCs understand
An Inconvenient Truth
You and your company are not worth its underlying intrinsic value. What you are worth is what the market perceives your value to be. This means that the goal of fundraising is to start the process of building the perceived value of your company.
What makes up perceived value?
- First and foremost, what other VCs think of your company, also known as ‘heat’
- Perception of your market (some are weak, some are hot)
- Perception of your team/traction, etc
- The ‘Big Idea’ factor
- How well do you package yourselves (presentation layer)
Your pitch deck is your chance to cover most of these elements and build the kind of ‘market heat’ that results in very successful raises.
What is the purpose of a pitch deck?
The goal of a pitch deck isn't to raise money, contrary to what you may think. Rather, its purpose is to encourage potential investors to ask for more information and grant you a second meeting. Remember, your presentation and deck are often the first way investors learn about your company, so it must spark their interest and make them want to dive deeper. A well-crafted deck is essential for raising funding, but its main goal should be to get you to the next step in the process.
Let's start customizing your investor pitch deck template by following the tips below:
Clearly state your mission and vision:
Your pitch deck should start with a clear and concise statement of your company's mission and vision. This sets the tone and helps investors understand the core purpose of your business.
Your mission should define your company's purpose, while your vision should highlight your long-term aspirations. By clearly articulating your mission and vision, investors will immediately understand what drives your business and why it's worth their attention.
Example: Airbnb's pitch deck led with their mission to "revolutionize the way people travel" and their vision of "creating a world where you can belong anywhere."
Lead with your strengths:
Whether it's impressive customer traction, unique founder skillsets, or groundbreaking technology, lead with your strengths to capture investors' attention and demonstrate your competitive edge. Highlight what sets your business apart from the competition and why investors should bet on you.
Example: Buffer's pitch deck showcased its impressive traction, highlighting its user base and revenue growth in the early days.
Keep it simple:
Your pitch deck's primary purpose is to secure that first meeting with potential investors, not close the deal. Use simple language and straightforward visuals to communicate your ideas effectively. Investors are busy, and a concise, well-organized deck will leave a lasting impression.
Example: Intercom's pitch deck used clean, minimalist design and straightforward language to convey its message effectively.
Traction and proof points:
Showcase your successes so far, such as user growth, revenue, partnerships, or product milestones. This demonstrates your ability to execute and helps build credibility with investors.
Tell a cohesive story:
Ensure your pitch deck flows logically, guiding investors through the problem you're solving, your solution, the market opportunity, and why your team is best positioned to succeed.
Use a professional designer:
A polished and visually appealing deck can significantly affect how your message is received. Consider hiring a professional designer to help you create a consistent and visually engaging presentation. You are asking investors for millions of dollars sometimes. Make sure you put your best face forward.
Slides to include:
While every business is different, I've found that the following format works for most businesses and is most likely to generate interest from potential investors. To get started, download our free investor pitch deck template, and read on for insight into the importance of these slides as you develop your own deck.
Keep the first deck for prospective investors to 10 slides or less. This is all you need to effectively convey "the big idea" and capture the essence of what you're building and why. There are 3 main components that must be included in your pre-seed deck:
1. What is the market opportunity
2. What is the vision
3. Why you're the right person or team to execute this vision
Then use data and metrics to prove it.
What you DON'T necessarily need at the first meeting for a pre-seed investment:
2. Financial projections
Market size and market opportunity
Use this slide to expand on who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. What is the total market size and how do you position your company in the market? How much are people or businesses currently spending in the market? This showcases the scope of the problem you are solving and can create a compelling narrative.
Be careful with this slide. Don't define the market as big as possible. Instead, focus on your targeted, reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.
Mission and vision
In simple terms, think of your vision and value proposition as a one-sentence summary that presents what your business does and why it’s worth considering over all other options available. This should be front and center in your deck. Ultimately, having a strong vision and value proposition makes it easier for potential customers to connect with your brand.
Traction and proof points
At this point, investors are looking for validation of your solution. The truth is, most investors primarily care about whether your company is a good investment opportunity or not. You might want to answer:
- How many paying customers or users do you have?
- How much revenue are you generating (monthly/annually)?
- How much are you growing on a monthly basis?
- Are you profitable?
These questions will help to build investor confidence in your business model.
The key to success in any venture is identifying an issue that needs attention and finding a viable way to provide solutions. Show them how your company has identified a gap in the market and aims to solve it with an innovative product or service.
Include key management and expand on their history, educational background, skills, and their specific role in the company. Explain the unique value each person brings to the project, their passion for the project and why they want to help solve this problem
Don't forget to include the link to each of your team's professional LinkedIn profiles!
Here are five examples of great B2B SaaS pitch decks along with the links to access them:
- Buffer's pitch deck illustrates their social media management platform and features impressive early traction, user base, and revenue growth. The deck is simple, clean, and communicates their message effectively.
- Link: https://www.slideshare.net/Bufferapp/buffer-seed-deck
- Close.io's pitch deck presents their sales CRM solution, emphasizing the pain points they address for sales teams and their unique features. The deck is visually appealing, well-organized, and easy to follow.
- Link: https://www.slideshare.net/SteliEfti/closeio-pitch-deck-series-b-2014
These pitch decks serve as great examples for B2B SaaS founders looking to create a compelling pitch deck to attract investors and raise capital. Each deck demonstrates a unique approach to presenting their value proposition, traction, and market opportunity while maintaining a clear and engaging visual design.
In conclusion, creating an effective and successful pitch deck is crucial for any B2B SaaS pre-seed or seed-stage founder looking to secure investment. Keep your message clear, concise, and focused on your strengths. Remember, your pitch deck aims to pique investor interest and land that first meeting. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to crafting a successful venture capital pitch deck.
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