There are so many opinions on what a deck should look like. Also, confusion as to what you send first to an investor. With all that noise what is expected?
An investor gets 100's of decks a week, they just don't have time to read 50-page business plans.
It is a bit like going for a job interview. You would never send a Resume/CV with 40 pages, would you?
So golden rule: An investment deck is your business CV/Resume, it is a highlight of the opportunity.
If your deck is not suitable for a particular investor, that is OK, you want to make sure your deck attracts a good fit. Avoid appealing to everyone, be true to your business goals and ethos. It is a very expensive mistake to let an investor in who you will never get on with or who will push you out!
Once you have sent in an investment deck and gotten a positive response then you produce your business plan and detailed financials. These are used by the investor to do due diligence and deep dive into your business model. As part of the negotiation, they may advise on changes to your business and suggest useful budget cuts and market routes you never considered.
This is not rare, so as part of the negotiation process, be prepared for these conversations to get the most out of the investment.
The best decks are under 15 slides. The link below is to Air B&B's deck. Something you will notice immediately is the simplicity. No flashy graphics. Yes, it was 2011 and powerpoint has come along way but remember, it has to be printable and viewable on mobile devices. So remember less is more and make it easy for the receiver to view.
The core headings/themes to cover are:
1. Problem - what are you trying to fix
2. Solution - how you will do this and how you will do this better than your competitors
3. Market size/opportunity - if you have started to trade show sales figures here
4. The route to Market - channels you will use to get customers/clients
5. Competition - position map is useful
6. Business model - how you will make money
7. Ask slide - how much you need and how it will be spent
8. Financials - current year and 3 years projected P&L
9. Team slide - stick to founders/senior people and advisors. Bios should 100 words or less
10. Press coverage/awards - you can include reviews as well
11. Contact slide - you want them to pick up the phone to you:)
It is a bit cliche, but you really only get one chance to make a first impression. Appealing to everyone will come across confused. Especially if you throw the kitchen sink in.
There are some very competitive sectors. For example Food. We don't need another jam brand, but that doesn't stop a person thinking they can do it better. Great if you can, but make sure your deck covers:
Why you? How are you different? How are you going to make a strong return on investment for the investor?
Exit slide. In the tech sector, this slide is a given. However, if you do not plan to leave then don't create a slide for the sake of it.
If you are very clear you want to build a product or brand and sell out after 5-10 years, then have a slide after your financials covering when and at how much you expect to exit at.