Guest Post: Nick Telson, exited founder from DesignMyNight and investor who founded Horseplay Ventures and the podcast, Pitch Deck.
Impressing Angels and VCs to get your pre-seed or seed funding really isn’t rocket science. If you have a viable idea it then comes down to how you present the idea and present yourself as the right and credible founder(s) to take it forward to success. 
Before getting that all-important meeting, you have to pique their interest with your pitch deck. The pitch deck is fundamental as, most likely, this will be the first point of contact between potential investors and your startup, and you as a founder. A pitch deck really is a peek through the door for an Angel or VC, not only on the business but also the type of founder(s) you are.

So, what makes a great pitch deck?


Before diving into the tips, it’s worth remembering that an Angel or VC may be looking at, at least 50 decks a week; so while you are all consumed in your idea, as a founder, and think it’s the best thing since the iPod, an investor won’t know anything about you, how great you are, or your idea – you are just another document to flick through.

1. Do not shirk on the design


No matter what your business, the deck should look enticing to read. There are so many free tools, such as Canva, to make it look great. There is no excuse to send a bland, boring, unexciting deck. If you are presenting a D2C/B2C product then there really is no excuse – if you can’t make your deck dazzle then we’d have very low expectations that you’ll be able to make your brand dazzle. 


2. The deck is a brochure, not a thesis


It is intended to get an Angel excited about the opportunity and book a call with you, not to tell them every single element of the business and the sector. Angels/VCs will invariably flick through a deck first, if it is over 15 slides and very wordy, they will probably move onto the next one. Keep it short and to the point.


3. Be clear and concise 


If an Angel does not know what the product/business is within the first 3 slides, they probably won’t carry on. Cut to the chase, what are we going to be reading about.


4. Keep it simple, stupid.


Problem, solution, market opportunity, competitors, team, financials. Take the reader on a very simple story/flow.


5. Avoid lengthy explanations


If your business/product is complicated or sector-specific, remember that people reading your deck won’t have the knowledge you have. Cut the jargon and explain everything clearly. If an investor can’t get their head around the deck this will put them off too… even if the opportunity is real and great.


6. Do your research on the Angel/VC


You don’t necessarily have to tailor the deck to each meeting but tailor the intro email/LinkedIn message. Show that you have read what investments the Angel has already made and why you would fit their portfolio and why they would be a good Angel to help take your business forward. 

Your deck is great and you get the meeting/call. Congrats! An Angel meeting will dive deeper into the business itself, your team, the financials, the competitive landscape, the roadmap, and your vision. You must be ready to cover everything and in detail. 

Some tips on impressing on a pitch meeting:


1. Listen 


Answer any questions directly and succinctly. Do not deflect and go off on a long rambling answer.


2. Be honest


If you don’t know an answer be honest. It’s a good attribute of a founder to be keen to learn and improve.


3. Passion & Knowledge


Show why you are so passionate about this project and also knowledgeable about the industry you’re in.


4. Personality


Investors want to connect with the founders and get a feel for you. We don’t want robots with a pitch deck.


5. Commitment


Investors want to see that you are ready to put everything you have into the company and it’s not just a fun new side project.

Author: Nick Telson is an exited founder from DesignMyNight which was a B2C discovery platform attracting over 8m monthly uniques plus three B2B SaaS products serving the hospitality sector in the UK and 10 other countries. He started Angel investing in 2018 and has invested in over 25 startups and has set up Horseplay Ventures, an angel investment house, startup studio, and free resource for founders. He also has a top 5 global business podcast, Pitch Deck, on which founders pitch for funding followed by an open discussion between Nick, a guest Angel, and the founder; lifting the lid on a seed funding Angel meeting. 
To download a free Pitch Deck template, check out Horseplay Ventures.
To listen to Nick’s podcast, Pitch Deck, check it out here
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