22.07.2020 Lifehacks, pitching

How to Upgrade Your Investor Pitch Deck

Not only in times of social distancing are pitch decks more than just a precursor for live pitches. Read here how Startups can improve their pitch decks and attract the attention of investors by demonstrating the value of their solution in precise language and distinguishing themselves from competitors with good storytelling.

Global Startup investments have dropped significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19. In the first two months of 2020, Chinese venture capital deals fell 50 to 57 percentage points, according to the research organization Startup Genome. If this negative tendency continues globally, approximately 28 billion US Dollar in Startup investment will go missing in 2020, extrapolations of data collected by the private capital experts at the SaaS company PitchBook and Startup Genome show. “Investors are always taking risks and these risks are even higher now. During crises, it becomes clear whether your product is a must or just nice to have”, says Jonathan Seiler, Investment Associate at SIX FinTech Ventures. Jonathan shared insights on how entrepreneurs should approach investors with the Startups in the F10 ecosystem.

SIX FinTech Ventures is a 50 million CHF corporate venture capital fund that invests in early-stage Startups offering ideas and solutions for new services, design more efficient processes or capture new customer groups in the financial world. The aim is to provide the Swiss financial centre with cutting-edge technologies, business models, and solutions that meet the expectations of the next generation of customers. With the corporate VC fund, SIX focuses on small and highly scalable independent companies that can grow on their own.  According to Jonathan, SIX FinTech Ventures is currently looking for innovative Startups active in corporate banking, retail banking, open banking and WealthTech. How can Startups attract the attention of investors with just their pitch decks?

Founders often make pitch decks a data dump instead of a narrative

Before contacting investors, you should craft high-quality content such as whitepapers providing new insights to show your expertise and demonstrate the potential of your solution. This plays a vital role in distinguishing yourself from competitors. Make sure your pitch deck creates value in the form of new knowledge or fresh ideas for the person reading. Use personas to know what is valuable for the users and paint a clear picture of the target audience. Entrepreneurs who spent months exploring market opportunities, conducting surveys and calculating probabilities should not assume that investors automatically have in-depth knowledge about their markets. Provide quick summaries of the latest developments in your industry, show niches and explain the competitive landscape while highlighting opportunities for differentiation. You may use graphs and diagrams to break down complex information and support crucial ideas. Demonstrate how your solution solves a problem and helps the target audience in their daily lives. Include relevant financials, KPIs as well as your pipeline and budget for the next twelve months. Show the planned use of funds within the following year. As a rule of thumb, your pitch deck should consist of ten slides.

However, it is not enough to get your points straight and copy promising-looking numbers into your pitch deck; deliver the messages in concise and straightforward language and tailor the pitch to your target audience. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of communication is non-verbal and most communication experts agree that the form is often more important than the message itself. Startups should, therefore, focus on the storytelling in their slides – especially in times of social distancing when physical meetings are not encouraged, and the pitch deck sent to potential investors is more than just a precursor for live demos or pitches. Try to create a story in the heads of the readers. The importance of storytelling in investor pitch decks is also emphasized in an article by Sifted, a European media platform for entrepreneurs: “The straplines at the top should read as a continuous piece of prose if stitched back together. Too often, founders make it a data dump and not a narrative. Fundraising is about storytelling”.

Last steps: ask for feedback and never forget about spell checks

Before sending the pitch deck to investors, make sure that the message is clear and grasping. Get feedback from ten friends, former colleagues, or family members that have experience in preparing presentations or storytelling before contacting investors and potential customers. Send it without further explanation to learn how your story is perceived. How long does it take the readers to go through the pitch deck and spot the main idea? Is it clear how your solution addresses the challenges that the finance industry is currently facing? Is important information presented in a reader-friendly way? Adapt your pitch deck according to the feedback. After finalizing content creation, it is crucial to do spell checks as mistakes in grammar, orthography, or syntax have the potential to decrease credibility. You can either use online tools to detect mistakes or ask an experienced writer to check your pitch deck.

F10 as THE HOME OF FINTECH brings the financial technology community together to boost innovation in finance. The Startups in the F10 ecosystem benefit from regular online mentoring and coaching to address the challenges entrepreneurs have been facing since the outbreak of COVID-19. Before the investment session, topics such as user-centred design, remote selling, mental toughness and brand communication during crises have been covered.

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