10 Essentials for a Persuasive Seed-Round Investor Deck
There are several ways to build an investor deck for your seed round. There is no perfect deck, of course, but all successful decks are short and clear.
A succinct seed deck can clearly and simply cover the key areas that investors care about.most. In just 10 slides you can cover the key areas investors must understand to make a funding decision.
List the team, and your background. Highlight specifically what, if anything, qualifies you to start this business. List relevant experiences. Also list key advisors and investors, if you have them, and if they are well known.
What is your vision? Why did you start this? What is your true north? Clear and simple one liner.
What problem are you solving? Again be brief. Add data and market research to support your statement. Explain why this is actually a problem, and a big problem worth going after.
What is your insight? What is unique about it? Be very specific. If your solution involves a platform / defensible technology, be sure to illustrate it. Add another slide, if that makes sense.
Show, don't tell. Embed a one-minute demo video of your solution. Make it awesome. Be product obsessed.
State key metrics that drive your business. Show charts, make them awesome. Speaking to your metrics and growth is important. Even if your traction isn't huge, speaking to it illustrates you are metrics driven. Investors want to back metrics-driven founders.
7. Business model.
Describe clearly how you are making money or planning to make money in the future. If you don't know yet, be ready to explain which key metric is important for your business and why.
Avoid magic quadrants, they are tired. Instead, list all your major competitors and highlight their strength. Then below, explain in 0ne line what makes you different.
Describe your addressable market, and size it. Give clear backing to how you arrived at the numbers. Avoid top down analysis: we are in $X billion market. Instead, show clearly what the actual addressable market is. Attach bottom up / unit-economics analysis to back the number.
Describe how much you are raising, and what milestones you will achieve with the money. Good growth milestones are revenue, customers and users. Each financing is done to get you to either profitability or, more likely, another financing. This is why it is important to get the milestones right.
There are a few general pointers to keep in mind. Clearly label each slide -- problem, solution, team, etc -- so the deck can be scanned easily. Keep the slides simple, without a ton of text. Present charts and stats in large fonts with bigger graphics.
Never make stuff up, lie or include unrealistic growth forecasts charts that are hockey sticks in the future. Don't describe how many engineers you will hire.
Once you build the deck, get feedback from your advisors and other founders. Then go and field-test it. Be self-critical and listen carefully to feedback from potential investors.
Alex Iskold is the managing director of Techstars in New York City. Previously Iskold was founder/CEO of GetGlue (acquired by i.tv), founder/CEO of Information Laboratory (acquired by IBM) and chief architect at DataSynapse (acquired by TIBCO). An engineer by training, Iskold has deep passion and appreciation for startups, digital products and elegant code. He likes running, yoga, complex systems, Murakami books and red wine -- not necessarily in that order and not necessarily all together. He actively blogs about startups and venture capital at http://alexiskold.net.