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'Trep Talk: Top Investors From The MENA Region Share Tips On What To Include In Your Pitch Deck MENA investors share their pet peeves and main preferences on what they'd like to see in a pitch deck.

By Megha Merani

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At the 2019 Enterprise Agility Forum, Amer Alaily, Senior Principal at Mubadala Capital – Ventures, Hamdi Osman, Chairman, FundedByMe MENA, Leen Nabulsi, COO, Dubai Smart City Accelerator, and Khaled Talhouni, Managing Director, Wamda Capital, shared their pet peeves and main preferences on what they'd like to see in a pitch deck.

1. Keep it short

"The last thing we want to see is a very long deck that goes into too many details," Dubai Smart City's Nabulsi said at the forum. "What you want to do is get the investors excited: so most importantly, include the idea, the problem and the solution that you're providing." She also advised founders to share the story behind why they started, along with potential traction, the revenue model, and competitors or comparisons in the market to understand what the model is about.

Wamda's Talhouni added: "I'd say it's what your eye darts to immediately when you see the pitches– so, a clear articulation of the problems. We don't want to see 10 slides till you get to understanding what it is the issue or pain point you're willing to tackle."

2. Show the IIR

"I call it the IIR, which is issue, impact and recommendation," noted FundedByMe's Osman. "I want to know what the issues are, I want to know what's the impact in case nothing gets done about that issue, and I want to know what the recommendation is. So that way, your investor immediately has everything right there and then."

Related: Turning The Tide: Growth Hacks For When Business Is Bad

3. Draw the link between the issue and the founder

"Personally, what I look for is definitely the issue, but also the link between the issue and the founder," Mubadala's Alaily pointed out. "We like to invest in founders that are really obsessed with what they're doing, and they go six or seven levels deep. They have a mastery of the industry, the players, and how they differentiate their solution, and how their solution is actually 10 times more efficient and effective than the current solution.

So, really put high value on the issue, but also the founder's experience, and why he or she are actually able to solve this versus the rest. At the seed stage, 95% of our decision is based on the person across the table from us: who is that person, and are we trusting them with our money."

4. Identify where you are in the lifecycle

Current traction is really important, Talhouni said. "So, identify where you are in the company's lifecycle because that helps the investor understand how to segment it. Also [provide] a sense of how big the market is– so, the investible market, and an understanding of the impact of how big that change is."

Related: Show Me The Money: The Right Way To Invest In MENA's Entrepreneurs

Megha Merani

Independent Journalist

Megha Merani is an independent journalist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her stories have made headlines across a number of publications including Reuters, Associated Press, Entrepreneur Middle EastBloomberg Middle East, Arabian Gulf Business Insight, Arabian Business, and former local daily 7DAYS.

Megha also produces editorial for government platforms including the World Government Summit and World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils. She has been a grant winner of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Global Initiative Against Organized Crime funded by the government of Norway to report on the online trade in illegal wildlife.

Megha is also an Associate Fellow (AFHEA) at Murdoch University in Dubai and leads its Digital Newsroom course unit. In addition, Megha serves as a United Nations Women mentor to support equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and supports various other programs including TIE Women, 60 Day Startups, and the Watt Inc. Business Incubator.

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