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During week 5 of our Incubator Light Program we delved into the Pitch Deck presentations, each being a maximum of 7 minutes long followed by group feedback and review then some key observations from Gavriel Shaw.
Over the course of the program, we have gone into detail about the importance of information needing to be portrayed in a well put together pitch deck. It really was great to see that the founders had managed to combine everything we have been through so far into some brilliant pitches.
Now don't get us wrong, there is always room for improvement and Gavriel certainly provided constructive criticism to each founder. It was a great first run through by all, with mostly some fine-tuning and polishing needed to really get an investor audience reaching for their bank manager.
As a recap of the session and to help others preparing their own pitch deck, I will go through the most common changes or feedback that was recommended to the group as a whole.
The time limit of 7 minutes was not chosen to make it more of a challenge to present, although it does have that effect. It was designed in this manner to represent the time that an investor will have to listen to your pitch. Which some may argue is still too long, but it is subjective as each investor's time will vary. Often there will be multiple investors and other founders meeting for an allocated time slot.
So it is essential to make sure you have your timings prepared, adhering to the allocated pitch time you have been given. If you run over, you will lower your chances of investment significantly, and it may allude to a lack of competency or at least raise questions about your diligence.
A solution to fix this is to have your pitch deck as a rolling video or a slide show that is fixed to a set time so no matter what, you always finish your slides during the allocated time. Alternatively, a well rehearsed pitch with manual click through will still show competency and demonstrate the importance of funding to your business as you are willing to put the time and effort as needed into your presentation.
You may only get one chance with the investors in front of you, don't over run.
If you have spare time left, perhaps restructuring your pitch to really highlight the key points or providing a general overview to leave a strong lasting impression will be a good use of available time.
There were quite often too many devils per pitch deck. Ideally, you have a sentence per slide large enough, so the investor can read along. Any graphical display, be it charts, graphs, mind maps etc should be simple and easy to understand at a glance. Too much information with so little time to describe it can leave many unanswered questions and keep the investor's minds on something which could be irrelevant to your investment success.
Here is an example from the Coinbase Pitch deck. You can understand the content in 3 seconds or less. The point is that the slide you show has to be the backbone to what you are talking about, allowing you to further expand upon your visual pedestal.
Being able to extract the nuggets of information from details in your pitch and presenting them as key points backed by visual representation will be greatly appreciated.
When presenting, a confident and deliberate use of language will help the investors focus on the information you are presenting. Emphasize the points of importance with a raise in tone and don't be afraid to show genuine signs of expression such as pride, excitement, and enthusiasm as you talk about the solution your business provides.
During some pitches, we heard terms used such as 'I think' or 'I am not sure'. If there is information you want to discuss, make sure you know in advance what it is you would like to talk about. The statements need to change to 'I know' and 'this is'. You are the expert and showing a gap in industry knowledge or struggling to recall the information you need, may indicate you have not rehearsed your pitch enough and may shroud the rest of your presentation in uncertainty.
There are at least two stories you want to be telling. One is the pitch deck story and within that story is the customer journey. We have covered the pitch deck narrative in previous blogs, so let's discuss the human side of your solution.
Taking the investor through the customer journey as you explain your project will help them imagine and appreciate in greater detail the value of your proposition.
Overall, the Pitch Deck presentations were great and as a group we can learn from each other, which is another great benefit of our Incubator Light Program as we make progress towards being more eligible for funding together.