After talking about how to get ready to start raising money for your startup, and the importance of story telling and the demo, now its time to wrap that into the big scary pitch deck.

Before you start to build your deck, ask yourself (and be honest): Are you a successful sales person? Do you rely on your words? If so, then make the deck support those words. Are you less sure of yourself? Then make the deck tell the story.

How do you know which you are? Do this:

Next time you are eating in a busy restaurant, stop your server and pitch your company. If s/he stops, thinks and asks a good question, then your words are the star. If they hurry off or look confused, then make sure your deck is the star.

Regardless, here is a great exercise: Using 6 sides and no more than 15 words per slide, tell your story. The whole story. Make it enough of a story that you could email just the deck and the person reading it would get it. And be excited. Fred Wilson writes about the importance of the 6 slide pitch deck:

We learned to simplify our story and we learned how to create six killer slides. And killer slides are not slides with a dozen bullets each. They are six powerful points that combine to tell the meat of the story.

What should those six slides contain: Here is my formula, but remember your mileage my vary depending on how you want to tell your story:

  1. Show that there is a problem “In the US, the number of comic books purchased at comic book stores has dropped. At the same time, approximately 5-10x the number of books sold are downloaded digitally on torrent sites.” (image the slide – arrow going down with the print numbers, and a huge arrow going up out of a computer screen showing the illegal downloads)
  2. Show that there is a solution “Providing a digital solution allows both comic fans and comic enthusiasts the opportunity to re-enage or experience comics for the first time easily.
  3. Show that you have the best solution. “By integrating ‘extra content’ and social interaction, we are providing an inexpensive legal solution to the problem, that has been downloaded nearly a million times.”
  4. Show that you are the best to execute that solution “Our team is rad, and this is why”
  5. Show how the investor will make money “The market is $6B worldwide and our margins are big.”
  6. Explain how much you need and why “We need $10billion to personally visit everyone on the earth and help them download Graphicly.”
  7. Ask and shut up (not really a slide)

Some think that you should have the team slide earlier in the deck. I believe that the best of both worlds is to introduce your team (they are probably in the room), but go more in depth near the end of the pitch deck.

A couple of more rules:

  • try to get through the entire deck in 10-15 min, but dont follow it like a script.
  • If you get asked a question, then answer it. If a later slide covers the question, then answer it again, briefly, when you get to the slide.
  • Remember the pitch deck is a guide. Its not what you will or will not raise money on.

In the meeting, you now have  a demo to show and talk about, a story to tell, and a pitch deck to help support your story and demo. While it wont guarantee you can raise money, you at least have a framework to start from.

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