I can’t believe it took me so long to realise it…
But I must admit I was wrong.
Pitch decks are over-rated.
It just doesn’t do justice to the (best) entrepreneurs.
Airbnb is probably one of the most beautiful empire there is today. It’s probably why it’s also a great counter-example. Their 2008 seed deck is really below average and I am not surprised that so many people passed on this opportunity just after reviewing it. The problem is poorly stated, the market opportunity seems pretty small, the competition slide is a caricature… It just doesn’t cut it.
On a more personal note, I would have never even met with the team of Sourced.tech back in 2016 if I had seen their deck before… Yet today it’s clearly one of the most impressive team I have in my portfolio at every level.
For years, I have helped entrepreneurs put together the best pitch decks to increase their probability to successfully raise funds from the best possible investors. And it worked, big time.
After refining and simplifying the method, I have published a couple of ressources, including a template alongside a couple of videos.
Yet most entrepreneurs would still fail.
Maybe because it’s a tremendous effort for an entrepreneur to work on a pitch deck while it has no impact whatsoever on their end user/customer. It must create some sort of conflict in the cerebral cortex… But to be honest I don’t know and I don’t care anymore.
So to the question from any investor: do you have a pitch deck ? Your answer should always be: I don’t, it serves no purpose towards my customers. But here is what we’re doing and why.
A short prose should be enough to rise the interest of potential investors and here is what you’re looking to put into it:
By intelligibly expressing your knowledge about your customers and the market, you will create a climate of trust. From there you’ll have the attention of your audience. By showing the actions and results of your execution you will demonstrate credibility. Now you have their interest. And finally desire will rise as you provide a compelling vision of the future you’re shaping.
Knowledge = Trust
Execution = Credibility
Vision = Desire
Alongside those three key elements, don’t forget that the two most important things of every single venture are the people and the data, people being invariable and complex, data being variable and simple. You must master those two attributes. Don’t fall into the trap of being light on those two critical points.
People = invariable + complex (hiring, managing, leading, nurturing…)
Data = variable + simple (detailed, relevant, honest…)
Finally, because you don’t have a second chance to make a first good impression, make sure to nail the 5–10 first minutes of any meeting. The best way to do that is to talk about the thing you know best, a.k.a. your customers.
Understanding the customers is everything
Now, if you ever come to pich someone in our team at Kima Ventures, here are all the simple questions that we might ask you…
How and when did you meet with your co-founders ?
Why and how did you get started ?
What is the problem/opportunity you’re after ?
Why it hasn’t been properly addressed before ?
Any remarkable facts/failures/learnings that paved your way ?
Key learnings over the past few months/years ?
Some perspective about the competitive landscape ?
What’s your business model ? how do you distribute ?
What’s the plan for the next few months ?
How do you envision the future ?
Tell me about the rest of the team…
Show us the product…
Key data if applicable…
Good luck on resisting to the temptation of working on a deck.
Be strong :)