What to include in your early-stage investment pitch deck

1.) Company Overview: Simply state what the Company is looking to solve in a way that “teases” the audience with curiosity (e.g., “We are the WalMart of dental supplies”; “We are the Southwest of the trucking industry”).

2.) Existing customer challenges and why it is important to them to fix it (impact of imperfection). In other words, are you addressing market risk or execution risk? It should not be both.

3.) Total Addressable Market and the Company’s segment of that addressable market based on a bottom’s-up analysis.

4.) Your sustainable competitive advantages (e.g., IP, moat) and why and how your solution is the holy grail—your solution should be at least 10x better than anything else in the market.

5.) Competitive landscape (i.e., current solutions/state of industry) and why they fall short. Remember that your audience may not understand the industry and pain points of existing solutions.

6.) Your go-to-market strategy and why that approach works.

7.) Early proof points and customer testimonials.

8.) Business model (including pricing) and scalability—know the metrics.

9.) Financial projections for the next five years including income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow (i.e., how the business ramps over the next five years). If you are seeking Silicon Valley institutional venture capital, you need to demonstrate how you can become a $100M company in five years.

10.) Milestones achieved to date and future key milestones necessary to get to the next round of financing.

11.) A winning team with track records of success, as well as successful, high-value exits. A strong Board or advisory board is valuable at early stage (especially one with industry veterans).

12.) Cash desired and use of proceeds including estimated timing of next round of financing.

13.) Conclusion slide that highlights all the key drivers of success.

Keep the slides relatively clean, use graphics, and verbally speak to the majority of points you want to make rather than cramming all of the information on the slide in a narrative format.