A big part of my job at Kruze is to help our clients prepare to raise venture capital. So I’ve seen a lot of venture capital pitch decks recently. As a former VC who also has been an exec at a number of startups that have raised quite a few million in venture financing, I have some strong views on what information VCs want to see. And because Kruze clients raise something like a billion in venture funding annually, I get to see a lot of what works - and what doesn’t.
Since I’m regularly being asked for a template for a venture pitch deck, I thought that I’d compile the best templates available on the internet that I know about. Again, I’m strongly biased, as I’ve seen many companies successfully raise and some not. This is what I think is working (note: I updated this post in August 2020, so it is still up to date with trends post COVID.)
Top 5 venture capital pitch deck templates on the internet right now
Guy Kawasaki’s pitch template - https://guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch/
Ycombinator’s slide template - https://blog.ycombinator.com/intro-to-the-yc-seed-deck/
First Round Capital’s deck - https://www.beautiful.ai/blog/uber-vc-pitch-deck-presentation-template
Series A pitch deck used by Front to raise their A - https://medium.com/@collinmathilde/front-series-a-deck-f2e2775a419b
Airbnb’s seed deck - https://www.alexanderjarvis.com/airbnb-seed-pitch-deck/
Slides in a standard pitch deck
The professionals (like YC and Guy Kawasaki) are suggesting 10 slides. I think the real point is that you should be able to deliver your pitch in 15 minutes or less - and if pressed, do a 5-minute pitch. That’s really short.
Why so short? Aren’t most VC meetings scheduled for 30 minutes? Well sure, but…
Assume that your VC is late to the meeting by 5 minutes (they will always say something like “something came up with a portfolio company’s acquisition, but the truth is probably that the barista messed up and gave them an almond milk latte instead of a soy milk one and they had to wait for the right beverage - kind of a joke.) The VC will probably then give you a few minute spiel around what makes their fund different. Then assume that you need to answer at least 5 minutes of questions if your pitch is not going well - and 10 minutes of questions or more if the investor is engaged. And you’ll need a 5-minute pitch, that isn’t rushed, if some important partner is running way late or misses the first 20 minutes of your 30-minute meeting.
The standard table of contents in a good pitch deck is:
- Cover/title slide - including the company name and the founder’s contact info
- The industry’s or customers’ problem - the pain that your startup is solving
- Your startup’s solution or value proposition - how your startup fixes the issue / the benefits you provide
The templates start to diverge, so a few different next slides are:
- Traction - metrics that show adoption or market validation or
- Product magic/product demo - showing off the offering
- Market size
- Business model / how you make money
- Go to market/growth - explain how you are going to grow
- Competition and or competitive analysis/advantages - all startups have some sort of competition, or there is at least a way that customers are currently dealing with the pain your startup is solving
- Financial projections - include revenue growth, high-level spend, burn, and other KPIs like customer count (you can go deeper in an appendix or in a financial model). And if you are looking for a free downloadable model template, visit our financial modeling page.
- How much you are raising
- Traction if you haven’t already done so
- Use of proceeds (what you do with the money)
- Current investors participation level (if any - strong investors who have already invested in previous rounds and who are participating in this one are a very good signal)
I am slightly older school - I usually like an “executive summary” after the cover page that goes over the company and round. I think this is probably a page that went out of style in 2015 or so, but I still like it because it quickly helps the VC see what your key metrics/sales points are, and how much you are raising. I usually recommend only four or five bullets on this slide:
- Disrupting the $x billion industry
- 1,500 customers using product [or] Marquee customers include McDonalds and Marriott
- ARR of X, growing 20% month over month
- Team has deep domain experience from XYZ
- Raising $8 to $10 million Series A
Given that YC and Guy Kawasaki seem to no longer (or maybe never) had an exec summary at the front of their venture capital pitch deck templates, you are probably OK ignoring my advice and just getting straight from the cover page to the problem statement.
Tips for your fund raising presentation if time is running short
Ok, so as I outlined, it’s highly likely that your 30 minute conversation gets cut into a much shorter time frame. There are good ways to handle this and bad. The worst way that I’ve seen is when a CEO talks REALLY REALLY fast and blows through the preso. It’s hard for anyone to soak in the information, it can be hard to understand, and it usually doesn’t work. A better way is to have the 5 minute presentation ready to go, and then to just walk through that briskly. No demo, and try to answer the VC’s questions as quickly as possible.
Hope this helps you find a good pitch deck template for your fundraise!