Pitch Deck Playlist for Founders: Sharing Your Story from Seed to Series A and Beyond
You’re a founder who’s ready to get your hands dirty with building a game-changing MVP. But you can’t build your product and team without having the funds to back it up, and you can’t hire talent to bring your idea to life without some coin. So, what does an entrepreneur have to do to break this catch-22?
Cue the pitch deck, an essential fundraising tool every founder needs in their arsenal, whether you’re looking to raise $50,000 or $50 million. It’s probably the most important PowerPoint presentation you’ll ever create and rides on your powers of persuasion in 20 slides or less.
If you don’t already know, angel investors and venture capitalists rarely say yes. They listen to pitch decks all day long, and only about 1 in 200 of them get the green light. Luckily, you don’t need to look far to get some skin in the game and entice investors to bet on you.
Our resident experts at Harvest have assembled a pitch deck playlist for founders looking to ace their pitches at every round and avoid the pitfalls that those before them made.
We’ve done the legwork for you, vetting pitch deck do’s and don'ts to bring you an all-in-one guide that will help you navigate through the nuances between each funding round from pre-seed and seed through to Series A and beyond.
You’ll know what separates the good, the bad, and the venture-backable pitch decks when you’re through. Plus, we’ve thrown in extra tips on how to communicate with investors before and after the close, so you can blow their minds on all fronts.
Let’s dive in.
- The Basics
- What exactly is a pitch deck? Here’s an infographic with pie slices to show you.
- Why you need one (a pitch deck, not pie) and determining the right timing.
- How startup funding rounds work. Serial entrepreneur Dan Martell explains, demystifies, and shares his 3-pronged approach to raising money.
- The 10 slides you should always include in your deck
- Guy Kawasaki on the 10/20/30 rule
- Getting Off the Ground: Pre-Seed
- The way to sway is through more story, less information. Chance Barnett dishes his startup funding secrets and offers a template.
- What’s the difference between Seed and Series A rounds?
- How risky is your business? AKA what early-stage investors really care about.
- Friends & family vs. angels financing
- What if you have no track record? Lance Cottrell reveals how to make pre-revenue projections on his podcast.
- 5 mistakes founders make in their pre-seed pitch decks and how to fix them
- How Tinder, Dropbox, and Uber pulled off their pre-seed wins
- Nailing the ask, so you can do it again for future rounds
- Getting in the Game: Seed Round
- How to land your investor intros
- Don’t overcomplicate it. The seed template that Y Combinator swears by.
- 6 ways to overcome a high-stakes moment and bring home seed funding
- What should be in your investor data room?
- A visual guide of defining your market size by Fundsquire vetted by 40 investors across the world.
- Angel investors vs. venture capitalists: which is best for you?
- Tips from investors on how to catch their eye–and how founders can get it wrong
- The early pitch decks of 21 startups before they became unicorns
- Series A
- Traction is the main attraction. Program Manager Janelle Tam at Y Combinator shares how to quantify your impact and prove product/market fit.
- KPIs that should always show up in your deck, including CAC, LTV, and more.
- What is hockey stick-shaped growth and why are investors attracted to it?
- 9 things not to do when you chat up investors according to StartupYard.
- A proof points checklist to keep your deck on track
- 10 questions you don’t expect to be asked by investors
- What a good term sheet looks like
- How to pick the right Series A investors
- Pitch perfect templates and examples you’ll want to take a page from
- Series B
- Series B financing explained by Investopedia in less than two minutes
- Deconstructing the 3 investor classes: seed/angel, private equity, and venture capital
- LinkedIn’s Series B pitch deck. Founder Rein Hoffman reveals his thought process behind each slide.
- The good, the bad, and the ugly
- What investment bankers and startups have in common: an overview of capital raising
- What’s the magic number? How many investors you should talk to
- Series C, D, E & Beyond
- What Series C+ is all about
- How growth investing is different. Sonya Mann covers later-stage requirements and what you have to prove.
- Scale-up lessons at Series C with Mathilde Colin, CEO of Front. She shares her pitch deck and investor feedback.
- Beyond Meat’s biggest and happiest investors
- Why you should exclude your exit strategy from your pitch deck. Silicon Valley pitch coach Haje Jan Kamps explains why it’s futile.
Now that you have the necessary tools to perfect your pitch to investors at every funding round, you can put your powers of persuasion to the test. Do your homework on the investors you plan to pitch, practice hooking their attention, and focus on delivering value.
Remember–investors are just people and they’ll want to know what’s in it for them. Some will be more drawn to crunching the numbers whereas others will make their decision based on your team, strategy, and overall gut feeling. To win over both, master telling a story that’s impossible to forget.