What’s the best way to create your pitch deck and demo?

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

While it’s important to think carefully about your future, don’t think too far into the future. You will change, the world will change, and the competitive landscape will change. It is useful, however, to have a strategic direction supported by confident projections.

Roy Bahat (Head at Bloomberg Beta)
Also, Why Most Demos Confuse

Demoing a product by starting with the home page (or, actually, starting anywhere on the website or in the app) is like a realtor showing you a house starting in the living room… Consider, instead, walking through the front door — having come from somewhere, paid attention to the neighborhood, the cars on the street, the front porch. Start with the first moment a user might learn of your product — maybe it’s an email invite, or a text from a frie… (read more)

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
How to Raise Money

Traditionally [early] fundraising consists of presenting a slide deck in person to investors. Sequoia describes what such a deck should contain, and since they’re the customer you can take their word for it. (https://www. sequoiacap. com/article/elements-of-enduring-companies/ and https://www. sequoiacap. com/article/writing-a-business-plan/)

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
How to Raise Money

You’ll also want an executive summary, which should be no more than a page long and describe in the most matter of fact language what you plan to do, why it’s a good idea, and what progress you’ve made so far. The point of the summary is to remind the investor (who may have met many startups that day) what you talked about.

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
How to Raise Money

Assume that if you give someone a copy of your deck or executive summary, it will be passed on to whoever you’d least like to have it. But don’t refuse on that account to give copies to investors you meet. You just have to treat such leaks as a cost of doing business. In practice it’s not that high a cost.

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
How to Raise Money

Sometimes an investor will ask you to send them your deck and/or executive summary before they decide whether to meet with you. I wouldn’t do that. It’s a sign they’re not really interested.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Customer slides are more appropriate for enterprise pitches. Great customers are predictive of future customers for enterprise businesses. On the consumer internet, however, this is a sign of trouble because it indicates that the entrepreneur may not understand how the consumer internet works.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

It’s always better to have less slides, but it’s much more important to have a great deck. Don’t stress about the exact number of slides. Entrepreneurs often hear advice that their decks should be a particular length. I, for example, recommend a length of 20 to 25 slides. But these are only rules of thumb, which means you can violate them if you have a good reason.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

It’s helpful (but not mandatory) to put your thesis in each of the titles. If an investor sequenced through the titles, they’d be able to get a sense of the flow of the argument. This is especially helpful when investors are sharing the decks with their investment partners.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Show a focus on bottom-up tactics for your strategy. And show that you’re focused on the metrics that matter: revenue numbers, engagement traction, etc. [Total addressible market] slides quote people who have incentives for artificial inflation, so entrepreneurs risk demonstrating that they have no real sense of how to take dominance of the market.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Have reasonable numbers and assumptions that can pass the blink test during the pitch. Investors want to make a quick assessment that you have an intelligent view of the model of your business, and they know those assumptions can later be validated by due diligence. You don’t want investors to fixate on claims that appear crazy.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

One common mistake is putting the team slide early in the deck. The team behind your idea is critical, but don’t open with that. Instead, open with the investment thesis. Persuade investors that your investment thesis is intriguing, then show who can make it happen.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Does It Tell A Story? – AVC

Too many decks (and pitches) are full of facts and figures but lack a cohesive narrative that makes them compelling. Dressing the deck up with beautiful visuals can help, but even if you do that and you don’t “tell a story” you are not putting your best foot forward

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Why your startup needs a visual message | A Founder’s Notebook

Your startup needs a visual message. Create visual metaphors that stick in peoples minds and are easily repeated.

Jason Calacanis (CEO of Inside.com, Formerly “Entrepreneur in Action” at Sequoia Capital)
How To Demo Your Startup | TechCrunch

Show your product within the first 60 seconds. Most folks start their presentations with information like the size of the market they are tackling. The longer it takes for you to show your product, the worse your product is. The best products take less than five minutes to demo. The better the product the LESS time it takes to demo. If your product demo takes more than five minutes to demo, it probably sucks. Talk about what you’ve done, not what… (read more)

Jason Calacanis (CEO of Inside.com, Formerly “Entrepreneur in Action” at Sequoia Capital)
How To Demo Your Startup | TechCrunch

Bullet points of obvious facts show that: a) you don’t have the ability to create a compelling story with data b) you don’t think that much of the person being presented the information

Oren Jacob (Founder & CEO at ToyTalk)
Take Your Fundraising Pitch from Mediocre to Memorable with These Storytelling Tips | First Round Review

When you design your presentation, you want to make sure to emphasize the points that will drive people to the conviction that they should back your idea. If you believe the market opportunity is the most compelling thing you have to share, spend more time on it. If you believe the strength of your team is unmatched, take the time to dive into their bios and experience

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Open with your investment thesis, what prospective investors must believe in order to want to be shareholders of your company. Your first slide should articulate the investment thesis in generally 3 to 8 bullet points. Then, spend the rest of the pitch backing up those claims and increasing investors’ confidence in your investment thesis

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

You should end on a slide that you want people to be paying attention to. A placeholder slide that says only “Appendix” or “Q&A” is never that. Instead, close with your investment thesis.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

I now believe you should begin and end with the investment thesis. The beginning is when you have the most attention, and the end is when you should return to the most fundamental topic to discuss with your investors.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

If you anticipate serious questions from the kinds of investors you want, preparing appendix slides with structured answers is impressive, showing that you’ve considered all of your business’ challenges, opportunities, and comparisons. Appendix content typically fall under two categories: providing additional information or addressing objections.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Reinforce key concepts when delivering a concept pitch. Diagrams are one way to accomplish this, helping investors visualize key concepts. In our pitch, we [LinkedIn] wanted to make sure investors understood that you build the network first and then you can build a platform of businesses on top.

Reid Hoffman (Partner & Co-Founder at Greylock Partners)
LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs

Show your product rather than saying you intend to build a best-of-breed product. Ideally, you want to have the product built. Otherwise, you should show what you have in mind with a mockup.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Pre-Product Phase – AVC

One of my big weaknesses as an early stage investor is my eyes glaze over at wireframes, design sketches, photoshop screens, and prose that describes a product. Until I can get my hands on it and use it, I have an incredibly difficult time imagining what the thing is.
For that reason, I prefer working on projects that are designed in code as opposed to paper, photoshop, or some other tool.