Key Guidelines for
1. Introduction to Investor Presentations
2. Inside the Mind of Investors
a. Table – Investors’ Due Diligence Process
3. Presentation Preparation
4. Structure of Presentations
5. Making Tailored Presentations (Versioning)
6. How to Succeed in Presentations
With the increasing pace and competitiveness of business ventures, an effective investor
presentation is one of the critical success factors in the fundraising process.
Presentations are both an art and a science as they are critical to communicating your vision. In
today's busy business environment, investors don’t have the time and focus to read lengthy
business plans. In many cases, their ultimate decision comes down to a deck of ten to twenty
slides that the entrepreneur gets to present to the busy investors; in some cases, the investors
would require the entrepreneur to send the slides for them to review ahead of time.
A presentation serves a very different purpose from a written business plan – it is far more than
just another vehicle for conveying information. A presentation allows an audience to gain
knowledge by watching, listening and being inspired by the presenter. Smart entrepreneurs and
company managers would want to influence the way investors feel about a certain message
with a careful mix of content and delivery. The investor presentation essentially becomes the
doorway to the investor, the primary tool providing the entrepreneur an initial chance to
articulate the message.
In this ebook, you will receive valuable information on how to develop effective presentations
that help you progress in the investor due diligence process and eventually secure funding. The
information provided is based on best practices developed and tested over many years of
observing entrepreneurs delivering hundreds of presentations. In our view, most investor
presentations fail when the entrepreneurs fail to get into the mindset of investors. We will
explore the key foundations of effective presentations and then examine the mindset of
investors, the investment process and how an entrepreneur can cater information to the
investors in a most effective manner.
This ebook providing a useful overview of investor presentations is best complemented by our
InvestmentSlides Bank Template – a comprehensive presentation template designed to help
develop effective investor presentations. The template has achieved proven results and is
available for downloading from our home page at www.investmentslides.com
FOR MORE TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE INVESTOR PRESENTATIONS VISIT www.investmentslides.com
The top 5 reasons of why presentations fail:
1. Lack of seriousness of the entrepreneur ‐ just putting some slides together isn’t enough.
Converting a text that is not suitable for investment presentation without carefully considering
the needs of the audience, the flow, the context and how it all meshes together is a recipe for
2. Lack of focus on the message ‐ The presenter needs to carefully identify and prioritize
the key points and messages articulated in the presentation. It is critical to place yourself within
the investor’s mindset and determine what would make the audience seriously consider making
an investment or at least continue in a due diligence process. Furthermore, it is important to
develop concise and focused statements that will help win over the attention of the audience
and allow you to get your key messages across.
3. Customization ‐ Using a generic presentation that is not tailored to the unique
characteristics of the company you are pitching to, the investment opportunity or even to the
specific meeting would undermine the quality of your presentation.
4. Inappropriate structure and length ‐ too long & detailed slides lose the audience’s
attention and interest.
5. Flow ‐ There needs to be some build‐up to make sure the audience goes out with the
desired takeaway message.
Successful presenters understand both the key points that need to be communicated and who
they are communicating with. A goal of an investment presentation is to communicate the
company story clearly and to create excitement and interest.
A good presentation would be characterized as a short, relevant and focused.
Key Tips for an Effective Presentation:
• Get to the point ‐ Early Apple employee and famous author and investor Guy Kawasaki
describes in his book “The Art of the Start” that entrepreneurs need to be able to
explain their message in 30 seconds or less as venture capitalists have a very short
attention span. Therefore, you need a clear idea of your objective and call for action.
• Targeted Versioning ‐ The presentation you present to an investor is different from the
handout that you leave him with or investment pitch you might send prior to the
• Less is More ‐ slides should deliver the message very clearly. Graphics might support the
presenter as they replace lengthy textual descriptions.
• Pay Attention to the Flow ‐ Get your point across right away. You should be able to
deliver a similar message in 5 minutes, 30 minutes or one hour. The differences between
these presentations would be in the level of detail and specific examples used, but all
should be characterized by getting the same fundamental point across. Eliminate
redundancy and be efficient with your words.
• Using visuals ‐ It helps to have a good mix of visuals and text to make the right point in
every slide. Visuals (i.e. photos and captions) are very helpful with “boring” topics such
as legal issues. However – don’t use a graphic that doesn’t make sense. Photos are
superior to clip art images as they make the content‐matter more realistic to the
• A headline for each slide is mandatory and needs to address the key points.
• A dedicated slide set combines a very focused deck of slides that fits the purpose of the
meeting coupled with lots of backup slides that will facilitate any specific questions.
Inside the Mind of Investors
A key part of the presentation strategy is to research the audience. It is important for you to
understand the mindset of investors, in order to communicate your messages more effectively
and improve your presentation’s chances of achieving its objectives. The purpose of this section
is not to portray a snapshot of the venture capital or professional world – there is plenty of
literature to address that subject – but rather to provide you with an overview of investors’
mindset and what they are typically looking for in presentations, so you can plan accordingly.
Different types of investors ‐ there are several types of investors that are typically characterized
by the stage of the company seeking funding. We will review the major categories and how to
relate to each when presenting your investment opportunity:
‐ Private investors
‐ Venture capital
‐ Late Stage / private equity funds
Private investors who are typically called angels. These are typically well‐funded
individuals that are seeking to invest a relatively small amount of funding (generally
between $25K and $100K) in the interest of diversifying their portfolios. These investors
typically enter very early in the lifecycle of the company, when entrepreneurs need
funding to help get started and all they can pitch is a concept and a dream.
Furthermore, private investors typically have very limited domain knowledge of the
company space. Therefore, the presentation to a private investor would be less formal or
professionalized and typically very short and to the point.
Venture Capital Funds are sophisticated professional investors. They primarily seek to
enter early and will pour money that would fund the company’s product development
and initial go‐to‐market. Venture capital funds would typically invest in the first or
second investment round and would seek some validation for the investment
opportunity. The market validation they are looking for could stem from early revenues,
customer interviews, expert opinions, etc. Generally, venture capitalists have some
broad understanding of the start‐up’s specific market. The objective of an investor
presentation to venture capital is to provide a professional view of the company’s
prospects, covering the founding management team, technology, opportunity and
The following is an investment checklist that a typical venture capital fund applies in
evaluating an investment:
• Management team – relevant industry and operational experience
• Well‐defined market potential and realistic budget
• Must have vs. nice to have – customer feedback
• Competition – clear sustainable differentiation vs. direct competition and
potential market entrants: Is this a new paradigm? What is the degree of
innovation in technology (barriers)
• Cash required to general availability of the product
• Sales and capital required to positive cash flow
• Strong, deep‐funded co‐investors
Figure 1 ‐ An actual venture capital fund short report on an investment opportunity
(used to review prospective investment opportunities)
Venture capital firms seek capable entrepreneurs that can build a strong foundation for
a prosperous business relationship. They are looking for open minded, hard working and
flexible founders. Besides that, the opportunity has to check out in terms investment
size, uniqueness, technology, barriers to entry and competition. However, personal
factors cannot be over‐estimated in making the pitch to venture capitalists; the
presentation is the key opportunity to make a long‐lasting impression.
Late‐stage / private equity funds typically seek investment opportunities with relatively
more mature companies that already have some significant market validation in terms of
revenues. Generally, these are larger investment rounds offered as companies seek to
raise more significant funding to help grow their business, enter new markets and build
their execution. Late‐stage funds are primarily private equity funds. These are large
financial institutions that look for opportunities for relatively short investment cycles
that would turn the company over in a year or two via IPO or M&A. The investment
professionals working for those firms are often less savvy about technology and more
As a presenter to these kinds of firms, it is very important to present a very coherent
financial view of the company operations and ability to get to profitability.
Preparation is critical in making sure that the presentation is informative, inspiring and
motivating to prospective investors. A requisite for successful presentation is carefully
examining what you want to say and how you would convey that information from the
perspective of the audience.
Step 1: Identify the need: It is very important to figure out what the prospective
investors or audience of a presentation are looking to get out of the session. In many
cases, investors already have some general idea about your domain but they come to
learn about the company manager's perspective. Good presenters understand that the
audience is looking to learn in context, not in full detail. They typically ask themselves,
"would I want to invest my time and money in these people?”
Step 2: Research the audience: It is very helpful to get to know the audience. Do some
research on who will be present in the meeting. Go to the firm's website to learn about
the partners and other investment professional. Investigate their background and
interest areas. It is very important to do your homework so as to get as accurate a
picture as possible prior to the meeting. Several key questions to guide your research:
• Who will be listening? Partners, associates, background staff, etc.
• What do they already know? Is there a common understanding to build
• What are their expectations? Will they hold any preconceived notions
about the subject?
• What do I want them to learn? What do I expect them to do with that
• How can I accomplish my goals to progress in the process?
Step 3: Focus your message: As there is a limit to the information you can load on your
audience, it is critical to identify the essential information you would want your
audience to understand and remember. It helps to have a core message that you would
want them to take away; when it comes to an oral presentation, "Less is More" is the
rule. Simplify and make your key points emphatically and repeatedly, and don’t try to be
too subtle or clever. Always look for the overlap between what you want to say and what
your audience wants to hear. Simplicity takes more forethought and planning on your
part because you have to think very hard about what to include and what can be left
out. As a simple exercise ‐ If your audience could remember only three things about your
presentation that you believe are key in their investment decision, what would you want
them to be?
Step 4: The Presentation
The initial presentation serves a very key purpose in the investment process. In many
instances, investors will use it to qualify the people involved and the investment
opportunity. The presenter must leverage it as key opportunity to sell to the audience.
The key here is to get to the point quickly. The better you can meet the needs of your
audience, the more successful the presentation will be. You need to engage your
audience by addressing what they want to know quickly.
Structure of Presentations
When structuring the formal presentation it is useful to request guidance on what is
expected in terms of time, length, content, discussion.
General Structure of an Investor Presentation:
The introduction ‐ The opening is critical in winning over the focus and attention of the
audience. There are several methods to structure the openings. Keep in mind that you
don’t have a second chance to make a first impression so it helps sometimes to start
with a gambit such as using a factoid, analogy, anecdote or a quotation. All must be very
relevant and targeted. After that introductory gambit, you should proceed with an
‘elevator pitch’. The elevator pitch is an attempt to “sell” your message in 30‐45 seconds.
The body ‐ Go into detail with specific arguments of the investment opportunity. It is
important to keep a balance of supporting your argument well through facts, analysis
and comments but not to overload with details – stay focused on the important aspects.
Provide the ‘bottom line’ on specific slides as interim summary point that emphasize
what is important to take away at each phase.
The conclusion ‐ Remind to the audience of the key points and summarize the
It is important to always use a headline that relates to the point that you are making in
the slide/presentation. This helps to support with visuals, which are very effective at
demonstrating key points with impact.
The following are some general guidelines to keep in mind when structuring the
presentation (for both slide presentations and handouts):
• Keep it simple – The slides are supporting the presenter. They are not the ‘star of
the show’. Don’t let your message and your ability to tell a story get derailed by
slides that are unnecessarily complicated and busy.
• Limit bullet points and text ‐ (described in more detail on page 20).
• Limit transition and builds ‐ object builds should be used to make a specific point.
Some animation is valuable but stick to the most subtle and professional.
• Use high quality graphics ‐ Visuals are highly effective in making your point.
• Use appropriate slide elements (i.e. pie chart, graphs, tables etc.).
• Using colors and fonts well ‐ Color evokes feeling. It is emotional. The right color
can help persuade and motivate. The fonts you use must be readable from
everywhere in the room. Studies indicate that prominent colors and appropriate
font usage can increase interest and improve learning comprehension and
• Using video or audio – when appropriate, using videos to show concrete
examples promotes active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people
learn and helps to increase the audience’s interest level.
To structure an investor presentation effectively, you need to choose a framework that is
sympathetic to its content. For instance, if you are selling a concept (as in the case of an
early stage opportunity), it works to include case studies to emphasize your points. If you
are selling more of a data‐driven project (as in the case of a more mature company with
revenues and market feedback), use bullet list and tables.
The following is a general framework we recommend to follow in investor presentations:
1. Company introduction: Venture Capital and Private Equity funds don’t invest in
companies or technologies – they invest in people. That means you! Therefore, the
initial section of the investment presentation must present to the prospective investors
that you and your team can execute the plan. So: present your experience and expertise
and what makes you a great team.
2. Mission statement: Startups should use one sentence to state their goal. Don’t be
afraid to be bold – you are expected to be, but keep it short and avoid generalized
statements. More mature companies in presentations to private equity funds should
include a short description of the company's business and positioning.
3. Pain and value proposition: whether it is a technological edge, a strong client
base or amazing manufacturing power ‐ both start‐ups and mature companies should
state their value proposition in a clear (preferably visual) manner. Generally (particularly
for startups), it is recommended to introduce the value proposition slide with a
preliminary slide describing the specific market failure you address.
4. The product/solution/service: investor presentations should include 2‐3 slides
describing your specific offering. When presenting a technological solution, it is
important to consider the technical aptitude of the audience ahead of time – an
investment presentation delivered to a financially‐oriented audience should cover your
relative advantages, but shouldn’t be too specific on technical subjects.
5. The market and competition: describe your market and competitors honestly in
2‐5 slides. Do not try to underplay your competition, investors see many company
presentations and may have met with your competition… In mature companies,
investment presentations may contain references to the company's status in the form of
a Porter 5 Forces model analysis.
6. Business model: a venture capital presentation delivered by a startup company
needs to convince that the company has a solid business model that will empower actual
7. Case study/Client base: a VC presentation can be strengthened by actual proof of
concept in the form of an actual client or (preferably in many cases) a canned demo. In
an investor presentation aimed at raising funds from private equity, a description of
current client base is important, as it is typically the major asset the company holds.
8. SWAT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats): this slide is
important in a mature company's analysis. Nevertheless, it can also be useful in certain
VC presentations as well.
9. Financials: the message delivered in this section changes between private equity
and venture capital presentation. In the case of a start‐up, the company should prove
that it can gain significant cash flow from its activity. Mature companies need to provide
further information beyond future cash flow analysis, as this information is needed for
the company valuation. This additional information can include balance analysis,
changes in working capital etc.
10. Summary: provide one slide describing your offering. Remember to emphasize
the most critical issues you want investors to remember from your company
Other elements helpful to include in some investor presentations include:
• Features and benefits (product section) – work through the elements of a
product and explain the positive outcomes each one can generate.
• Stories and case studies ‐ present your arguments through a narrative.
People (including investors) love hearing stories, making this a compelling and
forceful presentation method. It is important to keep the story simple and then
explain the takeaway points.
• Compare and contrast ‐ Place your material in context by comparing it
with something else, typically a competing product or concept. If you are going
to suggest the best way forward, be prepared to back it up with data. As
opposed to just comparing numbers, it is best to use a graph.
• Timeline ‐ A chronological structure is useful for showing progressive
developments. Its linear structure is intuitive and easy to understand. To avoid
seeming one‐dimensional, ensure your material has both purpose and pace.
• Financials ‐ when demonstrating any financial calculation (such as in the
P&L or market forecast charts), it is useful to apply the PowerPoint build tool and
use arrows to show direction.
Making Tailored Presentations (Versioning)
It is very critical to design the presentation based on the audience, setting and objectives
of the meeting. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of using one version of a
presentation for different types of meetings. Yet as noted at the beginning, is imperative
to design and customize presentation based on the audience, the perception and the
objective of the meeting. The Investmentslides Bank Template packet provides a very
large pool of slides enabling users to design the right set for each specific meeting.
Flow of the presentation: flow is critical; you want to build your thesis and make sure
that you keep your audience focused with you at a very high level of interest. In addition,
time is of essence and often comprises the main resource you must manipulate in a
presentation. As a presenter delivering a pitch you are faced with various situations,
potentially to an investor that has only scheduled 30 minutes, or someone who arrives
very late or has interruptions. In all occasions you have to adjust accordingly and focus
the pitch. Generally, a good story can be delivered in 5 minutes or 15, 30 or an hour. The
core message —the foundation – should remain the same, and when you have more
time, use it to enhance the message you want to deliver and provide proof and support.
A rule of thumb would be to budget about 2 minutes per slide and then allow very
sufficient time for Q&A (approximately a third of the meeting’s allocated time).
The following are typical scenarios an entrepreneur would be faced with in a fund‐
raising process, with applicable presentation format and structure that would fit the
1. First face‐to‐face presentation
Setting: This is a presentation given to an investor for a first time. Assuming is the
potential investor has no or very limited familiarity about the company and the
investment opportunity, it is important for the presenter to establish his own credibility
and then provide a full discourse of the investment opportunity.
• Company Name – Business mission
• At a glance
• Concept / company business
• Milestones and achievements
• The pain / value proposition
• Market opportunity
• Product technology slides (offering, architecture, roadmap, IP)
• Business model
• Go‐to‐market strategy
• Customer – pipeline (if relevant – generally for an early stage)
• Case studies
• Competitive positioning
• Barriers of entry
• Closing summary
Short first presentation (face‐to‐face with very limited time)
In this case, you as presenter are severely limited by time constraints. In this instance
you have to carefully analyze what are the most important points you want to highlight
to the audience and only concentrate on those. The takeaways that you leave the
audience with are critical here. In this case, we would usually suggest limiting the
presentation to up to ten carefully selected slides that consist of:
• Company – about/ at a glance / team
• Concept – value proposition
• Market (only if a large market is not obvious)
• Business model
• 1 important case study
• Competitive landscape
• Closing summary with key takeaways summarized
Short first presentation teaser (sent by e‐mail)
In this instance, the prospective investor would like to take a look at a presentation prior
to a meeting or in order to decide if this investment opportunity is interesting enough to
warrant a meeting. Many company owners make the mistake offering the complete
story, which could lead a very critical, time conserving investor to raise potential
criticism that you don’t get the opportunity to defend against. Therefore, in this
instance, it is very important to offer just a teaser of the basic story without going into
too much details; the objective is really just to get the meeting. Here, you might want to
be very bold and direct so as to raise the investor's curiosity.
• Company at a glance ‐ team
• Concept – value proposition
• Very general product overview
• Some example or highlight customers
• Business model
Handouts at end of meeting
A written handout of the presentation can be used to emphasize clarity and expanded
detail and requires a very careful job of writing and editing. A written handout is
preferable over a printout of the slides presentation as it is far less likely to be
misunderstood in absence of the presenter’s physical presence. A good way to use your
presentation as a handout is to add annotations to the presentation slides. You should
not feel compelled to cram every slide full of details.
Presentation at events (frontal, very short – 5‐10 minutes)
In this case the objective is to spark some interest from the audience. You typically don’t
know who specifically will be present at the meeting and you want to encourage any
type of prospective investor to initiate the first face‐ to‐face meeting with you. In this
case you will need to prepare a handout that will consist of a couple of pages containing
a description of your general offering, market, business status and relative advantages.
Some general comments
In many cases, it makes a lot of sense for a company that has achieved some valuable
milestone to change the regular flow of regular standard presentation. For instance, if
the company already has customers, it might make sense to offer customer case‐studies
very early on in the presentation. If the company has no customers yet but has achieved
a breakthrough milestone in the product development phase, it might make a lot of
sense to cover that early as well.
How to Succeed in Presentations
The following are our best recommendations for the successful delivery of an investment
presentation. These are based on years of experience working with numerous
The most important rule is to BE YOURSELF! The key to delivering your message
effectively is being as open and natural as you can be. Your message will be best
assimilated if you feel free and are not bothered worrying about how representative you
are. Investors want to fund people that they can rely on and form a mutual trusted
Having said that, here are some useful tips that might help your oral investor
presentation but remember – use them wisely! Don’t impose gestures on yourself that
you feel are unnatural for you!
1. Delivering the message:
• Show your passion and connect with the audience.
• Use your own words to give relevance to the content on each slide. Don’t
read from the slides – it will bore your audience, they can read for
• Graphics can only take up a certain amount of time – don’t overuse them
and don’t dwell on a graphics slide for too long.
• Do not move forward in your slides if you are still discussing the previous
one. Doing so will distract your listeners.
• Know the message you intend to deliver in each slide – don’t drift off the
• Avoid telling jokes unless they are completely related to the subject
• Try to stand as close to the screen as possible, on a level plane so that you
won’t split the focus of audience. Ideally, locate yourself at the edge of
the screen so as not to block the view.
• Use a remote control device that will allow you to move freely.
2. Eye contact – The body and mind follow the eyes:
• Individualization: create a personal atmosphere by personally
approaching each attendee. Initiate one‐on‐one conversation.
• Make sure you connect to the audience. As you move from one person to
another, connect solidly with your eyes before you begin to speak. Avoid
talking to one person most of the time. This frequent mistake may cause
you to lose your audience!
• Avoid looking at the screen for more than a quick glance.
• Pause after you deliver your idea. Use silence as a tool to create
confidence and credibility. Pausing will also allow your listeners time to
digest the data you've just delivered.
• Observe your audience’s reaction at all time – use it to detect and avoid
3. Posture and Gesturing:
• Let your arms fall naturally to your sides and avoid bent elbows.
• Balance your weight on both legs and avoid shifting from side to side.
• Don’t hide your hands ‐ use them to assist in delivering your ideas.
• Avoid clasped hands.
• Keep your movement random, but remember to use it for a purpose (to
illustrate an idea on the screen to an audience member, etc.)
• As you walk, avoid looking at the floor.
• If you move towards someone, make sure that you created eye contact
before you start moving.
5. Vocal Power:
• Vary your rate of speech and alternate between a fast and slow pace.
• Don’t speak to yourself – make sure you are loud enough to be heard by
the entire room.
• Do not mumble.
6. Repetition works
• Be nice, but keep in mind your sole purpose ‐ raising interest in your
company and preparing the ground for more in‐depth meetings.
• Make sure to always be courteous, gracious and professional.
We hope that you have found this write‐up informative and useful. This ebook providing a
useful overview of investor presentations is best complemented by our InvestmentSlides Bank
Template – a comprehensive presentation template designed to help develop effective investor
presentations. The template has achieved proven results and is available for downloading from
our home page at www.investmentslides.com
FOR MORE TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE INVESTOR PRESENTATIONS VISIT www.investmentslides.com