The DocSend study on pitch decks gathers data from over 200 pitch decks of early stage startups. However, before we dive into the study, and as a shameless plug, in my book The Art of Startup Fundraising I do discuss what is require to put together a pitch deck. In fact, I also provided a free pitch deck template some time ago that you can download for free below.

 

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As seen on the slide above it takes on average 58 investors that a startup needs to contact in order to secure at least 40 meetings. This is obviously 59 investors where there is a warm introduction. Do not forget that Vcs never pay much attention to cold calls or call emails. For them warm introductions act as a way to perform social proof or validation on the individual that is looking to connect with them.

In addition, the length of pitch decks averages 19 slides with an estimated time of 3.44 minutes that investors allocate to them. VCs and other investors that are sophisticated will probably meet with an average of 1,000 entrepreneurs on a yearly basis in person. This does not event count the pitch decks reviewed. In my modest opinion, 3.44 minutes seams high and for that reason you want to be able to capture the investor‘s attention on the first couple of slides of your pitch deck. I do cover this aspect in detail as well during the Fundraising Certification, which is a 3 week comprehensive course on fundraising for entrepreneurs.

 

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In terms of design and slides that entrepreneurs should include on their pitch deck, the study shows that successfully funded pitch decks included the following slides:

  • Product
  • Team
  • Business Model
  • Market Size
  • Company Purpose

Other slides that are also included with less frequency are solution, why now, competition, and financials. I actually go into detail on what to include on every slide on the blog post 14 Slides You Need To Raise Capital.

 

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In terms of the order of the slides it is very similar to the order that Sequoia has on its recommendation that can be viewed here. In summary, the order of the slides is as follows:

  1. Company Purpose
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Why Now
  5. Market Size
  6. Product
  7. Team
  8. Business Model
  9. Competition
  10. Financials

I would recommend that you also check out my post 5 Startup Pitch Decks That Helped To Create Billion Dollar Companies. This post should give you some additional insight as to how Airbnb, WeWork, Facebook, or Square structured their pitch decks when raising capital at an early stage.

 

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Without a doubt there would be certain slides that carry more weight for the investor. The most important slide in this regard is the financials. Here you are showing the investor what kind of traction you have been able to generate and also the type of projections that you expect a few years down the line. In this slide there is no need to go into detail but a clear summary with a few lines showing revenue streams would be ideal.

The other slides that make the top 3 of the pitch deck are the Team and the Competition. The team is critical as you want to demonstrate the investor that you have the right people on your team. Just like that book from Jim Collins “Good To Great“ you want to demonstrate that you have the right people seated on the right seats of the bus. If that is the case your bus will eventually find its direction and that is what gets investors excited.

With regards to the competition, the best way to show your peers competing in the same space is by creating a diagram. Show the purpose that each one of your competitors fill in the market and set yourself apart from all of them by clearly showing the different value proposition that you bring to the market which addresses a concern that competitors are not servicing.

 

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In terms of timeline, the study shows it takes for a Seed round on average around 12 and a half weeks to close from start to finish. This is obviously different from what I have seen in Series A rounds that take on average 3 to 6 months to close.

There are certain factors that influence the amount of time it takes for the closing of a round of financing. These factors are for the most part related to the way the financing is structured. If you are raising on a convertible debt it will take less time as there are just two documents that need to be signed and only 3 things where the investor and the company need to be aligned. These are the interest, the discount and the cap. However, if you are raising capital via the sale of equity then it will take 3 times the amount of time.

In addition, if you are doing a seed round you will be dealing for the most part with individuals where the due diligence process is much faster. In Series A rounds of financing you will have institutions like Venture Capital firms involved where they have a specific procedure to follow and where you will need the approval from more than just one person. In this regard, Venture Capital firms are investing the money of their investors as opposed to angel investors that are investing their own money.

 

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As always in life it is more important the quality than the quantity. The graph above shows how the quality of the connection will increase your chances of getting funded after your investor meeting. Contacting more investors will get you more meetings. However, more meetings does not necessarily mean more money in the bank. The key to fundraising success is to get the money in the bank ASAP and for that reason you need to be as effective as possible with your time and strategy.

 

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In terms of verticals the study determines the easiest ones are consumer, business, marketplace, and hardware. The average amount of funding raised across the board is $1.7M. Interesting factor is that marketplaces tempt to be the ones with the most amount of success. However, marketplaces are more difficult to find due to the famous egg and the chicken issues.

Hope the data above provides some insights as to how to craft the killer pitch deck. Every company has a different story and a different proposition and for that reason your story is unique to others.

View the full study here https://docsend.com/view/p8jxsqr
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