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Perfecting a winning pitch deck: key tips and insights

01 July, 2024 Reading: 3:22 mins

A great pitch deck was always a key tool for every start-up or scale-up, but in today’s tough environment it’s even more vital.

Perfecting a winning pitch deck: key tips and insights

Ex-Spotify angel investor Sophia Benz says she has hundreds of pitch decks in her inbox. Her partnership is typical in that they reject thousands and ‘process’ only those that exactly fit their investment strategy … and that still means processing 3,000 decks a year (that’s about two every working hour) to invest in a maximum of one a month.

Here are our tips from over a decade of helping scale-ups with their pitch decks

1. Ensure your messaging is clear

Your pitch deck is a top priority, but of course as founders you have so many priorities. In the chaos of the everyday it’s easy to get too close and lose perspective. In our experience a great pitch comes together better and faster, and gets results, if you have your brand, persona and key messages very clear first. Before you start it’s worth clarifying who you are, why do you do what you do and the compelling facts that support your claims.

2. Investors are people, who respond to emotion

Your pitch deck needs to convey why your opportunity is exciting and how big the opportunity is. Your offer might be complex and B2B, but there is a place for letting your passion show in the words, props, videos and graphics you use. Even deep tech or niche investors are still people looking for the right personal energy from you to fit their partner strategy - so let your excitement and commitment show.

3. Think about the package, and the future

As Sophie reminded us, a key part of the pitch is the ‘package’ an investor is buying: who are your team, do you all have a coherent vision, will you appeal strongly to their other stakeholders in the future, and why are you the right people to grow the business? Having a stated brand persona and product benefits ladder is one piece of the DNA throughout your pitch: it helps all of your key team members be authentically aligned in their own way. A a clear set of messages familiar to all also means your Board sounds coherent and you can be confident that when your new investor walks through your door the following week, they feel a sense of consistency and purpose accross the entire business.

4. Explain your tech in the right way

There is a balancing act as you present your key technology. You need to explain exactly what problem it solves, why it’s unique and what IP you control, to an audience with very limited time and most likely less technical knowledge than you. They are however highly intelligent and great at spotting gaps, assumptions and inconsistencies, even when these are highly technical. We’ve found that powerful visuals convey a lot and are a vital part of storytelling. They do however need careful design and production, so they are clear, correct and captivating while ensuring they don't dominate your pitch in the wrong way.

5. Remember ABC

Another thinking model we like to keep top of mind is ABC: who is the audience and what are they looking for, what behaviour do you want to see at the end of the meeting (is the next step for them crystal clear?) and what content do you have to tick all the boxes and prove you are the right investment for them to make?

It's a tough market out there

When pitching to investors, getting a "yes" is crucial. If you need help perfecting your pitch, our content team are experts at assisting clients in refining their presentations – most recently supporting this year’s crop of innovators and founders as part of Cambridge Cleantech’s preparation for Cleantech Venture Day in July.

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