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Originally asked by Dima (Not me): On one hand, investors want to see a familiar pitch deck structure. On the other hand, thinking out of the box and surprises are welcome. What’s your take?

Answer:

Just talked about this with one of the companies that I mentor. The main question to ask before making the pitch deck is this: “What is the reason for making one?”

There can be a number of answers to that question. For example:

1. To get a meeting with an investor.
2. To provide detailed information about your company after a meeting, to get closer to closing a funding round.
3. To provide ammunition for the investor to share information about your company with his/her partners or other investors (such as if you have a lead investor).
4. For your mentor to help them with warm introductions (similar to #3).
5. For your own clarity about your business and pitching process.
6. You are going to a pitching competition, and they demanded one.

There can be many more reasons, but these are probably the main ones. From those, I would argue that for most startups just starting out with the funding round (seed stage), the first one is the most important one.

If that is the case, then I feel that you do not need to do a “standard” pitch deck, with a familiar structure. The only job that document has is to grab their interest in the first 1-2 slides, enough so that they would accept a meeting.

Thus, if I was making one, I would focus on two things: the opportunity/market size, why you are the ones to grab it. The rest, I would only reveal in the meeting.

With that approach – creativity is limitless: send a video instead of a pitch deck, send a one-slider image with a catchy phrase, send an e-mail with 2 impressive numbers, create a dedicated landing page for the investors and send that, send real mail to investors, etc.

That being said, for pitching competitions, for a document to be shared to other third parties, for your own clarity – I would make a more standard looking pitch deck.

Hope this helps.

D.

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