Continuing our series of entrepreneur driven questions from my “Ask the VC” session with Startup America Partnership, I thought this question was very appropriate, as I have heard it multiple times over the past few weeks.
Question: “What is the single most important item in the Pitch Deck that VC’s pay attention to?”
As an early growth round investor, we might have a slightly different answer than Seed or Angel teams. Instead of a single important item, I tend to focus on 3 slides.
First, what is the problem that you are trying to solve? How big is it (addressable, not total size of market) and frankly, does anyone care? To further clarify, are you trying to invent a problem for your solution or is it built from a real need from which you have unique experience. You would be amazed how many great ideas we see that have no apparent problem attached to them. Demand is driven from a need. Supply driven solutions can be huge (almost all consumer driven internet applications), but there is also a high failure rate.
Second, where are you in your journey? Do you have real traction, whether that is revenue, or customer acquisition in some other form (users, partners, etc.) Again, ideas are great but meaningful measureable proof of traction is a must for us and many other institutional investors.
Lastly – the team. Who are you? Why are you uniquely qualified to be the source of inspiration, knowledge, talent acquisition and leadership in the industry? Why is your team the best for convincing prospective clients and investors to support your execution capabilities?
Certainly not an exhaustive list, but definitely three things I want to leave with in every meeting. Other things obviously include the product strategy, financial plan, use of funds, measurement objectives, marketing and support plan and others. But if you don’t have these three slides tightly communicated in your deck – the rest may never see the light of day.