The purpose of preparing fundraising materials is to develop the ability to confidently pitch your startup to professional investors. Such materials include:
- 1 sentence (eyeblink pitch)
- 1 paragraph (elevator pitch)
- 1-pager (teaser deck)
- 10-pager (main deck)
- 10+40-pager (main deck + appendix)
Another important goal of preparation is to draft effective fundraising materials. Here is a quick visual summary:
A few additional notes on this topic:
The purpose of preparing fundraising materials is to develop the ability to confidently pitch your startup to professional investors. That includes being able to tell a compelling story and answer any questions, while assessing whether investors will be able to contribute towards the development of your company if you end up partnering with them.
The word “draft” is purposefully chosen, because no materials can be complete before you have a thorough understanding of what a particular investor cares for. In other words, the materials you prepare beforehand serve as a foundation, which you customize so they fit with investor preferences. That happens during Phase II - Fundraising and applies to investors that you engage deeply with.
In many if not most investor meetings, you don’t actually need to use slides. Experience shows that deck-less meetings are often better, because they facilitate exchanges of ideas rather than one-way monologues. Regardless, the discipline that comes from putting words on (virtual) paper is worth its weight in gold in terms of developing the story and being able to communicate with confidence.
Developing good fundraising materials takes time. While some founders get lucky and nail things quickly, most need a number of iterations to find the best way to pitch their company. That’s because pitching VCs is different than pitching customers or partners or prospective hires or the media. Founders need time to learn what matters to investors and craft their story accordingly.
The process is also often non-linear. It is quite common to make progress in version 5, only to regress in versions 6 and 7, and then bounce back in 8. For reference, for my startup’s series A deck, I developed 15 different versions until I found the right words. And version 13 was truly horrendous. Just stick with it until you have a good and compelling flow. You can start practicing in front of a mirror, progress to friends and colleagues, and eventually get feedback from other entrepreneurs, which I cover in Network with VC-backed Entrepreneurs.