You can find the deck at the end of the article
We’re sharing the deck we used to raise our Seed round 🎉
Last year we raised our Seed round after going through YC W21.
This was the first time I raised money.
When I looked on the internet I found blogs that listed the things to always includes in a pitch deck. A slide on the market, the product, the TAM, your insights, your traction, etc.
These blogs basically shared the same approach. Yet it wasn't clear to me why some startups raised great rounds, while some others failed.
In particular Seed round decks seemed pretty opaque.
To understand how to make a good deck, I had to ask founders who had raised before.
I learned that great pitch decks tell a unique story.
Our Seed went well. Our deck helped us close our round in 10 days after receiving 5 term sheets.
So in the spirit of transparency I’ve decided to publish it, and share a few learnings on the process.
Hopefully, it’ll help you raise your own round!
🇺🇸 Words on our process
Last year we did YC and decided to raise our Seed round, before we had any revenue as we were getting good momentum. We had some good traction numbers and (decent) retention metrics.
As you’ll see our deck is basic, yet it worked well. That’s because the best investor pitches don't feel like a pitch at all. They're more like an engaging, back-and-forth conversation. You drive the conversation, steering it to the points you want to hit on, and focus on telling the story you want to tell.
I know some companies raise without a deck too. I found ours to be helpful to help keep the conversation on track. And make sure I hit on all the key points, show important visuals, and share with the investor afterwards.
- Practice with a close circle before going on a roadshow. This will help you get rid of the most obvious mistakes. Don’t involve 10 people a this stage as feedback will be conflicting. 2 to 3 people that you trust with a good track record is great.
- Start your deck with your two sentence description. This is a short description of what your company does. It’s key to be reminded and set the context right away. When fundraising your biggest enemy is confusion. If investors don't understand, they'll never invest.
- Your deck needs a vertebra. Your vertebrae are the 3-5 points that you most want investors to remember about your company. For us it was 1. Team 2. Unique insight 3. Problem 4. Product. 5. Traction (see slides). These are the key talking points that you'll want to make sure you cover in every conversation. You'll take your vertebrae and turn them into an "intro blurb", which is a paragraph or so of text. When you're asking for an intro to an investor, they'll look at your intro blur to take a meeting or not.
- Iterate on your deck. Improve it between two meetings by addressing the most objections you get upfront.
- Make your slide simple and obvious. Every word counts. Focus on 1 idea per slide. Keep it to 6-8 slides total. Go through your deck and only read the headlines – does it tell a compelling story? Have an appendix with the rest.
- Don’t design your slides with a professional designer (unless you're a design company). It's a red flag for many investors that you’re not spending too much time not on the right priority. Optimize for clarity of your ideas, not fancy slides.
Last, don't forget that everything around your deck is as important as your deck, if not more important.