Four Ways To Make Your Pitch Deck Stand Out


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Sean Cantwell is a managing partner at Volition Capital, focusing primarily on companies in the Software and Tech-Enabled Services sectors.

Every founder trying to raise capital knows that the fundraising landscape is competitive. I would estimate that we, at Volition Capital, invest in roughly 1% of the companies we are introduced to each year. As investors navigate a still-uncertain economy, it is critical that founders make the most of their time in front of the venture capitalists they are pitching.

At our firm, we are committed to investing in founders we believe in and whose products and services have a measurable impact on their respective industries. Our philosophy is to be their partner, getting into the trenches with them post-funding. With this mission, we are ultra-selective about the founders we invest in because we’re making a commitment for the long haul.

Consequently, we look for a few things in a pitch meeting. Like every investor, we want to hear the founding story and the market opportunity. But to really catch an investor’s eye, your pitch presentation needs to hook them in the first two or three slides. Put the most compelling data upfront and aim to use the fewest words possible to tell a strong brand story.

Before your next pitch meeting with a VC firm, here are four ways to make your pitch deck stand out:

1. Be Clear About The Problem You’re Solving

Right out of the gate, it’s important to make it clear to your potential investors what problem you see in the market and how you’re solving it. Validate this problem with data, and strive to paint a clear picture of how your solution uniquely addresses a clear market gap.

Further, in your explanation, emphasize the ways in which you are delivering value to your customers. You can do this most easily by sharing a specific use case that highlights a shared pain point and how you address it.

2. Introduce Your Team

At the very minimum, investors want to know that the key players on your team have domain experience to help scale the company’s growth. They also want to understand how your team communicates internally. As a founder, do you have a strong, transparent relationship with your management team?

As an investment partner, we encourage transparency and accountability and like to see that founders have already started to plant those cultural seeds within their organizations before they raise capital. We also put an emphasis on founding teams with diverse, but complementary experiences because we have found that diverse leadership teams are better equipped to face inevitable challenges.

3. Break Down Your Business Model

In this economy, investors are slower to deploy capital than they were a year ago. Given rising interest rates and relative uncertainty about what’s on the horizon, firms are putting a strong emphasis on capital efficiency.

On your business model slide, you will catch our attention if you can demonstrate that you are not approaching running your business from a growth-at-all-costs mindset. Demonstrate how you manage your cash runway efficiently and have found success by being savvy. Investors are looking for founders who run companies with high growth goals but have implemented a strategy that prioritizes capital efficiency.

4. Put It In Context

We look to invest in companies with a clearly carved-out niche in the market. We are focused on identifying excellent product-market fit, and on the B2B side, looking for a clear demonstration of mission-critical technology.

It’s always impressive when a founder can lay out where their company fits across the whole market. Don’t just share your competitive advantage within a microsegment of your market; show potential investors the trends impacting the larger space and where your company fits. They will do this research on the back end anyway, so go ahead and present it upfront.

Bonus: Show Your Commitment To Your Customers

In my experience, dedication to exceptional customer service leads to long-term success—driving down customer acquisition costs and building community, two things that create category trailblazers. Engaged customers are only becoming more important in the age of the experience economy, so show proof in your pitch deck that your customers are happy and your teams are customer obsessed.

Finally, the greatest pitch decks follow the Goldilocks rule. They are not too long or too short; they tell a story, and they grab investors’ attention right away. As you build your deck, there are small improvements, such as those above, that can significantly sweeten your chances of winning an investment. Take the time to review your deck and make sure it is cohesive and highlights the best parts of your organization.

If you want to hear more advice on how to build a great pitch deck, check out what our firm’s managing partner, Larry Cheng, has to say about some pitch decks we’ve received.

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Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lamber is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes about arts, entertainment, lifestyle, and home news. Nicole has been a journalist for years and loves to write about what's going on in the world.

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