Martin Zwilling has posted some good tips on creating your investor pitch in his Startup Professionals Musings blog piece “Limit an Investor Pitch to 10 Pages and 10 Minutes“.  His list of topics covers all of the basics, and if you nailed each one of them, at a minimum you would have a concise and informative pitch deck.  Zwilling gives short descriptions and questions you should answer for each topic that create a good roadmap, particularly for a first time entrepreneur who may not be certain what information to include or how to present it.  A few of his suggestions that I thought had particularly useful commentary are below.  Note that Zwilling sticks to his “shorter is better” philosophy in his post.

  • Problem and market need. Give the “elevator pitch” for your startup. Explain in analogies your mother could understand, and quantify the “cost-of-pain” in dollars or time. Fuzzy terms like “not user-oriented” or “too expensive” are not helpful.
  • Business model.  Explain how you will make money and who pays you (real customer). In this section, you need to be passionate about recurring revenue, profit margin, and volume growth. Implicit in this is the go-to-market strategy.
  • Marketing, sales, and partners. Describe marketing strategy, sales plan, licensing, and partnership plans. Here is also a good place for a rollout timeline with key milestones. Make sure your marketing budget matches the scope of your plan.

If you decide to take this approach, I suggest you create some more detailed slides on various topics, particularly the description of your product/technology, your proposed business model, and how your marketing/sales efforts will enable you to meet your financial projections.  You can refer to these additional slides when you get into a deeper discussion with a potential investor.  Once you have their interest, you can afford to take a little more space and time to walk through the various aspects of your business.