How to Present to Investors: A Basic Guide

To attract investors to your business, you should tell your company story in a concise but compelling way. Enter investor presentations! Securing funding for your startup or growing your company’s potential can’t go without a pitch deck.  

The bad news is that investors go through dozens of business proposals daily and spend less than 4 minutes on each. It’s clear that you need to make yours stand out. 

We’re here to help you with an essential guide on how to prepare before presenting to investors. 

Understand your audience

Whatever the type of presentation, knowing your audience is the one key element you should start from. It’s the first and foremost factor to focus on before anything else. Furthermore, it’s closely linked to your overarching goal, namely attracting an investment (or at least attracting an interest in your company that will lead to a meeting). With the case of pitch decks, be mindful of what stage of fund raising you’re at and who’s going to ideally invest in you – is it an angel investor or a venture capital company? Are these people you are presenting to normally investing in startups from your industry?   

It’s worth going the extra mile and really researching your potential investors. Remember, we’re all human and have our personal hobbies and passions. Maybe a deep dive into their LinkedIn profile or company portfolio might give you an unexpected angle to approach the presentation.  


Decide on the format

Now that you know who your audience is, you need to decide on the presentation format. Are you going to present in person or are you just approaching an investor via e-mail? These are two very different communication channels and as such, you will need to adapt your presentation accordingly. 

Presenting in person 

When presenting in person, your slides should be super simple and skimmable. Imagine a billboard. You’re driving past it on the highway, and you merely spot it. You appreciate it for a second, but your attention goes immediately back to the most important thing, the road. The same goes for presentations that are meant to be delivered in person. The audience should see your slides, but the focus should remain on you, the presenter.  

presenting in person example slide

Delivering such a high-stake presentation in person can be nerve-wracking at first but it can get better with time. There’s a couple of things you can do to prepare for presenting to investors. Rehearse as many times as it takes to start to feel comfortable and sound natural. You can even record yourself presenting which will help you spot any not-so-great moments that you can smooth out later.  The idea is to become one with the message you’re getting across. 

Sending the deck via email 

However, if your pitch deck is sent over via email, you need to make it self-sufficient. You won’t be there to present it, which makes your job harder. You need to create a clear, compelling piece of content with spot-on headlines (read on for more info on that) that can be read through quickly in a few minutes. 

send pitch deck via email example slide

When you’re sending a pitch deck via email, you’re looking for something that’s professionally designed and allows the investor to get to know you and the opportunity as quickly as possible. To achieve that, you can think of awesome headings for the sections of your deck. The idea is that the audience should be able to understand the gist of your pitch by just glancing at the summary headings.  

Test it. If you drop the headings in a Word document, do they make sense as a story, that the investors can understand? If not, re-work them. Doing this would show that you’re well prepared and you care about saving their time. 

Here’s how different both versions of the same deck look.

different formats of pitch decks

Structure your story 

A carefully crafted presentation could follow the structure of a story and it’s essential to distinguish the key elements in it. Make sure that when you look at the final deck, you have a cohesive narrative, a conflict (a problem you’re ready to solve in the current market situation), antagonists (your competitors) and a climax (your ask and how exactly the investors’ money will make a difference for the path you’re onto.  

Now that you know all that, you can kick-start the process by sectioning the presentations into 5 major parts. 

Your offering
Make sure you have an eye-catching opening statement which should include a problem potential clients are facing and your solution. Place yourself in the investors’ shoes and think of a unique way to grab and retain their attention. Don’t overwrite it and remember that the more verbose you get, the more they’ll start to doubt you. “Focus on what people can do as a result of what you do, not Here’s what we do,” says Pitch to Win author David Beckett. 

Your team
If there’s a rockstar in your team or even better, it’s full of those, make sure you put the About us section very early on inside the presentation. The credibility this will add will certainly spark the investors’ interest. However, don’t worry if this is not the case. Just put the team, your advisors (if there are any) and all the important people involved at the end of the presentation – before or after your ask, depending on how you approach the presentation story. 

Your product
The next couple of slides should be dedicated to your product and its viability and desirability. The way you frame this will greatly affect how you’ll be perceived as an entrepreneur. Focus on the product benefits, rather than its features. If you’re presenting in person or online, then it’s best to make a live product demo. A demo video is a good option for a) when you’re sending the pitch deck via e-mail or b) you want a backup option in the case of technical issues.  

The market situation 

These slides should show your deep understanding of the current market environment your business is developing in and how it’s affected by it. If you’ve already achieved some financial milestones, don’t hesitate to show them off. Use simple charts (like pie, bar or line charts) to visualise your market size and share, but don’t insert any super detailed sheets containing confidential information. Prepare it but send it if requested.  

Your competitors
Take a moment to show where you’re standing against your main competitors. They are part of your ecosystem and now’s the time to stand out, highlighting your competitive advantages. Have a look at the screenshot from Airbnb’s pitch (2008) which helped them raise $600K back then. One simple slide showing where they were in relation to companies with similar missions. 

the airbnb deck

The ask

So, you’ve made them reach the last section? Good for you! Let your final statement hit the nail on the head. Your ask will be how much money you need and a clear plan how you’re going to spend it. To solidify your call to action, you also need to show the investors how the investment is going to let them grow their portfolio and, in the end, make them richer.  

💡 At 356labs we’re experts in creating effective presentations and have helped hundreds of businesses get funding though deal-winning slides and presentation delivery trainings. Drop us an email to help you create the most important pitch of your career. 

Persuasive pieces of communication such as investor presentations should look effortless but are in fact very time-consuming. The truth is you need to invest time into preparing your pitch deck for the other party to invest in you. Hopefully this concise guide on presenting to investors will help you understand how to approach and create effective pitch decks that could secure much needed funding? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Questions are welcome!