Tricky Business: What should be in a deck for impact investors?

We got a few emails off the back of last week’s Tricky Business asking what we thought should be in the simple deck for investors — especially if you’re trying to do something with a social impact or if you’re approaching impact investors. So you’ll have to wait for ‘negotiating terms’ until next week (I know, you’re devastated).

The link we highlighted last week was to Fred Wilson’s plea to keep a deck to six slides. You’ll find plenty of other fomulae including Guy Kawasaki’s 10:20:30 and Brad Feld’s 15 slides. They’re all fine (and a great source of inspiration) but we’d urge you to keep things really simple.

It’s also worth stating that we’re thinking here of the kind of deck you need to send by email when an investor asks for a bit more information. We’re not imagining the kind you might use at a Demo Day or in a presentation to a room of people.

You have to think of the context that it will be read and the questions investors will be asking themselves as they flick through.

  • Is it a problem area we’re interested in?
  • Does it have the capacity for scale we’re looking for?
  • Is it at the right stage for us?
  • Is it run by people we will really want to work with?

Then there are a couple of other things that most investors think pretty quickly after that:

  • Does it stand out from everything else I’ve seen recently?
  • Does this deck tally up with other things I know or can find out online about the company?

With that in mind — we think this is a pretty good running order for a deck.

  • Slide 1 — the problem you’re trying to solve. Be specific but also show how important and big the problem is.
  • Slide 2 — your solution including a very straightforward description of what it is and what it does.
  • Slide 3 — how it works and what makes your product special. Include how you’re going to know what social impact you’re having and how you’re going to sell or grow it.
  • Slide 4 — who you are and why you’re the best people to do this.
  • Slide 5 — what you’ve done so far and next steps. A well presented timeline can help.
  • Slide 6 — your ask and what you’re looking for from investors. If you already have any commitments, include them here. Angel investors in particular love a deal that somebody else has said yes to.

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