Invopop Pre-Seed Pitch Deck

Pitch or investment decks are a fascinating necessity for startups and business projects alike to get off the ground. Not only are they an opportunity for you to refine and cement your idea into something more specific, but also the best way of getting interest from potential investors or partners.

They’re not easy. Getting an idea across without bombarding the recipient with information they don’t care about is tough. As a rule, I think you can generally assume that you have about 30s to get someone’s attention, after that they’re probably 95% decided of whether or not they should continue reading or not. Finding a hook in the first few slides is essential. After that you probably only have a few minutes more to keep them engaged.

A great starting point for building a deck is to look at what other successful companies have done in the past. Cabify is an obvious example for me and I still clearly recall when Juan de Antonio sent me his first deck. Kfund made a great analysis of one of the early Cabify decks (original in Spanish, translation). You can also find a slightly more critical analysis here which is equally interesting.

When I sat down to create the first Invopop pitch deck my focus was on trying to refine what messages needed to be communicated. It is also clear that we’re creating something new without much evidence on what the market is like, so the focus at this stage is on building as opposed to business opportunity. The following is what I came up with:

  • who am I, there is no product yet so it makes sense to focus on the experience of the person or team behind the project,
  • what is the business problem that needs solving,
  • why is it worth solving,
  • how the product will solve the problem, and,
  • how is the solution going to be sustainable, i.e. a business plan.

Given my technical background, I also wanted to stay true to my own experience and preferences by ensuring the presentation:

  • had a sound basis in software and technology,
  • doesn’t show an over-investment in appearance, but there should be minimal text and a strong logo that shows signs of a brand,
  • avoids over speculation with wild growth numbers, real numbers and evidence will come when we have a product working with actual users,
  • no stock photos, and,
  • has no bullshit; avoids non-objective phrases, no exaggeration, and no buzz words like “blockchain”, “cloud”, “artificial intelligence”, etc., unless they are actually in context and add meaning.

It’s really tempting when trying to pitch to go into “car-salesman mode”; changing your pitch and product to prompts from investors as opposed to what you think is best for the project and company. Personally, I’m more interested in telling it like it is and hoping the investors agree. A bit of empathy also goes a long way. Asking yourself beforehand “if I was an investor, what would I like to hear” is a sensible question and should avoid car-salesman exaggerations.

One of the most interesting slides for me was the business hypothesis. The aim was to have a slide that emphasizes the objective for the company as concisely as possible. Its a pivotal point of the presentation as everything that comes before defines the problem, and everything that comes after tells you how its going to be solved. The final deck contains the following:

“Companies of all sizes with or without developers will need to support electronic invoices sooner or later. They want to simplify their operations, and not invest heavily on internal invoicing solutions that don’t add value to their company. Simplicity, practicality, and presentation are important to them. They aspire for global reach.”

While creating the deck, I also found myself adding slides that were informative, but I ultimately felt wouldn’t impact the decision. Rather than delete them, they ended up in the appendix for the benefit of the few who had the time and felt a little bit more interest in reading more.

If you’re interested in seeing the final result, you can download the Pre-Seed Invopop Deck here. Its been tagged with a Create Commons Attribution license, so you’re free to distribute and copy anything you think might be useful. Get in touch if you have any feedback or questions.