Over on TC+, I just launched a new series called Pitch Deck Teardowns! Astute readers may already have figured out what that is all about: You submit a pitch deck and we share it with our readers, highlighting things that are awesome, making suggestions for improvements and celebrating the fun, innovative and surprising things that we find.
I am particularly interested in decks that fulfill these criteria:
- The fundraise was successful: This is just reasonable. If you’re still out there raising money, we don’t know if the deck “worked,” and it becomes hard to use it as an example.
- The fundraise was covered on TechCrunch: Part of the fun of looking through decks is the ability to link back to an article we posted, saying, “This was the raise; here is how they did it.”
- Within the past year or so: Part of the problem for founders is that a lot of sample decks out there are 10 to 15 years old. That’s cool and all, but a lot shifts in startup land in a year, never mind a decade.
- As little redaction as possible: We appreciate that most pitch decks have proprietary or commercially sensitive data in them. We welcome you to edit or redact, but we encourage you to do so in a way that maintains the overall “flavor” of the deck. You might, for example, delete a data axis but leave the rest of the graph intact, or replace “We hope to hire Mark Zuckerberg as our CTO” with “We are hiring XXX as our CTO.”
Our goal is to build up a database of sample decks that startup founders can review and learn from.
On the topic of redactions; we recently reviewed a deck that came with the following notes; it’s a perfect example of how you can protect some sensitive data, while still giving TechCrunch’s readers enough context to be able to understand what would have gone on these slides. The company simply removed the contents of the slide and added the word ‘redacted’.
Slide 13 – Monthly active users (graph of users over time) / Slide 14 – Beta users from (companies’ logos), Slide 15 – Content partners (dev tool companies’ logos) / Slide 18 – Ask (number of months runway, goal for number of active users and quests played, goal for number of content partner companies)
Another (even better) option, if possible, would be to delete the axis of a graph, but keep the graph itself intact.
Another (even better) option, if possible, would be to delete the axis of a graph, but keep the graph itself intact, or to just delete the most sensitive data, and leave as much of the slide intact as possible.
You can submit your deck for review here.
Who the hell are you to review my pitch deck?
I’m moderately glad you asked. I’ve been a journalist and storyteller my whole life. I’ve founded a number of startups and went through a couple of accelerators, to varying success. I spent a couple of years as the director of portfolio at a venture firm, where I (among other things) helped a portfolio of companies with their storytelling, fundraising, and pitch rehearsals.
Throughout all of this, I ended up doing a lot of pitch reviews and pitch coaching. When I’m not writing for TechCrunch, I moonlight as a pitch and storytelling coach. Between all of these things, I’ve helped scores of startups find their stories and craft great pitches — the vast majority of which were successful in raising capital.
Oh, and I wrote a book about how to create a great pitch. It’s called “Pitch Perfect” and it’s available in good bookstores and a lot of awful ones as well. Along with the book, I created a pitch template for a fictional company called BeerSub.com — it includes a lot of in-depth notes and gives a glimpse into how I think about using decks as a storytelling.