Top 10 Venture Capital Pitch Decks

Healy Jones Kruze Consulting

Healy Jones

VP of FP&A

Top 10 VC Pitch Decks, Examples and Templates

A big part of my job at Kruze is to help our clients prepare to raise venture capital. So I’ve seen a lot of venture capital pitch decks recently. As a former VC who also has been an exec at a number of startups that have raised quite a few million in venture financing, I have some strong views on what information VCs want to see. And because Kruze clients raise over two billion dollars in venture funding annually , I get to see a lot of what works - and what doesn’t. 

Since I’m regularly being asked for a template for a venture pitch deck, I thought that I’d compile the best templates available on the internet that I know about. Again, I’m strongly biased, as I’ve seen many companies successfully raise and some not. These are pitch deck examples that I think are working.

In addition to the example presentations below, I also lay out the standard slides that I’ve seen companies use to successfully raise venture funding. You can scroll down to also see a TechCrunch interview with a Kruze Client, DeepScribe, where the founder and their investor walk you through the deck they used to raise a $30M round. Finally, I’ve added in a dozen+ questions that VCs often ask founders during the pitch (I’ll probably create an entire article around VC questions and answers).

We’ve released our free startup pitch deck course ! It includes 2 free Google Presentation templates that are free to use, and one downloadable financial model template - plus over 8.5 hours describing what VCs look for on every slide in the deck.

Again, the pitch deck course has two free templates  that are free to use. No email or registration or anything - just click the links, open the Google Slides and duplicate them into your own Google Drive. One of the free templates is a B2B example, the other is a B2C example. Haje Kamps, the well known TechCrunch writer who produces the pitch deck teardown series, helped me create those free templates - so get them!

Top 10 venture capital pitch deck templates on the internet right now

Guy Kawasaki’s pitch template -  This is the OG demo pitch deck. Short and sweet. Starting to get a bit long in the tooth, but still the first one to check out because it will highlight how simple and short can be better (don’t make a 30 slide deck!!)

Ycombinator’s slide template -  The actual deck that YC links to (it’s a Google Slide file) has such poor design, I wouldn’t recommend using it. HOWEVER, the order of slides and the topics are 100% on, so it’s worth carefully reading the commentary in the actual post. I like the final slide, as it clearly outlines how much funding is needed and the use of the funds. A solid slide to end the conversation on. 

First Round Capital’s deck -  One of the top, East Coast VCs supposedly had a hand in creating this one, and the slide order/content is one of the best examples of what to put into your deck. I don’t know how you actually download this - it’s in some kind of a proprietary format, but if you are looking for a view on how to order and design a pitch deck, this is one you must check out. 

Series A pitch deck used by Front to raise their A  -   This founder very kindly shared their slides and fund raising experience. Great example of a competition slide in an industry that has a lot of legit competitors. 

Airbnb’s seed deck -  This is a classic (although the visual design did not age well). If you are looking for a consumer deck or one that talks about how to launch into a new(ish) industry, this is worth looking at.

We’ve also put links to five other examples below, like the Uber deck and the Mattermark slides. Scroll down to see more real-life examples, and dig into our commentary on slide order and content strategy. 

Slides in an example pitch deck

The professionals (like YC and Guy Kawasaki) are suggesting 10 slides in a standard pitch deck. I think the real point is that you should be able to deliver your pitch in 15 minutes or less - and if pressed, do a 5-minute pitch. That’s really short.

Why so short? Aren’t most VC meetings scheduled for 30 minutes? Well sure, but… 

Assume that your VC is late to the meeting by 5 minutes (they will always say something like “something came up with a portfolio company’s acquisition, but the truth is probably that the barista messed up and gave them an almond milk latte instead of a soy milk one and they had to wait for the right beverage - kind of a joke.) The VC will probably then give you a few minute spiel around what makes their fund different. Then assume that you need to answer at least 5 minutes of questions if your pitch is not going well - and 10 minutes of questions or more if the investor is engaged. And you’ll need a 5-minute pitch, that isn’t rushed, if some important partner is running way late or misses the first 20 minutes of your 30-minute meeting. 

The standard table of contents in a good pitch deck is:

Based on the $1 billion our clients raised last year in VC funding, we think you will want:

1. Cover/title slide - including the company name and the founder’s contact info

2. The industry’s or customers’ problem - the pain that your startup is solving

3. Your startup’s solution or value proposition - how your startup fixes the issue / the benefits you provide

The templates start to diverge, so a few different next slides are:

6. Go to market/growth - explain how you are going to grow

7. Competition and or competitive analysis/advantages - all startups have some sort of competition, or there is at least a way that customers are currently dealing with the pain your startup is solving

9. Financial projections - include revenue growth, high-level spend, burn, and other KPIs like customer count (you can go deeper in an appendix or in a financial model). And if you are looking for a free downloadable model template, visit our financial modeling page . 

10. Summary:

I am slightly older school - I usually like an “executive summary” after the cover page that goes over the company and round. I think this is probably a page that went out of style in 2015 or so, but I still like it because it quickly helps the VC see what your key metrics/sales points are, and how much you are raising. I usually recommend only four or five bullets on this slide:

Given that YC and Guy Kawasaki seem to no longer (or maybe never) had an exec summary at the front of their venture capital pitch deck templates, you are probably OK ignoring my advice and just getting straight from the cover page to the problem statement. 

Tips for your slides

Here are some of the slides that we mention above and some tips that founders we work with have found helpful:

Seed Pitch Deck Outline

Our COO, Scott Orn (also a former VC) has been assisting a number of seed and pre-seed companies during their fundraises, and has produced an outline/template for a seed pitch deck.

Pre-seed is sort of a new asset class. It’s essentially the first money in. That’s what seed used to be for everyone. So this is applicable to pre-seed and seed - basically, what to present when your company is more of an idea.

And then there’s a tiny little tip which is, oftentimes you get to the end of the presentation and that slide just sits up there for the remainder of the pitch discussion. If it’s going to sit there, just make it like something showing how awesome you are or helping you close the sale, maybe it’s pictures, maybe it’s graphs or your traction. Instead of having that boring, “questions” slide, do something that spices it up. And every time they kind of subconsciously look at the slide deck on the wall, or the presentation, even though you’re just talking after the presentation has been done, it can kind of help convince them in a small way. So just a little tip to help your pitch deck be a bit stronger at the end.

At the seed stage, you’re still living the dream and you’re convincing investors that they should come along. So it’s a little less finance, a little less metrics and more vision. But really this framework should work for any type of venture capital presentation.

How to write a pitch deck to raise funding

Ok, so you’ve now seen the VC and seed deck outlines above - but how so you actually start writing a presentation that will help you get funding? Here is how I have successfully written pitch decks when I was raising VC money:

Tips for your fund raising presentation if time is running short

Ok, so as I outlined, it’s highly likely that your 30 minute conversation gets cut into a much shorter time frame. There are good ways to handle this and bad. The worst way that I’ve seen is when a CEO talks REALLY REALLY fast and blows through the preso. It’s hard for anyone to soak in the information, it can be hard to understand, and it usually doesn’t work. A better way is to have the 5 minute presentation ready to go, and then to just walk through that briskly. No demo, and try to answer the VC’s questions as quickly as possible.

Tips for the financial section of your pitch deck

As financial advisors to funded startups, we tend to overly index on the financial section of our client’s fundraising pitch decks. Note that this is our interest area (and how we get paid), so it may or may not be all that interesting or important for your startup’s presentation. 

The financial detail that you go into in your VC deck will vary based on the stage of your business. So, let’s breakdown what you might need for a seed to Series C company.

Finally, we’ve complied some other pitch deck examples that you may find helpful. Again, we think the best VC pitch decks templates/examples are the ones we highlighted at the top of this page, but here are some of the others that are floating around on the internet that you may like.

Five More of the Best Pitch Deck Examples

So that makes 10 of the best pitch deck templates and examples that we’ve seen on the internet. 

Pitch Deck Example from a Kruze Client

One of our clients, DeepScribe , was interviewed on TechCrunch Live about their Series A fundraising process. Akilesh Bapu, the CEO and co-Founder of DeepScribe, was interviewed along with Nina Achadjian, a VC and Partner at Index Ventures. Nina invested $30 million into the company, and was impressed with the founders and the story they explained during their pitch.

In addition to giving Kruze Consulting a shout-out for our help on his accounting diligence (thanks Akilesh!) he also walks through part of his VC pitch deck. It’s one of the better examples that we’ve seen of a live pitch deck presentation. You can watch on Youtube or see below.

What Questions do VCs ask During a Pitch?

Questions during a pitch are a GREAT sign - that means that the venture capitalist is paying attention. I strongly recommend founders use their venture capital pitch deck as a crutch, jumping to the right slide to answer the specific question , then going back to the original presentation order to make sure all important topics are hit. Again, I’ve seen partners reject a company because “the founder didn’t talk about go to market.” Yeah, they didn’t have time to talk about it because of all of your questions! 

Here are some of the trickier questions investors might ask during a presentation. Think about which slide you might be able to use to answer these questions. Resist the temptation to argue with a VC if they ask difficult questions; saying you don’t know but then laying out your plan to figure it out is a great response to many questions. 

Questions VCs Ask

VC Pitch Deck FAQ

Because Google says people are asking questions.

What is a VC pitch deck?

A VC pitch deck is a presentation (typically in Powerpoint, Google Sheets or PDF) used to explain a startup idea to potential venture capital investors. A pitch deck contains information on the business, the market and the company’s traction/financials. 

What is a pitch deck used for?

These presentations are used to 1) convince venture capitalists to take a 1st meeting with the founder(s); 2) begin investment due diligence and 3) convince the venture firm’s partnership to want to invest in a startup. 

Will a deck help you get a meeting with a VC?

A great venture capital pitch deck may help you get a meeting with a venture capitalist. VC firm NFX reminds startup founders that investors are looking for the following 12 data points before taking a meeting with a startup:

Does your venture capital presentation have to be PowerPoint?

VCs typically expect a slide deck; these days usually a PowerPoint, Google Slides or a PDF of one of those formats. I’ve been with companies that have used designers to create an incredibly slick venture capital presentation, which they presented as a PDF - no idea which tool was used to actually design the presentation, but it was likely an Adobe product. The most important thing is making the presentation be in 1) slides and 2) something they can share and access from their computer.

Is it OK to share your venture capital presentation by DocSend or a presentation sharing platform instead of as an email attachment?

These days more and more VCs are Ok getting the presentation as a DocSend or other presentation sharing platform that asks for their email address or asks to verify that they are someone you to share the document with. However, you’ll occasionally find the grump VC who wants their presentation the old school way. Often these investors write up their dislike of sharing tools on their blog or Twitter. 

How do you modify your pitch deck for the final, all-hands VC partner pitch?

The final step to getting a term sheet, at many venture capital firms, is to pitch the partnership one final time. This is after you’ve already gotten one of the partners to support your investment internally as the champion. In the final meeting, you’ll have the full range of understanding of your company - from the partner who is supporting you and who knows a ton to partners who know close to nothing. 

It’s not safe to assume knowledge on your industry or problem. Invite all the partners into the fold by explaining and building excitement around what you are doing. Don’t gloss over the market size or competition! 

Hope this helps you find a good pitch deck template for your fundraise!

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Pitch Deck: How To Create The Perfect Funding Proposal

Whether you are a startup founder, business owner or a 'corporate entrepreneur', your pitch deck is kind of important - after all, it captures your rationale for why people should invest in your idea and give you a lot of money. Maybe millions.

FREE  Accelerator Kit

Start improving your presentations skills immediately with our free trail of the Decks for Decision Makers course.

So your investor pitch, and supporting pitchdeck, better nail it.

But for every venture capitalist or angel investor out there, there is a different opinion on exactly how to approach the investor pitch deck. 6 slides? 10 slides? 15 slides? No slides, just a killer demo?

I have never seen a presentation that has too few slides, too big a font, and too little graphics. Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist
You can explain your startup in mind numbing detail or you can inspire an investor and let them imagine. Guess what works better? When you sit down and build your investor deck, think of six slides that will inspire and leave something for the imagination. Fred Wilson, Venture Capitalist
The most fundamental strategy of a startup is the financing strategy. If your company runs out of finance it will close no matter how good the product strategy is. Reid Hoffman, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist
[A ten section] business plan format, within 15–20 slides, is all that’s needed. Sequoia Capital, Venture Capitalists

In this post we provide the authoritative consensus on the slides you need in your business funding pitch.

We have looked at what the world's most influential venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and angel investors, including Guy Kawasaki , Reid Hoffman , Fred Wilson , Brad Feld , Mark Suster and Dave McClure, look for in a pitch deck (it is a veritable who's who of Silicon Valley VCs). We have then summarized that advice on pitching investors into an easy to follow plan.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a brief, written presentation that supports your oral, fundraising sales presentation. It is a business pitch. The objective of a powerful pitch deck is to concisely layout the rationale for investing in your business (the investment opportunity).

After canvassing leading entrepreneurs and investors, the consensus set of investor pitch deck slides are:

In the rest of this article we explore each of these slides in detail, providing advice and examples of what to include, and what not to.

We also look at how your pitch approach must change depending on what stage your idea or company is at. We discuss pitch requirements for startup seed pitches, series A and B pitches, and IPO roadshow decks.

When do you need a pitch deck?

A pitch deck lets you present your business plan to potential investors when new funding is needed to develop the business.

You don’t need a pitch deck to attract funding if your business is successful, growing organically and at the right level and scale for the market and your ambitions.

What are you trying to achieve with your pitch deck?

Your goal is to persuade investors to put money into your business, to fund your business's growth. The funds are used to push your business to the next stage of its development.

Pitch decks are the tool to convince investors of the merits of funding your tech startup or business.

Who is your audience and what are their questions?

The classic partner in a VC firm is exposed to 5,000 pitches in a single year. Reid Hoffman, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist

At SlideHeroes we provide presentation training on how to develop McKinsey presentations that focuses on:

Your Audience

Your pitch deck target audience is any potential investor who provides investment for new business ideas (Venture capital, see funding). This will typically be VCs or angel investors and their question will be 'Why is this company worth investing in?'

While this may seem obvious (it is), a surprising number of pitches can lose sight of this fundamental question. Focus on answering this exam question.

It is worth noting that fundraising from angels and venture capital is tough.

As a consequence, fit between investor and startup is critical. Look for quality over quantity of investors. Research your target investor and see if they invest in the sector you are in or the stage of company you are at. Tailor your story to the particular investment theses or sector focus of the VC you are speaking to. Research past investments to understand what ideas resonate with your audience.

Michael Wolfe says you must get across how “this company is going to become more valuable in the future.”

As Reid Hoffmann explains, when pitching LinkedIn, “My strategy was to steer immediately into the revenue question because that was investors’ biggest concern in 2004.”

What do you absolutely need in your pitch deck?

Research from Professor Tom Eisenmann from the Harvard Business School for Docsend looked at the fundraising of 200 start-ups as they went through the seed and series A funding process, raising over $360 million.

It found that:

Seed, Series A, Series B and IPO Fundraising Rounds

Michael Wolfe puts it best when he states: “The pitch deck you used for a seed round will not be what you need for series A or B pitches. Your business will have changed, the market too and what you want to get out of the investor meetings.”

Broadly speaking, there are four types of pitches related to businesses at different stages of development.

1. The 'Seed Round' pitch deck

A seed-round pitch deck is a pitch for initial funding from startup investors. The seed investment round can often come before you have a product for sale or any revenue. The focus of the pitch is typically on the problem being solved, the size and potential of the market, and how compelling the solution and business model is.

Seed investors are typically small venture capital funds that give between $250k - $1m. Angel investors, wealthy individuals investing their money directly (angel investment), are also an important source of capital at this stage of fundraising.

There are important differences between these two sets of audiences, and as a consequence, what they are looking for from a pitch.

Angel investors typically invest, in aggregate, substantially less than VCs (even micro-VCs specializing on seed rounds). As a consequence they are likely to take more of a personal interest in the founders and the business and be in a position to offer a more hands on role in advising the company. But they will be unlikely to invest in follow-on rounds due to their capital constraints. Their focus is typically on understanding the entrepreneurs vision for the product and commercial opportunity.

The biggest mistake presenters make is that they think that they are so interesting and have so much to say that they are the exception to the 'less is more' theory of presentations. Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist

2. The 'Series A Round' pitch deck

With a Series A funding round, the business has typically figured out product/market fit and are now looking for money to:

As a consequence of this change in objective, the focus of the Series A pitch deck changes as well. The pitch deck must:

The investor profile may change in this round. Some investors specialize in follow-on rounds, others in very early stage investments. Do your research and tailor your story to the questions the prospective investor will prioritize.

3. The 'Series B Round' pitch deck

A Series B pitch deck focuses on scaling the business. You have a user base, customers and growing revenue helped by earlier funding. New funds are used to scale the business model, make further acquisitions and invest in key capabilities.

4. The 'IPO' Roadshow Document

Series C pitch decks and on-wards, including IPO roadshow decks, seek funding to expand, often into new geographies or adjacent markets.

The Perfect Pitch Deck: The Consensus View

Based on the research we have conducted, these are the 10 slides you need.

The optimum time for a pitch, according to Kawasaki and Suster, is 20 minutes.

If your business has certain problems that, at this stage of its development, are still awaiting answers - confront them head on. Address these issues directly because you can be sure your potential investors will.

The best pitch is a conversation. It should be cohesive, tell a story and explain a trend. Mark Suster, 2X Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist

Slide 1: Company Purpose

Cover slide. A title slide. A teaser slide. Whatever you call it, you need to start somewhere. And it makes sense to start with who you are.

Ideally you want to define the business idea in a single declarative sentence. Define, succinctly, what the company does or aspires to do.

As Michael Wolfe says “starting with a brief snapshot helps ground people and head off questions.”

And make it memorable. Show the vision of the business.

Reid Hoffman thinks the first 60 seconds of your pitch are the most crucial, so how you begin is incredibly important.

Brad Feld believes all entrepreneurs should have a variety of verbal pitches to use in different situations. A 15 second, three sentence overview should be 'very tight but get me interested in you.' This is the verbal voice-over for this slide.

In 60 second verbal elevator pitch version should be able to show “what you do, who you do it to and why I should care.” This is a brief investor pitch to spark interest in your business idea. Hone this elevator pitch obsessively so it becomes a winning pitch.

The 5-minute pitch should lead with the 60 seconds, “then go deeper.” A 15-minute pitch will be a full, high-level pitch and at 30 minutes it will be an extended pitch deck presentation with more detail.

You are obviously also going to need the name of your company, a logo and the names of the presenters. Consider adding a line about the purpose of the presentation along the lines of 'Investor Presentation to Sand Hill Road VC'. This is a small (very small) signal that you have tailored your pitch to the audience (always a good thing).

Objective: To give VCs a taste of your business and provide contact information for them to follow up

Include: Company name, your name and title, address, email and mobile phone number

Common mistakes: Including too much information that is difficult to take in and also steals the thunder of later slides.

Slide 2: The Problem

A problem well stated, is a problem half solved. Charles Kettering, Inventor

There is pretty strong consensus on this one. Your pitch deck should start with describing the problem your business intends to solve. Guy Kawasaki calls it the ‘opportunity’. Others talk about alleviating a pain or, as Dave McClure puts it, ‘making your customers happy.’

This is the opportunity to show exactly why you have a business. Mark Suster argues that the problem definition must be strong because in essence “it is why you exist.”

Objective: To show the investor that there is a large, painful problem that you can solve in a way that generates revenue.

Common mistake: Not defining the problem in a way that illustrates that customers are dying for an alternative.

Include: Explain the problem, why is it a problem? Who has that problem? How it is being solved now and how can you solve it better?

Grab the attention of your audience by showing the problem through an image or screenshot.

Slide 3: The Solution (and your Demo)

A great demo in the middle of a presentation is the best-case scenario. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a demo is worth a thousand slides. Guy Kawasaki, Venture Capitalist

After defining well the problem that must be solved, this section of the pitch deck describes how your business solves that problem. This is where you show your product and highlight its uniqueness. Where possible, show a live demo, use screenshots, animation or video to show your solution in action.

Nearly all our experts stress the importance of demoing the product at this point in the pitch. Brad Fled states, “I don’t want to hear you describe what you are going to do, I want to see it. Or – if it’s not built yet, see an example of it.”

Guy Kawasaki's advice "is to provide just enough information to make people want to watch a demo.”

This allows VCs to come to their own conclusions about the product.

Objective: To show your audience your compelling solution to an important problem.

Common mistake: Telling your audience what the solution is rather than showing them.

Include: An example, images and a demonstration of what your product does. Highlight the benefits to your customers.

Example: In Reid Hoffman’s LinkedIn Series B presentation he uses a slide to illustrate how his solution is version 2.0 compared to what went before it, introducing the concept of networks over 1.0 flat directory solutions.

Slide 4: The Market

In this section of the pitch deck you want to first identify and profile the customer you cater to.

Then you need to size the total addressable target market (TAM) for your solution and explain how it is either already large or will be large in the future.

Finally, calculate the serviceable addressable target market (SAM), which is the part of the total addressable target market that can actually be reached given the companies capabilities. This is the market opportunity.

Kawasaki says this should “explain how you are going to reach your customers without breaking the bank.”

Objective: Illustrate the potential size of the market. As Dave McClure says, “bigger is better.”

Common mistakes: Not understanding, or being able to clearly define, the market you are operating in.

Include: The state of the current market, how it is likely to grow and how you can grow your position in it. Who else is operating in it and how is your company different? Use business charts.

Example: Wolfe provides an analogy of how AirBnB could use the hotel industry to show the large TAM for its business.

Slide 5: The Competition

Investors want to know about your rivals, how you are distinct from them, how future technologies might disrupt the market and how you will respond to them.

This is a chance to show your deep knowledge about the market space, a vital point as Wolfe says: “The best way to communicate your business to investors is to actually know your business.”

Mark Suster says: “The competition slide must show the progress of your company and its key milestones.”

Who are your future rivals? Identify them and show how you will beat them.

Objective: To provide a complete overview of the competitive landscape and address how you are different.

Common mistakes: Focusing on a few major rivals rather than the whole competitive landscape.

Include: Images of your product that show why you are better or offer a useful alternative.

Slide 6: The Value Proposition

This slide is a natural build on the earlier solution slide. This is the opportunity to elaborate on the product and frame it in the way it would be marketed to customers.

A value proposition positions the product or service and illustrates what benefit it provides. As Guy Kawasaki describes, you want to communicate ‘the secret ingredient’ that makes your product unique from all other potential solutions.

This is also the section of the pitch where you can go into more detail on the product line-up, including expanding on form factor, functionality, features, product architecture, and intellectual property ownership. If additional development work is required to complete the product you should include a development roadmap as well.

Objective: To show how your product solves customers' problems or improves their situation, how it delivers specific benefits and tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not others.

Common mistakes: Some pitches ignore this element or don’t understand what they should say. It needs to show how your solution will resonate with customers.

Include: Talk about benefits, not features. Show what type of product you are selling, include further information on the potential returns for investors.

This slide could also include information on how you can monetize the product. It should illustrate why a customer should buy the product.

Slide 7: The Business & Revenue Model

The Business & Revenue Model slide focuses on how the business will make money.

You should cover things like:

Michael Wolfe says: “Investors know that customer acquisition is where most startups fall down. Devote a few slides to the topic.”

According to Guy Kawasaki, in many cases “the best way to illustrate a revenue model is to make such a compelling demo that the audience can fill in the blanks for itself on who, when, and why people will pay,”.

Include 1-3 revenue streams. Reid Hoffman included three for LinkedIn, targeted ad’s listings and subscriptions, but admits this was unusual. He says, “The general rule is one business model drives the business. The charitable interpretation, which was true in our case, is that the company’s team doesn’t know which one model will work. The bad interpretation is that the team lacks focus and doesn’t understand that they generally need to drive to one business model to succeed.”

Objective: To present how you will make money for your company and the investors.

Common mistakes: Many investors focus too much on the problem and not enough on customers and the business model.

Include: Information on pricing, how you are going to attract and retain customers, customer numbers and what they are spending.

Slide 8: The Team

Team can be crucial. In fact in some instances, with repeat entrepreneurs, it is the team that is funded, rather than the idea.

Generally, the goal here is to show that the team has the requisite experience to suggest they know what they are doing. If there are any parts (skill sets) of the management team that are missing, be sure to articulate a plan for filling those gaps.

Don't bring more than three people to the pitch. Mark Suster suggests you split the presentation 65:35 or 50:25:25 if you have three people. The CEO should act as the quarterback for the presentation and questions.

Objective: To demonstrate that the team has that necessary skills that build and manage the business.

Common mistakes: At an actual presentation, if you bring and introduce key members of your management team, be sure to utilize them, otherwise investors will question why they are there.

Include: Introduce the key members of your team, briefly outline their role and how they add value to the business. Introduce other investors and a board of directors if you have them.

Slide 9: The Financials

This is one of the most important slides in your deck, so it is vital that the information on it is correct and you understand the numbers.

Objective: To provide investors with your financial results, a financial projection, an idea of potential earnings and what additional investment you need.

Common mistakes : Being unprepared. Answering questions incorrectly on financial details is a sure fire way to put off an investor.

Include: Sales achieved and targets, customer numbers, profit or loss details and a balance sheet if possible. Also, show the revenue level you have achieved so far and customer testimonials.

Slide 10: Current Status & Use of Funds

This should show how far you have come on your journey, what the company has achieved, and how investment funds have been used so far.

You should explain what funds you now require, what you plan to spend the money on and the key milestones you intend to hit with the next round of funding.

Suster thinks an exit slide is vital, one that “plants a seed for selling the company in the future.”

This slide should introduce your funding status, what you need for the business, who is currently invested and ideas on future sources of investment.

Hoffman notes that you may not want an appendix but in preparation of investor questions, “preparing appendix slides with structured answers is impressive, showing that you’ve considered all of your business’ challenges, opportunities, and comparisons.”

Objective: To leave your audience confident that you know why you are raising investment, and that you know how to deploy these funds efficiently and effectively.

Include: A summary of what has happened so far, key milestones, proof of the positive use of cash so far, future funding requirements, and an idea of what is expected to happen in the near future.

A successful pitch needs an immediate hook to attract investors’ attention, it needs to articulate a vision and clearly explain the problem that your business is solving.

It needs to answer the question 'why now?' and, in a compelling way, convince your audience that your product or service solves a problem a significant number of people are willing to pay to have solved.

It must present a model that shows how the business can scale rapidly and become profitable.

In almost all cases a live demo is needed to show your audience your product.

The perfect pitch deck contains the following ten sections:

Your prepared remarks should ideally take around 20 minutes, so it’s not rushed and there is time for questions.

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presentation for venture capital funding

LinkedIn: A Case Study

When Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn, pitched LinkedIn to Greylock Partners for a Series B investment back in 2004, he used the pitch deck above. Hoffman provides a fantastic retrospective review of this 2004 deck here .

Three Key Challenges

At the time, Hoffman had to address three main challenges. The company was not a market leader, it had no revenue and no substantial organic growth.

He was also pitching in a very difficult market climate. Many investors had recently made mistakes investing in the dotcom bubble, so they were increasingly conservative and very focused on paths to revenue.

Hoffman explains how LinkedIn’s financing played out. “The Series A was a concept story for building the network. The Series B was a concept story for getting to revenue. The Series C had to be a data story that showed either how we could get to profitability or that we were profitable. And Series D ended up being ‘We can scale to a big opportunity’.”

However, with no clear revenue growth, he had to convince investors that building the network, in LinkedIn’s case, comes first, then the revenue.

Hoffman took on the revenue question head-on, knowing it was a topic likely to be picked over by investors.

The Problem and Solution

Hoffman identified the problem that LinkedIn was trying to solve; there was no effective, trusted way for professionals to find and transact with each other online.

The solution was to position LinkedIn as a network all professionals could be a part of, creating a reputation that would encourage trust fostering growth.

Pitching By Analogy

Hoffman showed rather than told investors the value proposition. According to Hoffman, “The winning moment for an entrepreneur is when an investor concludes on their own volition that an investment thesis is worthwhile.”

Hoffman used Monster and LexisNexis to show how LinkedIn could become more than the sum of those parts, how it could become a network rather than just a resume database.

Ending with a Single Sentence Summary

At the end of the pitch, LinkedIn left up a slide that encapsulated its value whilst taking questions. The slide said: ‘Find and contact the people you need through the people you already trust’.

Hoffman said: “End on a slide that you want people to be paying attention to. The final slide should serve to remind investors why they should invest in your company.”

Do’s and Don’ts of Pitch Deck Delivery

More From Forbes

How to create a great investor pitch deck for startups seeking financing.

This post has been updated. To read the latest version, click here . 

Startups frequently prepare a “pitch deck” to present their company to prospective angel or venture capital investors. The pitch deck typically consists of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation and is intended to showcase the company’s products, technology, and team to the investors.

Raising capital from investors is difficult and time consuming. Therefore, it’s crucial that a startup absolutely nails its investor pitch deck and articulates a compelling and interesting story.

In this article, I provide important advice for creating a strong, thorough, and engaging investor pitch deck, along with guidance on presenting to angel and venture capital investors. I also provide links to sample pitch decks you can check out for reference as you begin the process of building your own.

Important Do’s and Don’ts for Investor Pitch Decks

Too many startups make a number of avoidable mistakes when creating their investor pitch decks. Here is a list of preliminary do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

When trying to raise capital for your startup, it's crucial to nail your investor presentation.

Pitch Deck Do’s

Pitch Deck Don’ts

Make Sure to Review Other Pitch Deck Examples

In creating your pitch deck for investors, it’s extremely helpful to view other sample pitch decks. A great many pitch decks are available online, including:

Check out this  sample investor pitch deck  for that I created, which incorporates the advice I give in this article. This sample can be downloaded for free and used as a template for your own investor pitch.

What Are the Key Slides You Want In Your Investor Pitch Deck?

You want your investor pitch deck to cover the following topics, roughly in the order set forth here and with titles along the lines of the following:

1. The “Company Overview” Slide of the Pitch Deck

I’m a big believer that the page after the cover page should be a “Company Overview” where you summarize in 4-6 bullet points your business, what problem it solves, where you are located, the experience of the management team, and any key traction already established.

For example, here is what your “Company Overview” page could say:

Example of a strong "Company Overview" slide.

Your company overview page should grab the reader and convince them that your company has the opportunity to grow big.

2. The “Mission/Vision” Slide of the Pitch Deck

In this slide, you want a crisp summary of the mission/vision of the company. Some examples of a mission include:

The “vision” can be the goal you think you could become, such as “Our vision is to become the leading e-commerce company for individuals recuperating from injuries.”

Think of this slide as your 15-second compelling elevator pitch.

3. “The Team” Slide of the Pitch Deck

Many investors believe that a company’s team is the most important determinant of whether or not to invest. “The Team” slide will typically include:

4. “The Problem” Slide in the Pitch Deck

You need to define the problem or need your startup is solving, including:

5. “The Solution” Slide in the Pitch Deck

Since the prior slide articulated the problem, “The Solution” section of your investor pitch deck should articulate your proposed solution and why it’s better than other solutions in the market. This deck should be carefully coordinated with the “Product” slide of the pitch deck, as there may be some overlap.

6. The “Product” Slide of the Pitch Deck

You must clearly articulate what your company’s product or service consists of and why it is unique, so “The Product” slide of the pitch deck should answer:

Images, visuals, and videos can play an important role here—don’t just have lengthy written explanations.

7. The “Market Opportunity” Slide of the Pitch Deck

Investors want to invest in big opportunities with large addressable markets. On your “Market Opportunity” slide you want to:

8. The “Customers” Slide of the Pitch Deck

If the company has early customers, a “Customers” slide can be powerful and add credibility. Normally, the logos of customers that are well known are included in this slide page. Here is an example of this page, which highlights both customers and partnerships of the company:

The "Customers & Partners" slide should show investors the connections you've already established.

9. “The Technology” Slide of the Pitch Deck

Investors will be particularly interested in your underlying technology (both existing and that in development). This slide of the investor pitch deck can address:

10. The “Competition” Slide of the Pitch Deck

The company’s competitors will always be an issue to investors. Your “Competition” slide should anticipate the following questions:

You really have to show an understanding of the competitive landscape and be prepared to answer questions about your competitors. If you don’t understand your competitors, then the investor may conclude that you really don’t understand the market.

11. The “Traction” Slide of the Pitch Deck

A company that has obtained early traction in some way will be viewed positively. A “Traction” slide is sometimes, but not always, included in the pitch deck (sometimes the company’s progress/traction is just sprinkled through other slides). The “Traction” slide can cover the following:

12. “The Business Model” Slide of the Pitch Deck

The investors will want to understand your business model. So this slide can address key issues like:

13. The “Marketing Plan” Slide of the Pitch Deck

No matter how good your product is, you will need to have a good marketing plan to get customers or users. The “Marketing Plan” slide of the pitch deck can cover:

14. The “Financials” Slide of the Pitch Deck

Investors will want to understand the company’s current financial situation and proposed future “burn” rate (monthly or yearly cash loss while the company is developing and marketing its product).

The “Financials” slide sometimes includes the following:

Make sure your projections are not unrealistic; you don’t want prospective investors to immediately question your projections as absurd or just not believable. Avoid the trap of saying you will grow revenues by 10x in one year but only increase sales and marketing costs by 2x.

15. “The Ask” Slide of the Pitch Deck

Near the end, you should have a slide entitled “The Ask.” On this slide you should address:

Here is a sample slide from my sample investor pitch deck:

"The Ask" slide should spell out exactly what you are asking the investors for.

For related information, see:

A great investor pitch deck can make obtaining financing for your startup much more likely. But you need to make sure the story is compelling and interesting. You must address the topics that investors expect to see.

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What is Venture Capital?

How does venture capital work, structure of a venture capital firm (fund), stages of venture capital financing, characteristics of venture capital, related readings, venture capital.

A type of private equity investing that involves investment in a disruptive business with high growth potential

Venture capital is a type of private equity investing that involves investment in earlier-stage businesses that require capital. In return, the investor will receive an equity stake in the business in the form of shares. 

Companies that raise venture capital do so for a variety of reasons, including to scale the existing business or to support the development of new products and services. Due to the capital-intensive nature of starting a company, many venture-backed companies will operate at a loss for many years before becoming profitable.

Venture Capital

Key Takeaways

Private equity investments are equity investments that are not traded on public exchanges (such as the New York Stock Exchange ).

Institutional and individual investors usually invest in private equity through limited partnership agreements, which allow investors to invest in a variety of venture capital projects while preserving limited liability (of the initial investment).

Venture capital funds are run similarly to private equity funds , where the portfolio of companies they invest in generally falls within a specific sector specialization. For instance, a venture capital fund specializing in the healthcare sector may invest in a portfolio of ten companies focused on disruptive healthcare technologies and equipment.

A venture capital fund is usually structured in the form of a partnership, where the venture capital firm (and its principals) serve as the general partners and the investors as the limited partners. 

Limited partners may include insurance companies, pension funds, university endowment funds, and wealthy individuals, among others. Limited partners are passive investors.

All the partners have an ownership stake in the venture firm, but the general partners are actually hands-on. They may even serve as managers, advisors, or board representatives to the companies they invest in. These are called portfolio companies .

Profits from the disposition of investments made in the various portfolio companies are split between the general partners and limited partners. The general partners, who are also the private equity fund managers, usually get 20% of the profits as a performance incentive (often called a “carry”). They may also receive an annual management fee of up to 2% of the total capital invested. 

The other 80% of any profits are divided equally (pro-rata) among the limited partners who invested in the fund.

1. Pre-Seed/Accelerator-stage Capital

Pre-Seed-stage is capital provided to an entrepreneur to help them develop an idea. Many entrepreneurs interested in raising venture capital funding will enter business incubators (accelerators), which provide various services and resources for entrepreneurs to connect them with venture firms and networks that will help them develop their business idea and product.

2. Seed-stage Capital

Seed-stage capital is the capital provided to help an entrepreneur (or prospective entrepreneur) develop their idea into an early-stage product. Seed stage capital usually funds the research and development (R&D) of new products and services and research into prospective markets. 

3. Early-stage Capital

Early-stage capital is venture capital provided to set up initial operation and basic production. Early-stage capital supports product development, marketing, commercial manufacturing, and sales. 

This kind of financing will usually come in the form of a Series A or Series B round.

4. Later-stage Capital

Later-stage capital is the venture capital provided after the business generates revenues but before an Initial Public Offering (IPO) . 

It includes capital needed for initial expansion (second-stage capital), capital needed for major expansions, product improvement, major marketing campaigns, mergers & acquisitions (third-stage capital), and capital needed to go public (mezzanine or bridge capital).

1. Illiquid

Venture capital investments are usually long-term investments and are fairly illiquid compared to market-traded instruments (like stocks or bonds). Unlike publicly traded securities, VC investments don’t offer the option of a short-term payout. 

Long-term returns from venture capital investments depend largely on the success of the firm’s portfolio companies, which generate returns either by being acquired or through an IPO.

2. Long-term investment horizon

Venture capital investments feature a structural time lag between the initial investment and the final payout and usually have a time horizon of 10 years. The structural time lag increases the liquidity risk. Therefore, VC investments tend to offer very high (prospective) returns to compensate for this higher-than-normal liquidity risk.

3. Large discrepancy between private valuation and public valuation (market valuation)

Unlike standard investment instruments that are traded on some organized exchange, VC investments are held by private funds. Thus, there is no way for any individual investor in the market to determine the value of the investment. 

The venture fund may also not completely understand how the market values its investment(s). This causes IPOs to be the subject of widespread speculation from both the buy-side and the sell-side.

4. Entrepreneurs lack full information about the market

The majority of venture capital investing is into innovative projects whose aim is to disrupt the market. Such projects offer potentially very high returns but also come with very high risks. As such, entrepreneurs and VC investors often work in the dark because no one else has done what they are trying to do.

5. Mismatch between entrepreneurs and VC investors

An entrepreneur and an investor may have very different objectives regarding a project. The entrepreneur may be concerned with the process (i.e., the means), whereas the investor may only be concerned with the return (i.e., the end). 

This can make discussions and general collaboration between entrepreneurs and investors challenging as they may have conflicting objectives around how the company should be run.

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Venture Capital. To learn more about corporate investing and financing, here are some helpful CFI resources:

presentation for venture capital funding

presentation for venture capital funding

When a business is attempting to raise capital with a venture capital presentation, it is extremely important to know the following.

venture capital, vc, presentation,

Before contacting any Venture Capital Funding Sources

1. Understand that venture capital is not a business loan . It is not debt. It is equity, meaning you will have a firm that is buying a portion of your company and not loaning you money.

2. The venture capitalists are interested in making money and they may require an active role in your business to help ensure they make the returns they want. Are you prepared to have active partners?

3. Most VCs are only interested in investments of $1M or more. If you are looking for smaller amounts of funding for seed money, or other purposes, you will need to pursue another avenue of financing.

4. Learn about the VC firm you intend to contact. What type of investments do they make? What are the personalities of the decision makers? Does your personality and business match theirs?

5. Know that they will be investing with you as a person and a partner and will not be making a decision on sales hype, or solely on financial projections?

6. In order to receive funding the CEO of the company pursuing venture capital will be required to make a short, but dynamic presentation to the venture capitalists. Do you have the ability to provide a passionate and concise presentation that will grab an investor’s interest?

Tips for Preparing Venture Capital Presentation

1. Practice for hours and hours – at home, at the office, in front of unbiased groups, etc. Accept critical feedback, update the presentation, and practice some more. As you practice, anticipate and prepare for a wide variety of questions and objections.

2. You will only have a few seconds at the beginning of your venture capital presentation to really grab their attention. If you don’t, they won’t stay focused on the remainder of your presentation.

3. Deliver a clear and concise message that emphasizes the key issues you want the Venture Capitalists to remember.

4. Have each point build upon the previous point keeping the energy moving forward until the grand finale.

5. The short presentation (maybe 15 minutes) will encapsulate who the company is, who the management team is, what the product/market is, who the customer and the competition are and what are the barriers to other competition, the financial aspects, the funding request, and the use of funds.

6. Provide supporting statements from credible sources that validate your plan.

7. Don’t include any blue sky, or half baked statements.

8. Don’t use industry jargon, or say things in a manner to impress them, but ends up being something that makes they tune out.

9. Don’t deliver a message that is filled with issues, problems they need to solve, or contains errors.

10. Keep their attention focused on you and your concise message and not on a slide show.

11. If you use slides, charts, PowerPoint, etc. in your presentation. Effectively communicate the next point then present the slide that backs up your verbal statement. Don’t show a slide and read it to them.

12. Save the handouts until you are done with the presentation. This will keep their entire focus on listening to your presentation and you will not have them skipping ahead to another page.

13. Be clear and to the point and don’t oversell. They are looking for passion not sales hype.

14. After the venture capital presentation, be prepared with the detailed plan that will provide the information for how you will get from A to Z.

To Your Capital Success, Brad MacLiver Specialist in Targeted Acquisitions, Business Funding, and Growth Strategies.

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30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks and What You Can Learn From Them [+10 Free Templates]

A startup pitch deck is a brief presentation that provides investors with an overview of your new business and/or startup idea through presentation slides.

It usually focused on showcasing your product, sharing your business model, giving a look into your monetization strategy, and introducing your team.

A startup pitch deck is an essential fundraising tool for successful startups, whether you’re looking to raise funding from $50,000, $500,000 or $50 million. However, an investor pitch deck is just one of the best pitch decks and examples we will share below.

best startup pitch deck examples for potential investors

Despite the brevity of the successful startup pitch decks, which usually run for 10 slides or less, creating a pitch deck that wins investment is not an easy task.

What Does a Successful Startup Pitch Deck Cover?

A great pitch deck covers key points through visuals and bullet points and usually has a competition slide, a problem slide, and a solution slide to explain your offering and the market.

Additionally, a business model slide and a team slide (if your business is developed enough to present these) can turn a good deck into a great startup pitch deck.

Don’t forget, a simple pitch deck is a good pitch deck—and you’re about to learn how to nail it.

best startup pitch decks, seed decks and more for potential investors and business presentations for your startup

In This Legendary Startup Pitch Deck Article You Will Find:

Looking for a winning pitch deck template ASAP to present in front of potential investors?   Try our free template created in collaboration with HighSpark – an agency that has helped more than 500 startups raise cumulatively over $80 million in funding. 

piktochart highspark, investment pitch template

Here is the list of 30 of the best startup pitch deck examples that we will go through:

These startup pitch deck examples were created by top brands in tech. At the time, they were all small startups (seed stage companies) looking to raise money or venture capital through potential investors and grow their businesses. Sound familiar?!

We hope that their business idea and investor pitch decks will inspire you (and of course, potential investors).

If you are more of a visual learner than a reader type, you can watch a video summary of the first 10 startup pitch deck examples mentioned in this blog post:

Alternatively, if you’re ready to create your own pitch deck, we’ve added some startup pitch deck examples and pitch deck templates to the bottom of this article. You can go straight to them by clicking here . Or get access to Piktochart’s online design tool by signing up for a free account and choosing a presentation template to get started easily.

From behemoths like Facebook and YouTube to superstars like Buffer, together these startups have raised millions of dollars and are now worth billions!

It’s time to see how they did it.

30 Legendary Startup Pitch Deck Examples

1. facebook pitch deck.

Here’s a fun fact: Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist, and entrepreneur, was the first outside investor in Facebook back in 2004. That’s when Mark Zuckerberg first set out to turn his dorm room project into a lasting business. Zuckerberg received $500,000 from Peter Thiel.

facebook pitch deck

Facebook’s pitch deck was more of a media kit  of sorts. It was containing the company’s value proposition, key metrics, and marketing services that were used to sell ads to potential clients.

Favorite takeaway : The focus of the startup pitch deck was based on solid numbers such as user engagement, traffic, and growth trajectory.

2. Airbnb pitch deck

Airbnb is a platform that allows people to list, find, and rent lodging.

This company is one of the greatest startup success stories of our time.

The now famous Airbnb pitch deck has become one of the best pitch decks for inspiring entrepreneurs around the world.

airbnb's pitch deck, one of the best pitch deck examples

Favorite takeaway: The intro. It’s all about hooking your audience. You need to describe your business using as few words as possible. Imagine telling a 5-year-old what your business is about. If you can’t do that, it’s time to put some time into nailing it down.

3. Buffer pitch deck

Buffer is a social media scheduling platform that helps you schedule content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

buffer pitch deck example, one of the best startup pitch decks

The almighty startup pitch deck that helped Buffer to raise half a million dollars gained popularity by becoming one of the first pitch decks openly shared online. The founder decided to put it up to help other startups to raise funds.

Favorite takeaway: Similar to Facebook, the deck was based on solid numbers from Buffer’s users (e.g., 800 users, $150,000 annual revenue run rate, etc.)

4. Square pitch deck

Square is a company that allows merchants to accept mobile credit card payments via a dongle.

Favorite takeaway : Social proof! It doesn’t hurt to promote the management team if they’ve been with Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, PayPal, and more. It shows that your management team’s experience is an armor to the company. This detailed startup pitch deck outlines Square’s business model and a simple financial model that portrays its annual revenue and five-year growth rate.

5. LinkedIn pitch deck

Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is the top business-oriented social networking platform.

The company’s pitch talks a great deal about company values, the power of networking, and how it’s different from other social networks out there.

Favorite takeaway : The deck also provides an extensive analogy to showcase to investors what LinkedIn is. For example, it talks about “Web 1.0” vs. “Web 2.0”: Alta Vista was “Search 1.0”, and Google was “Search 2.0”. The deck talks about how LinkedIn is “Networking for Businesses 2.0”.

6. Mint pitch deck

Mint is a personal financial services tool that helps people track their spending and find ways to save money.

mint pitch deck, example of best pitch deck for inspiration

This startup pitch deck example was used in a competition and was never used for raising money, but it’s still a powerful deck that startups can learn from.

Favorite takeaway : This simple deck provides a clear value proposition to customers and investors. The creators of this deck also understood that one of the key concerns of an investor is the exit mechanism of his or her investments. I love how the deck highlights a number of exit strategy options.

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7. MapMe pitch deck

MapMe allows users to create universally accessible (i.e., on smartphones, tablets, and computers) maps of anywhere they want with no coding required.

This startup deck was used to raise $1 million in seed funding.

mapme pitch deck example for startups

Social proof almost always works. The deck showed that the startup had over 20,000 unique visitors, 18,000 monthly alerts, and12 minutes average sessions on the site.

Favorite takeaway : The pitch deck has fewer than 13 slides but provides investors with knowledge of the traction the site got going viral on social media and its go-to-market strategy.

8. LaunchRock pitch deck

LaunchRock allows users to create landing pages and quickly get their startups known through social media, even before the launch of their full site.

launchrock pitch deck example from piktochart

Favorite takeaway : As a more creatively designed pitch deck example, this pitch deck had only 15 slides but showed how the product works and the different ways it can be used. They also utilize an analogy similar to what LinkedIn had in their decks.

9. Mixpanel pitch deck

Mixpanel is an advanced analytics platform for mobile and the web. They not only measure page views but also analyze the actions people take. This is the series-B startup pitch deck for Mixpanel that helped them raise over $65 million.

Favorite takeaway : This pitch deck example started off with a problem: people guessing their analytics. It followed up by providing its solution to that problem and, ultimately, its competitive advantage. One of the best pitch decks, this is a great example of showing the problem and solution.

10. Moz pitch deck

Moz started out as an SEO company but has pivoted to support marketers across all inbound marketing strategies.

This is the series-B startup pitch deck for Moz which they used to raise over $18 million. If you’re an established startup, this is a great example of an investor pitch deck, and you can follow this guide. The pitch deck is packed with information about the company since it was founded five years prior to this pitch.

moz pitch deck example

Favorite takeaway : Because the company had already been in operation for five years, they were able to present an accurate estimated revenue, revenue run rate, average customer lifetime value, cost of paid acquisition, etc.

11. Buzzfeed pitch deck

We all have a love-and-hate relationship with Buzzfeed, don’t we? I’m sure you’ve stumbled on their pages or watched their videos before. As of today, BuzzFeed has managed to raise over $240 million in investor capital (another great example of an investor pitch deck).

buzzfeed best pitch deck for potential investors

Favorite takeaway : SOCIAL PROOF! It doesn’t hurt to start a pitch deck with big numbers the company has, like the millions of users visiting the website on a monthly basis and quotations from large organizations such as CNN.

12. YouTube pitch deck

YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.6 billion. Like Facebook, this company doesn’t require any introduction. Unfortunately, this is not the original deck. This is YouTube’s pitch deck to Sequoia Capital (one of the most established VC investors who’s often regarded as one of the industry’s best), which was released through a legal proceeding.

Favorite takeaway : The company wanted to be the primary outlet for video content, and it succeeded in doing just that. It goes to show that if you know what your product can do, are able to show its potential, and build on the momentum gained through early investments to create that, then you can achieve its potential. If you’re aiming to build an investor pitch deck to land a VC like Sequoia Capital, this presentation slide deck is a great template for you!

13. Manpacks pitch deck

Manpacks is a platform that delivers men’s essentials such as underwear, razors, grooming, and other products.

The company raised $500,000 with this pitch deck.

Favorite takeaway : This deck stands out! They clearly understand who they are, and they stayed that way throughout the entire presentation. The startup pitch deck is filled with a fun tone that helps explain the product well.

14. Foursquare pitch deck

Foursquare is a mobile platform that helps you find the best places to go in your area.

Favorite takeaway : This pitch deck does a great job using screenshots of social proof that the app already has from its users sharing tweets of them being the ‘mayor’ of a particular area.

15. Flowtab pitch deck

Flowtab was an app that allowed people to order drinks quickly at a crowded bar. Despite shutting down, the founders still made an effort to help other startups.

Favorite takeaway : Simplicity. This pitch deck example does well explaining critical information like the problem, the solution, their business model, and traction. You can’t really go wrong with this pitch deck.

16. Dwolla pitch deck

Dwolla is a payment solution that allows users to send, receive, and request funds from other users. This 18-slide startup pitch deck landed the company $16.5 million.

Favorite takeaway : Most startups are founded because of a problem they faced, but not many people tell their story well through their pitch decks. In their slide deck, Dwolla shared a great story of how the founder paid $50,000 a year in credit card fees and then created a solution for never doing it again.

17. ZenPayRoll  (Now Gusto) pitch deck

Gusto (previously ZenPayroll) is a cloud-based solution tool for small businesses to pay employees.

The company raised $6 million with this pitch deck.

Favorite takeaway : This isn’t just a startup pitch deck. It is a template that you can use and replicate easily by filling in the blanks.

18. Bliss pitch deck

Bliss provides metrics for coders and allows them to collaborate easily.

The company raised over $400,000 using Angel List.

Favorite takeaway : The pitch deck was well composed with a clear understanding of the product and the investors they were pitching to. This is one of the best pitch decks to use if you know your target market.

19. Adpushup pitch deck

Adpushup allows companies to maximize ad revenues through advanced A/B testing. They raised more than $632,000 in investments.

Favorite takeaway : This slide deck proves that going back to the basics works. This pitch deck has basic principles like a great introduction, an outline of problems, potential solutions, market opportunities, products, case studies, milestones, traction, and a future plan.

20. Wealthsimple pitch deck

Wealthsimple is Canada’s first online investment manager. They raised more than $2 million in seed funding with this slide deck.

Favorite takeaway : The startup pitch deck is sweet and short but effective. Our favorite part is the transformation of the industry, which is laid out in a table format.

21. AppVirality pitch deck

AppVirality allows app developers to grow their platforms using growth method techniques proven by other startups.

appvirality best pitch deck for potential investors

Favorite takeaway : Our favorite takeaway is how the flow of the pitch deck goes through the problem, the proven solution, and how it works within their app to their target market in multiple slides.

22. Shape Integrated Software pitch deck

Shape Integrated Software is budget management software that helps PPC analysts manage various budgets across different channels.

shape integrated software pitch deck

Favorite takeaway : When you have the traction to back your startup, use it. Shape clearly took advantage of it and presented it clearly in their pitch deck.

23. Podozi pitch deck

Podozi is an online e-commerce platform based in Nigeria.

podozi pitch deck startup example

Favorite takeaway : Most startup pitch decks work well when they’re short and sweet, in multiple slides, like Podozi’s. The best takeaway is the working partnership with large brands that this platform already has.

24. Fittr pitch deck

Fittr is a platform that designs custom workouts tailored to equipment, access, time management, and goals.

Favorite takeaway : As a user of this platform, we love the investment goals and the purpose of what the company is planning to use it for.

25. Swipes pitch deck

Swipes is a task manager app to help its users increase their productivity.

Favorite takeaway : One of their pages used social proof of quotations from The Next Web and Lifehacker. You can’t go wrong with that.

26. Canvas pitch deck

Canvas replaces paper-based processes with affordable and easy-to-use mobile apps and forms. They raised $9 million with these decks.

canvas best pitch deck for potential investors

Favorite takeaway :  Instead of saying what they do, the second slide in their pitch deck shows how their startup helps businesses. No words are needed.

27. Ooomf  (now Crew) pitch deck

Crew (formerly Ooomf & then PickCrew) is a freelancer marketplace that connects mobile and web developers with projects or work. This deck was used to raise over $2 million dollars.

Favorite takeaway : Well-designed with an easy-to-understand flow.

28. Cubeit pitch deck

Cubeit is a mobile application that allows users to aggregate content from anywhere. Cubeit used this 13-slide deck to raise seed funding before they even had a finished product.

Favorite takeaway : A strong introduction will get investors to pay attention. Their deck starts out with a clear message, which was that “owning more devices doesn’t make your life easier”. I can’t help but pay attention to how this company will help.

29.  Castle pitch deck

Castle was a startup that let rental owners put their properties on autopilot. This was the deck Castle used to raise $270,000 for their startup.

Favorite takeaway : Great design and easy to digest.

30.  Sequoia Capital pitch deck

Sequoia Capital is one of the leading investment firms in Silicon Valley. This deck is a template they recommend following.

sequoia capital best pitch deck for potential investors

Favorite takeaway : It’s like having the keys to the kingdom. You don’t have to guess what this investment giant is looking for. They tell you straight away.

Summary of Pitch Deck Template Takeaways

To sum up, a strong startup pitch deck not only serves to reinforce your brand to the target audience or investors, but shows your business plan and unique offering through the slides presented; using a problem slide, a solution slide, and a traction slide including concise bullet points. 

The best startup pitch deck also shows off your company’s personality, through the inclusion of a team slide or similar in the next few slides, to be presented after your business plan is clearly outlined.

Look at the takeaways from these startup pitch decks as a guide to help you in your quest to raise funds and venture capital for your own startup for an investment round.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our pitch deck examples:

After going through so many startup pitch deck examples, we recommend that to make your pitch presentation stand out you should:

If you’re looking for additional information, DocSend shared lessons  they got learning from 200 startups who raised $360 million from their first pitch deck.

10 Pitch Deck Templates for You to Try

The following pitch decks are free templates available in Piktochart that you can use. This makes it easy to work on your slides without having to worry about design. We took care of that for you. If you don’t have an account yet, just sign up for a free Piktochart account here and then click on one of the templates below. To learn how the online pitch deck creator works, watch this on-demand demo .

1. Investment Pitch Deck Template With HighSpark

investment pitch deck, template highspark

2. Finance Pitch Deck Template

financial pitch deck template Piktochart

3. Business Pitch Deck Template

business pitch deck

4. Startup Pitch Deck Examples

startup pitch deck template

5. Tech Pitch Deck Examples

tech pitch deck template

6. Business Keynote Template 

business keynote template

7. Product Pitch Deck Template

product pitch template

8. Product Pitch Deck Template

product deck template

9. App Product Presentation Template

product presentation example

10. Product Website Pitch Deck Template

product presentation template piktochart

Ready to create your own pitch deck?

Sign up for a free Piktochart account and edit a template right away.

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How to Get VC Funding, From Start to Finish

justin biel

Venture capital is one of entrepreneurs’ most sought-after financing methods . The process of attaining VC is often long and complex, so it’s wise to have a solid understanding of it before jumping in.

We’ve done the legwork for you and developed an e-book called “How to Get VC Funding” that details the process from start to finish, with first-timers in mind. This free resource is a must-read for any businessperson looking to get VC funding. We’ll highlight the most critical takeaways from the e-book below.

📚 For a full rundown, download the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

1. Get an understanding of early-stage venture capital.

Entrepreneur offers the following definition for VC :

“Funds flowing into a company, generally during pre-IPO process, in the form of an investment rather than a loan. Controlled by an individual or small group known as venture capitalists (VCs), these investments require a high rate of return and are secured by a substantial ownership position in the business.”

In the simplest terms, venture capital firms invest in companies in exchange for equity in the business, with hopes of seeing a positive return on their investment. Institutional and private investors are the main source of VC money. Typically, these VC investments are long-term partnerships between companies and venture capital firms.

📚 Learn more about the basics of VC on pages 2-7 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

2. Determine if your company is ready to pursue VC financing.

The right moment to approach VCs for investment is different for each company. It’s possible to attract a VC partner with only an idea, but the majority of deals are closed after a business has three concrete items:

VC is geared toward companies that are designed to grow quickly and have high startup costs. For the best chance of scoring venture capital funding, you need a disruptive idea — ideally in an industry where VCs tend to invest heavily, like technology — and an impressive management team.

📚 For more on how to tell whether your company is ready for VC, see pages 8-13 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

3. Build a pitch deck and presentation.

If you’re hoping to raise money from a VC, a solid pitch deck will be your calling card and the starting point of most introductory meetings.

A pitch deck is a presentation that provides an overview of your business. The deck can share insights about your product or service, business model, market opportunity, company funding needs and your management team.

A pitch deck should be short, concise and cover the following elements:

📚 For more on crafting your pitch deck and presentation, see pages 14-18 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

4. Find the right VC to fund your business.

All venture capital firms have a specific focus regarding the types of companies they fund: They might invest mainly in software, consumer products, fintech, green technologies, AI or any other category of business. And each firm focuses on different stages of investment (seed, early-stage, Series A, Series B, Series C and so forth). Thus, the first step in reaching out to VCs is research.

Once you’ve got a target list of VCs to approach, it’s time to set up meetings. You have two opportunities to make connections: an intro from someone in your network or a cold email to a VC partner.

📚 Learn more about finding the right VC on pages 19-23 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

5. Master the VC term sheet.

A term sheet as “a non-binding listing of preliminary terms for venture capital financing,” per the dictionary. CB Insights refers to it as “the first real piece of paper a founder sees from a VC when they decide that they’re interested in investing.”

There are three main sections of a terms sheet:

📚 Learn how to negotiate a term sheet on pages 24-30 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

6. Complete due diligence, and close the deal.

As a founder, you can increase your chances of closing a deal with VCs by preparing well for due diligence, or the process by which investors “ gather necessary information on the actual or potential risks involved in an investment.” You can also get familiar with the reasons that deals often go awry and take proactive steps to encourage a close.

The final stage of a VC funding deal is the time to find alignment across your internal teams, the VC firm and your legal advisors. During this time, founders should quickly follow through on commitments to investors and provide accurate information about their companies.

📚 Read more about VC-founder relationships on pages 31-34 of the “How to Get VC Funding” e-book .

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The Ultimate Guide to Getting VC Funding

Written by Dave Lavinsky

how to attract investment banks and vc firms

This guide to VC Funding is the result of 20+ years of Growthink helping entrepreneurs and businesses raise venture capital or VC funding. Over this time, we have helped pitch thousands of venture capitalists, hosted VC gatherings, and even had many VCs as clients.

Below you’ll learn everything you need to know about VC Funding and how to get it for your company.

Here’s an outline of this VC funding guide:

The Value that Venture Capitalists Offer

How venture capital firms make money, types of companies that venture capital firms finance, how venture capitalists assess companies, the presentation materials you need to raise vc funding, factors to consider when seeking a venture capital firm, how to create your list of potential venture capital firms, identifying the right partner at a venture capital firm, the three ways to contact venture capitalists, meeting with venture capitalists, vc funding faqs,  what is venture capital.

Venture capital, also abbreviated as “VC”, is a subset of private equity and refers to institutional investments in early-stage, high-potential growth companies (like yours).

Private equity refers to investing in shares in privately-held companies, rather than publicly-traded stocks.

And in this context, institutional means that venture capitalists are NOT investing their own money as angel investors do. Instead, they are investing money on behalf of institutions, such as pension funds and university endowments (as well as the collective funds of some very wealthy individuals).

A venture capital firm is an investment company that regularly makes venture capital investments.

The size of the venture capital fund is the specific amount of money the venture capital firm has raised (from pension funds, etc.).  Successful VC firms regularly raise new venture capital funds to invest in promising new companies.

A venture capitalist is an individual who works at a venture capital firm, who makes such investments.

Venture capitalists often provide value beyond the actual dollars they invest in your company. Venture capitalists often provide additional value via:

Many VC firms are made up of entrepreneurs who have launched and grown their own successful businesses. As such, they are often able to provide significant strategic guidance and connections that can help your business grow.

To recap, a VC firm is a financial institution that focuses on providing capital, in the form of equity, to companies that offer them the prospects of significant growth.

The partners and associates at venture capital firms are known as venture capitalists. The term “VC” or “VCs” applies to both venture capital firms and venture capitalists.

Unlike an angel investor, VCs are professional institutions that invest other people’s money. VC firms raise capital for their own funds from sources that primarily include pension funds, financial and insurance companies, endowments and foundations, individuals and families, and corporations.

The VCs are then charged with finding high-growth companies, making investments in them at favorable terms, guiding and nurturing them, and enacting a liquidity event (e.g., selling the company or having it complete an initial public offering).

Because they are utilizing other people’s money, and are judged and compensated by the performance of their investments, venture capitalists are extremely rigorous in their investment decision-making process.

VCs tend to invest in companies with a significant market potential of $50 million, $100 million, or more. This is because even with all their relevant experience, the average venture capital firm will lose money on half the companies they invest in and only break even on a third.

Where VCs make their money is on the approximately 20% of companies they invest in that see explosive growth and provide remarkable returns of 10 times to 100 times or more on their investment.

Specifically, it is important to note that relatively few venture capital investments produce large gains. In fact, venture capital industry insiders sometimes refer to the 2:6:2 rule. This rule is that an average portfolio of ten investments will include two losses (e.g., companies go bankrupt), six moderately performing companies (may break even on the investment or lose a little), and two very successful returns.

In fact, an analysis by Bygrave and Timmons of venture capital funding between 1969 and 1985  found that just 6.8% of investments returned ten times or more of the invested capital. Conversely, over 60% of investments lost money or failed to exceed the amount of money earned if the capital had been put in an interest-bearing bank account.

The result of this analysis is that typically a venture capitalist will want to see the ability to get 10X their money back or more from investing in your company. As such, if you are seeking $1 million from VCs, you must show them a realistic scenario where you can turn that $1 million into $10 million.

Most venture capital firms invest between $1 million and $25 million in the companies they fund. The amount they provide often reflects the size of their funds. For example, a VC with a billion-dollar fund cannot manage 1,000 one-million-dollar investments and thus tends to offer more capital to each company it funds.

Virtually all VC firms have specific criteria that guide them such as the amount of financing they give to a company, the stage at which they like to invest, the sectors they are interested in, and the geographic area in which they will invest.

Also, venture capital firms have very strict criteria regarding scale, speed, and liquidity potential. They want to fund companies that can grow very quickly, achieve significant revenues, and be sold or go public for many times the company’s current valuation. Typically, venture capital firms like to exit an investment within 5 to 7 years.

As a result, VCs tend to fund technology companies that typically have scale, speed, and exit potential.  Remember, they are looking for companies with the potential to turn every $1 million they invest into $10 million.

As mentioned, venture capitalists primarily look for companies that can grow really fast with an infusion of capital.

The other key thing that VCs look for is a quality management team. In fact, many VCs say they rather bet on the jockey (i.e., the management team) than the horse (i.e., the company’s products and/or services).

With regards to the management team, VCs look for the following:

In  order to raise venture capital, you need to develop the following presentation materials:

The Teaser Email

“Teaser” emails are emails that “tease” the VC into wanting to learn more about your company.

The teaser email typically includes 5 to 6 bullets about the venture and is very short (200 words or less).  The goal of the email is simply to create a general interest in your venture so the VC commits time and energy to learn more about it (by requesting additional documents or setting up a meeting).

Below are two teaser emails (edited for confidentiality purposes) that I have used to generate tons of VC meetings:

I am contacting you because I am confident that our company will interest you.

Key facts about our company include:

We expect to close this round of venture capital financing in the amount of $5 million in the next 90 days. Please contact me directly at [555-555-5555] if you would like to learn more about our company and/or to schedule a meeting.

Per my phone message today, I am contacting you because I believe you would be interested in learning more about my company, Rockin’ the News.

Key facts about Rockin’ the News include:

We expect to close this round of financing within the next 90 days. Please contact me directly at (555) 555-5555 to learn more about us and/or to schedule a meeting.

Both of these teaser emails achieve their goals, which were to:

The Business Plan

A lot of entrepreneurs like to think that business plans are no longer totally necessary – that they’re “old school.”

Because we at Growthink have been helping entrepreneurs raise venture capital since the 1990s, we remember the days when some startup companies got funded solely based on your business plan alone. We realize that those times are gone and that venture investors are much, much more rigorous these days.

It’s also true that your business plan usually is NOT the first communication you have with an investor. You shouldn’t just send your business plan around to venture capitalists left and right.  Instead, at the beginning of your dialogue with a VC, you’re much better off sending a PowerPoint or an Executive Summary rather than the whole business plan, unless the investor specifically requests to see your business plan.

To help you complete your plan, here is our business plan template , and tips for writing a business plan for venture capitalists . 

The Investor Slide Presentation or Pitch Deck

The final piece of the presentation materials you need to raise venture capital is your slide presentation or Pitch Deck.

A well-crafted pitch deck will contain the highlights of your business and financial plans and should echo the clarity that is put forth in your Executive Summary.

Learn more about how to create an effective pitch deck , complete with over 100 examples of pitch decks that raised funding.

Once you prepare your marketing and presentation materials, the next part of the venture capital process is to find the right firm. While this may seem simple, it isn’t. There are thousands of venture capital firms in the United States alone, and going after the wrong ones is one of the most common reasons why companies fail to raise the capital they need.

When seeking a venture capital firm, there are seven key variables to consider:

Partners tend to invest in what they know, so finding a VC partner that has past work experience in your industry is very helpful. This relevant experience allows them to more fully understand your venture’s value proposition and gives them confidence that they can add value, thus encouraging them to invest.

Finding the right venture capital firm is absolutely critical to companies seeking venture capital. Success yields you both the capital your company requires and significant assistance in growing your venture. Conversely, failing to find the right firm often results in raising no capital at all and being unable to grow your company.

If you talk to an experienced direct marketer, they will tell you that “The list is everything.” If you don’t have the right list, you are wasting your marketing dollars. The right list is ten times as important as whatever you put in the mailing envelope, or whatever offer you include in your outbound telemarketing script.

The same holds true for your list of prospective venture capital firms. That is if you are going after the wrong VCs, no matter how good your company is, you probably won’t get funding.

There are three steps to creating a killer VC list.

The other factors presented in the last section, mainly partners, portfolio, assets, and fit, become more important after you create your initial list.

Virtually all VCs have websites that make this information readily available. Find investors that are a fit with your company for all three of these areas. For instance, if you are a pre-revenue software company based in Chicago, your best bet is to find a venture capital firm within 200 miles of Chicago that has experience funding pre-revenue software companies. Sites like Growthink Research allow you automatically filter your lists by these criteria.

What you will be left with is a list of VCs that are actively seeking companies like yours. Once you have this list, you need to identify the right partner at that firm to contact.

As mentioned above, venture capital firms are composed of individual partners (and associates that assist them). These partners make venture capital investment decisions and typically take a seat on each portfolio company’s Board.

Partners tend to invest in what they know, so finding a partner that has past work experience in your industry is very helpful. This relevant experience allows them to more fully understand your venture’s value proposition and gives them confidence that they can add value, thus encouraging them to invest.

Fortunately, most venture capital firm websites list their partners with great pride. Each partner typically has a bio that includes their educational credentials, business accomplishments, and VC investments that they have made. In identifying the right venture capital partner to contact for your company, try to find the partner that, from their background, will truly grasp the opportunity and can really add value.

Once you have identified the most appropriate venture capital partner, it is important to figure out how to contact them. As partners are often inundated with business plans, having a personal connection and/or introduction is often the difference between getting heard and not getting heard.

For instance, if you attended the same university or worked at a company that they did, call or email them and use this as the introduction. If not, it is important to network. Call people that may have been associated with the partner and ask for an introduction.

Getting the partner’s attention is the first key hurdle in raising venture capital. The second hurdle is getting them to believe in the opportunity, and finally, giving them the enthusiasm and information needed to convince other partners in their firm that investing in your venture represents a sound investment.

To recap, at this point, you should have a list of venture capital firms that seem to be a good fit for your company with regards to their geographic, sector, and stage foci. In addition, you have reviewed their websites to make sure they are actively investing, and you have identified the ideal partner at their firm to contact. Now, let’s talk about how to most effectively contact these partners.

There are three main ways to contact partners at VC firms:

I have listed these in descending order of preference, meaning that the most effective contact method is via an introduction. Cold contacting is the least effective, however, it still works time and time again.

1. Getting Introductions

Getting an introduction is the easiest way to get a VC’s attention. Because VCs are inundated with pitches from entrepreneurs, they simply lack the time to meet with everyone. An introduction gives you priority over other entrepreneurs who contact the VCs.

There are six key types of individuals who can introduce you to the VC you are seeking.

2. Meeting Venture Capitalists Online or Offline

As mentioned above, many VCs participate in online social networks through which you can get introductions to them.

You can also create relationships yourself with VCs through the online medium.

For example, you can find out if the venture capitalists has a blog (many do). If so, read their blog to learn more about them and what excites them. It is also smart to post comments on their blog. Oftentimes they’ll reply to your comments, and before you know it, you have established a relationship with them.

You might also see if the VC is active on Twitter (many are).  If so, follow them on Twitter and see what they’re posting about.  See if there are opportunities to start a dialogue.

3. Contacting Venture Capitalists Cold

The final way to contact venture capitalists is “cold” – that is, without an introduction and without meeting them at an event or conference or online.

While this method is the most challenging, since you need to get through the VC’s filters, it can be highly effective.

The best strategy for contacting VCs “cold” is to email them. Note that calling them is much less effective as you will nearly always get their voice message and rarely if ever will you receive a callback.

With regards to emailing the venture capitalist, usually, the email address of each partner is listed on the VC’s website. If not, call the VC firm to find out the partner’s email address.

If your email and initial information exchange goes well, the next step will be to meet with the VC, during which you will present your pitch deck.

Upon success with these meetings, you will move into the negotiations and due diligence phases.

VC presentations are similar to presentations to other parties such as potential corporate partners. Your goal is to succinctly present the key points about your venture, get the party excited, and expertly answer any questions they have.

Like other business presentations, it is critical to show up on time and dress appropriately (khakis and a button-down shirt often suffice, but don’t be afraid to call the receptionist of the VC firm and ask). Likewise, everyone you encounter during your visit is important, from the receptionist you meet when you walk in, to the analyst you wash hands next to in the restroom.

Treating anyone with a lack of respect could come back to haunt you. You need to be professional in every aspect of your presentation if you are going to be considered as a candidate for funding.

Below please find 6 articles that answer key VC funding questions.

Common Venture Capital Terms

How to give a convincing venture capital presentation, how to develop a vc elevator pitch, 3 questions venture capitalists will ask you, common vc funding terms and negotiating issues, pre-money vs. post-money valuations.

The following are some of the commonly used terms in the world of venture capital and their meanings:

Elevator Pitch:

Perhaps the most commonly used cliché ever when it comes to acquiring funding for a venture, it is still the most sensible. Picture yourself in an elevator with a potential investor. If you can explain your business concept to the potential investor before the investor gets to their floor, and capture their interest, you have succeeded. Although this scenario probably never occurred in real life (alright maybe once), it is still an excellent idea to imagine yourself in the scenario.

Business Plan:

Nearly every venture capital firm requires a business plan. A business plan starts with an executive summary, which gives a brief synopsis of the business concept and history, industry, market, competition, management, marketing plan, as well as financial projections (see here for the business plan components you must include). The rest of the plan explains the contents in the executive summary in much more detail. The executive summary is the key to getting an investor’s attention.

Slide Presentation/Pitch Deck:

Aside from business plans, venture capital firms require the management team to present a slide presentation in which they show their business concept and summary financial projections. Unlike business plans, which are usually mailed or e-mailed, slide presentations have Question and Answer sessions in which potential investors will prod the management team with questions and ascertain whether the business is of interest to them.

Due Diligence:

VCs or any analytical investors for that matter carry out due diligence before investing in a business. In due diligence, analysts conduct in-depth research, analysis, and forecasts of a business concept and revenues in order to determine the viability and value of a business.

Return on Investment (ROI), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Hurdle Rate, Net Present Value (NPV):

In conceptual terms, ROI and IRR is where the Cash Flows from a venture break even with the original cost of investment after factoring in the Opportunity Cost of Investment or “interest” that the investor could have gotten from another investment of similar risk. Formulaically, ROI and IRR are the rates of return “r” at which the NPV equals zero according to the basic valuation formula:

NPV= Cash Flows/ (1+r)^t minus Capital Investment, where t=time

The Hurdle Rate is the minimum ROI or IRR a VC or another investor will accept; otherwise, they will refuse to fund a venture.

Although valuation gets more complex than this in reality, the essence of valuation follows these basic principles.

Investors and venture capitalists will often talk about multiples when discussing a prospective venture. Although valuation and complex analysis will take place prior to the funding of a venture, multiples are a language everyone speaks and are used as a way to gut-check forecasts and valuations of financial projections.

For instance, the most commonly used multiple is usually the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) multiple, which is [Enterprise Value / EBITDA]. Companies in certain industries will usually have EBITDA multiples within a certain range and venture capitalists can use these to assess whether to invest in a certain venture.

Seed Stage:

The seed stage is usually the earliest stage of the company. In the seed stage, a business is forming a management team, developing prototypes of products, or beta testing them in the case of services. Seed-stage VC financing is typically provided by angel investors or friends and family.

Early Stage (Series A&B):

After the seed stage comes the early stage of a company. With early-stage startups, a prototype or concept has been tested and proven and a management team has been formed. However, financing will still be needed for the next stage in order to start production and get the business to a self-sustaining level where retained earnings can fund future projects. Series A refers to the first investment of institutional capital in a company.

Later Stage (Series C, D, etc.):

At this stage, a company is self-sustaining but needs more financing to expand more rapidly in order to increase production or expand to new markets. At this stage, companies have shown that their products or services have traction in the market and that they require financing to “run” with their concept.

Mezzanine Financing:

This is the financing stage right before the IPO. In this stage, the company is in very good shape and is looking for financing before investors cash out during the IPO. The risks involved become less risky as the stages progress and mezzanine financing is much less risky than seed stage, early stage, and later-stage financing.

Initial Public Offering (IPO):

An IPO is the first offering of a company’s shares to the public. It is used by pre-IPO stage investors to cash in on their investment as well as raise money for the company.

Upside is the increase in the value of an investment. It may be realized upon a harvest or exit.

Harvest or Exit:

Venture Capitalists harvest their investments by cashing out during an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or realizing returns on some of their equity investment through a partial or complete sale of the company to an acquirer. An exit is a complete harvest of an investment. Sometimes venture capitalists exit through a stock repurchase by the company in which the remaining equity holders buy the stock of the owners cashing out.

Private Equity:

Private Equity is ownership in companies that are not publicly traded on an exchange. Since private equity is not traded at volumes anywhere near volumes of publicly held companies, it is highly illiquid and requires a higher rate of return. However, the upside of private equity is that it does not need to follow Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations at the level publicly held companies do, thereby reducing compliance costs. Venture Capital is a type of Private Equity and Private Equity is a type of Equity.

Institutional Investors:

Institutional Investors are investors represented by groups tasked to invest and manage funds on the investors’ behalf. They include pension funds, investment funds, and mutual funds looking to earn a rate of return on their funds that would otherwise lay idle. Many venture capital firms receive investment from institutional investors since venture capitalists are constantly looking for growth opportunities and investment ideas. 

Venture capital presentations are similar to presentations you would give to partners such as corporate or business partners. Your aim should be to highlight the key points about your venture and to expertly answer all of the questions asked, while getting the venture capitalist excited about your idea.

It is important to keep your presentation brief and to the point. The partner with whom you are likely to meet sits through several presentations a day, and will probably not be able to keep up with many of the details in the 20 to 30 minutes that he has allocated to you. Ideally, you will want to include the following points in your presentation:

Remember that you are trying to gain the VC’s interest in your company. Your initial meeting is not the time to try and close the deal. If the VC is interested, he will invite you back for further presentations with his business partners.

Overselling your company is a common mistake that entrepreneurs often make in their initial presentations. According to venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, many entrepreneurs claim to have a “proven management team” and “proven business model” with “patent-pending technology” while enjoying a “first-mover advantage.” He goes on to comment that those entrepreneurs using the above terms are essentially lying. “Oh god, it gives me a migraine just thinking about those things.”

Instead, the presenter should focus on the needs of the VC, which is primarily to make money. Show the VC how your firm will make him money, and back up your assertions with primary or secondary data.

Moreover, you should be ready to handle any of the venture capitalists’ questions regarding your business. Be extremely familiar with your financial model, and have a detailed road map for how you plan to grow a profitable business in the long run. Know why you need venture money, and what you plan to spend it on. Be passionate, and have the ability to display and communicate every last detail of your venture.

Everyone has heard stories about the “Elevator Pitch”-the incredible, brief window of opportunity where an entrepreneur has an investor’s undivided attention to describe their venture.

Implausible as it may be, the successful entrepreneur needs to be prepared to make a compelling case for their business in 60 to 120 seconds, whether it’s in an elevator, at a trade show, or in line at the coffee shop. In the unlikely event that you do find yourself in an elevator with a venture capitalist, you’re going to need to be prepared for it. Here are three keys to hitting a home run on the elevator pitch.

Armed with these tips, there is one final piece of advice – practice. You should practice your elevator pitch over and over so you are able to give it as clearly and concisely as possible.

Having finally made it to the presentation stage with a venture capitalist is a step in the right direction for you and your business. However, apart from evaluating your presentation, venture capitalists will ask you critical questions and evaluate how you formulate your answers. Three key questions a venture capitalist will ask you are:

1) Amount of Capital You Need

If you ask someone to give you money, oftentimes they will ask you what you need it for and why. The same thing will happen when you ask a venture capitalist to write you a multi-million dollar check.

The key to answering this question is to know your business inside-out. It is important that you have full mastery of your projected financial model and that you understand how every funded dollar will be used in your business. In other words, you need a deep conceptual understanding of your entire business idea.

It is common for VCs to ask you what you would do with less money. So if you wanted to raise $2 million, they may ask what you would do if you only received $1 million. This will reveal your top priorities and which milestones you would accomplish with less.

2) Your Valuation

To some, this question may be considered a trick question, as there is no right answer.

If a VC asks you during your presentation how much you believe your firm is worth, don’t reply with hundreds of millions of dollars. He will think that you’re unrealistic and not ready to handle the tough reality of start-ups.

If you understate the answer, he will think that something is wrong.

Even if you manage to give a fair estimate of your firm’s value, it may come back to haunt you later in the actual rounds of raising capital. Giving out a fair value allows the VC to discount it and essentially limits your bargaining power when it comes to the actual funding.

Thus, the best answer is to tell the venture capitalist that you will let the market decide on your firm’s value. If you assure them that your company is going to be a success, VCs will create the market on their own. Ideally, they will bid against each other and raise the value of your firm.

3) Your Exit Strategy

This question basically refers to how the VC will get its return on investment. Typically, an “exit” will happen if your firm gets acquired or has an IPO. Both of these are commonly listed exit strategies, although there are many more.

That being said, the best companies tend to have CEOs that are focused on building a successful business for the long run. Venture capitalists know this and look for those leaders willing to put in hard work for years to come.

To this point, Dick Costolo, founder of FeedBurner (acquired by Google) has a great quote – “Make a map of how you want to grow the business, not a map of what you want to happen to the company.”

His quote touches on the principle that successful companies will create their own exit opportunities as they grow. You should focus less on figuring out ways to exit your company, and instead build a great company with the ideas that you have.

When companies enter into negotiations with venture capital firms, there are several issues that need to be defined and agreed upon. This article describes the key issues.

Valuation . Valuation is the most prominent negotiating issue. Valuation is the price of the company in which the venture capitalist invests. Valuation determines what percent of the company the investor is buying for their capital.

Timing of the Investment . Many investors will commit a large amount of capital but will contribute that capital to the companies in installments. Often, these installments are only made when pre-designated milestones are met.

Vesting of Founders’ Stock . Like capital, investors often prefer that stock be given to company founders and key employees in installments. This is known as vesting.

Modifying the Management Team . Some investors insist that additional or substitute management employees be hired subsequent to their investment. This gives investors additional security that the company will execute on its business model. An important issue to negotiate with regards to modifying the management team is the amount of stock or options that will be issued to new management team members, as this will dilute the holdings of the founders.

Employment Agreements with Key Founders . Venture capitalists typically do not want companies to have employment agreements that limit the circumstances under which employees can be fired and/or set compensation and benefits levels that are too high. Other key employment agreement issues to be negotiated with venture capitalists include restrictions on post-employment activities and employee severance payments on termination.

Company Proprietary Rights . If the company has an important product with intellectual property (IP), investors will want to ensure that the company, and not a company employee, owns the IP. In addition, investors will want to ensure that new inventions are assigned to the company. To this end, investors may negotiate that all employees must sign Confidentiality and Inventions Assignment Agreements.

Exit Strategy . Investors are very focused on how they will “cash out” of their investment. In this regard, they will negotiate regarding registration rights (both demand and piggyback); rights to participate in any sale of stock by the founders (co-sale rights); and possibly a right to force the company to redeem their stock under certain conditions.

Lock-Up Rights . Venture capitalists may require a lock-up period at the term sheet stage. The “lock-up period” is typically a 30-60 day period where the investors have the exclusive right, but not the obligation, to make the investment. Investors typically conduct due diligence during this time without fear that other investors will pre-empt their opportunity to invest in the company.

Each of these issues is critical when raising money since the outcome can significantly impact the success of the venture and the wealth potential of the company founders and management team. Because venture capitalists are very knowledgeable regarding these issues and have great skill in negotiating on them, companies who are raising venture capital should seek advisors who also have this experience and expertise.

When a company decides that it must raise capital, a key question that must be answered is how much the company is worth. For example, if the business needs $500,000 to get started and/or grow, how much of the equity in that company should $500,000 command? Once this question is answered, the company will go out and try to find investors. When doing so, a key question often arises as to whether the valuation is “pre-money” or “post-money.”

“Before the money” or “pre-money” and “after the money” or “post-money” denote simple concepts. However, these simple concepts can even confuse even the most sophisticated analysts at times. If a company is valued at $1 million on Day 1, then 25 percent of the company is worth $250,000. However, there may be an ambiguity. Suppose the company and the investor agree on two terms: (1) a $1 million valuation, and (2) a $250,000 equity investment. In this case, the company may offer the investor 250 shares for $250,000. Immediately there can be a disagreement. The investor may have thought that equity in the company was worth $1,000 per percentage point, in which case $250,000 gets 250 out of 1,000 shares or a 25% equity position. Conversely, the company may have believed that the investor was contributing to the enterprise that was already worth $1 million. Under this rationale, the $250,000 would give the investor 250 shares out of 1,250 shares or a 20% equity position.

The critical issue was whether the agreed value of $1 million to be assigned to the company was prior to or after the investor’s contribution of cash (pre-money) or post-money.

In the above case, a pre-money valuation of $1 million and a post-money valuation of $1.25 million were equivalent. Because mixing up the terms could significantly increase the cost of capital raised, companies must be sure to understand the two metrics and agree with investors to the metric that raises the capital at the appropriate price.

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Table of Contents

How does venture capital funding work?

What are all the rounds that make up venture capital funding, what is an ipo, other ways to exit, the bottom line .

Venture Capital

A Guide to Venture Capital Funding Rounds: How Does Series A, B, C Funding Work?

May 11, 2022

Venture capital repeatedly plays a formative role in the life cycle of important startups, from inception to sale. Some investments pay off, yet the majority struggle.

presentation for venture capital funding

One of the catalysts for America’s postwar economic dominance has been the breakneck growth of innovative companies, many of them backed by the venture capital industry. 

VC firms have financed such trail-blazing businesses as Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, showcasing the industry’s ability to drive ingenuity and growth.

Along the way, they created hundreds of thousands of jobs, while building products and services that have improved the day-to-day lives of billions of people around the world.

The term venture capital refers to the investment firms that finance young, privately held companies with attractive growth prospects. Specialized partnerships, managed by venture capital firms, furnish the funding in exchange for partial ownership through equity or equity-like investments in the start-ups.

Prominent VC firms such as Silver Lake Partners, Warburg Pincus, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Andreessen Horowitz may also provide technological, financial, and management advice to the start-ups they invest in.

The VCs and their limited partners typically profit—a process known as “exiting” in the VC industry—from their investment in one of two ways: either when the start-up is acquired by a bigger, established company or by selling shares in an initial public offering, or IPO.

For young companies, the appeal of venture capital is that the cash doesn’t have to be repaid, at least in the conventional sense. Rather, companies pay for funding with equity, an ownership share in the company, so it gets paid off through the exit process—that is, if there is one.

On the other hand, each new round of funding—while providing needed operating funds for growth—dilutes the founders’ ownership position as well as that of earlier investors who put in money in previous financing rounds.

Traditionally, VC investors were typically absent from the very earliest phases of start-up development, preferring to jump in only once the business got off the ground. Today, VC firms may be involved in a company from day one. By the time a company goes public or is sold, between 25% and 50% percent of a start-up will be owned by venture capital investors.

The VC industry has different ways of evaluating these new enterprises—and their corresponding sources of funding—but some divide it into six stages, or “rounds.”  The amount raised during each round varies depending on the financing needs and the start-up’s overall valuation.

The classes of private stock issued in the various funding rounds are also not uniform. “Each round is priced independently, with different characteristics,” says Titan senior investment strategist John Bottcher.

Pre-seed and seed stage

In this stage the founders’ are honing their idea for a viable business, performing market research, soliciting advice from industry experts, and working out ownership details and other legal matters. They might put in their own money as well as what capital they can drum up from friends and family. VC firms use scouts to identify worthy start-ups that are still small enough to fly under the radar.

Usually, pre-seed and seed-stage funding total less than $5 million. Photosharing app Instagram, for example, raised $500,000 in its 2010 seed round. Seed funding round sizes have risen over time. In 2016, women’s healthcare platform Maven raised $2.3 million in seed funding. In late 2020, Upway, a French startup building a marketplace for refurbished e-bikes, raised a $5.7 million seed round.

At this stage, the enterprise is stepping up advertising and marketing, increasingly selling products or services and generating revenue, though not necessarily any profit. The workforce expands. At this stage, management needs to articulate long-term strategies to investors. Mainstream venture capital firms may examine the company’s books and prospects—and those who believe in the founders and vision for the company may invest in a big way.  

In 2019, the average series A size was $13 million—but the range can vary. Maven, for example, raised $10.8 million in series A funding in 2017, whereas HR platform Rippling raised $45 million in 2019. Web development platform Webflow raised a staggering $72 million in their 2019 Series A. 

At this point, having demonstrated sufficient demand and management skills, the start-up is expanding its production or services. This is when the business must prove its ability to scale.  

Mainstream venture capitalists are investing money at this point along with a coterie of so-called family offices that manage the assets of wealthy individuals and corporations with VC operations. In 2021, the average size of series B rounds was $45 million—a substantial increase over previous years.

The venture company has established a record of growth and market relevance. It may further expand product or service offerings, push into new markets and perhaps make opportunistic acquisitions. Late stage venture capitalists are often big investors in this round, and they may be joined by a range of more mainstream players, from hedge funds to banks to private equity firms.

In 2020, the median series C round size was $52 million, but some startups certainly exceed this. Brand aggregator Heyday, for example, raised a $555 million series C in 2021, after raising a $70 million series B six months prior. 

Series D and beyond

Not all companies raise a series D, but some may need additional funding to get them to a liquidity event. A start-up may want to invest in more growth to increase its valuation before going public. Crypto exchange Coinbase, for example, raised a $100 million series D to increase their customer service capacity and make a strategic acquisition.

On the flip side, they may have underperformed after their series C and need to take on additional funding at a lower valuation. This latter scenario is known as a ‘down round.’ Some companies raise series E, F, and beyond, as well.

is the process in which a privately held company sells shares to the public for the first time, listing them on a stock exchange .

The IPO is really the culmination of the venture capital process, allowing entrepreneurs to cash out some of their holdings, and the VC firms and their limited partners to exit their investments, harvesting profits or recording losses in the process.

It’s an arduous affair, requiring the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the stock exchange where the shares will trade, such as the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange.

The start-up generally solicits proposals from Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, or JPMorgan Chase, to manage or “underwrite” the offering. When one or, more likely, several banks are selected, the start-up’s management sets about drafting an S-1 registration statement which is filed with the SEC and made available to the public. The S-1 includes a preliminary prospectus, or “red herring,” that lays out the new company’s history, business model, current and past financial statements and risks.

In drafting the document, which is subject to multiple revisions, the company works with the underwriting team, as well as lawyers, accountants, and auditors to craft a document that will pass muster with the SEC—and help sell the stock offering to investors.

From there it’s on to marketing. The investment bankers canvas institutions and other wealthy investors, seeking to drum up demand for the start-up’s shares, often by introducing them to management in person during visits to various cities in so-called roadshows.

Once a date is selected for the IPO, the bankers establish a price range at which the company’s shares will be sold. They must balance the company’s eagerness for a high price with the demand they gauge from retail and institutional investors. A definitive price is announced the night before the shares begin trading.

Typically, the underwriters retain the right to buy an additional 15% of the company’s shares at the IPO price—a “greenshoe” in industry parlance. That incentivizes them to goose the new issue’s share price, although the stock may or may not shoot up on an opening day. Insiders are generally required to hold onto their public shares for a lock-up period of 90 to 180 days.

If the IPO process sounds complicated, that’s because it is. And that’s why plenty of companies opt to sell to corporate buyers instead. It too can be challenging, but there’s generally just one potential buyer to please instead of many.

Alternatively, the start-up may also opt for a direct listing, in which shares are simply listed on an exchange, after SEC approval. Without the support of underwriters and their orchestration of institutional demand, however, that may result in price weakness. Well-known startups such as Spotify and Slack have gone public via direct listings.

Another course of action is a dutch auction, in which prospective buyers submit bids for specific share amounts and the company fulfills the offers with the highest prices. 

Venture capital provides fuel for innovative companies, generating high-paying jobs as well as vast profits and serving as an engine for U.S. economic growth. Many of America’s most prominent companies got early support from VC firms.

At Titan, we are value investors: we aim to manage our portfolios with a steady focus on fundamentals and an eye on massive long-term growth potential. Investing with Titan is easy, transparent, and effective.

Get started today.


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Make Your VC Presentation Shine

You only get one chance to make a good impression. These tips will give you a better shot at success.

May 13, 2010

I'm often asked to help entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working in the medical device and health-care industry create presentations aimed at attracting millions of dollars in venture capital funding. Here's a quick primer on how to go about the presentation process, no matter what industry you're in:

Find someone to work with , to coach and to advise you on the presentation's look and feel, as well as to rehearse and critique your delivery style. This person should be outside your core team. She should act as an unbiased third party, someone who can ask the difficult and/or annoying questions. This is a great way to avoid a messy presentation that falls flat with potential investors.

Prepare and critique presentation slides and supporting materials. Then leave them for a day or two, and edit everything at least three times.

Prepare two presentations , one that is 10 minutes long and one that takes 15 minutes. Depending on the environment, the mood of the venture capitalist/investor or the contest rules, you should be ready for both.

Schedule at least five two-hour sessions for rehearsals to prepare for the 10-minute presentation and longer for the 15-minute session. I don't care how good your technology/idea/patents are; if you can't interest investors with your story, they will be less than impressed.

Follow up with at least three one-hour question-and-answer practice sessions. Be ready for their questions, think of the question you would dread the most, and then prepare to answer it and others like it.

Have someone outside your team attend one live presentation to critique it and provide feedback. After all that practice, it's a good idea for someone to tell you how you did during the "live" session.

Polish your elevator speech until it shines. You never know when you'll have the opportunity or the blind luck to impress the right investor with your idea.

Make a targeted list of specific venture capitalists and angels, including names of senior partners and junior partners as well as previous deals and current board-level positions held by each. Don't take a shotgun approach with VCs. They specialize by industry and even by verticals within an industry. Even within the health-care sector, most VCs have separate practices for biopharma, biotech and medical devices. Be sure you're going after the right person.

Here are some do's and don'ts: Do:

You only get one shot at a first impression, and this one can cost you dearly if you don't get it right.

Kathleen Malaspina is founder and president of Malaspina Healthcare Consulting Inc., a company that specializes in health-care marketing strategy. She advises CEOs and senior executives of medical device and health-care companies who are interested in growth.

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A Day in the VC Life

Latest trends.

The Bottom Line

Private Equity & VC

Venture Capital: What Is VC and How Does It Work?

What you need to know to unlock long-term growth potential

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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Investopedia / Michela Buttignol

What Is Venture Capital (VC)?

Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Venture capital generally comes from well-off investors, investment banks, and any other financial institutions.

However, it does not always take a monetary form; it can also be provided in the form of technical or managerial expertise. Venture capital is typically allocated to small companies with exceptional growth potential, or to companies that have grown quickly and appear poised to continue to expand.

Though it can be risky for investors who put up funds, the potential for above-average returns is an attractive payoff. For new companies or ventures that have a limited operating history (under two years), venture capital is increasingly becoming a popular—even essential—source for raising money, especially if they lack access to capital markets , bank loans, or other debt instruments. The main downside is that the investors usually get equity in the company, and, thus, a say in company decisions.

Key Takeaways

Venture Capital

Understanding venture capital.

In a venture capital deal, large ownership chunks of a company are created and sold to a few investors through independent limited partnerships that are established by venture capital firms. Sometimes these partnerships consist of a pool of several similar enterprises.

One important difference between venture capital and other private equity deals, however, is that venture capital tends to focus on emerging companies seeking substantial funds for the first time, while private equity tends to fund larger, more established companies that are seeking an equity infusion or a chance for company founders to transfer some of their ownership stakes.

History of Venture Capital

Venture capital is a subset of private equity (PE). While the roots of PE can be traced back to the 19th century, venture capital only developed as an industry after the Second World War.

Harvard Business School professor Georges Doriot is generally considered the "Father of Venture Capital." He started the American Research and Development Corporation (ARD) in 1946 and raised a $3.5 million fund to invest in companies that commercialized technologies developed during WWII. ARDC's first investment was in a company that had ambitions to use x-ray technology for cancer treatment. The $200,000 that Doriot invested turned into $1.8 million when the company went public in 1955.

Hit From the 2008 Financial Crisis

The 2008 financial crisis was a hit to the venture capital industry because institutional investors, who had become an important source of funds, tightened their purse strings. The emergence of unicorns, or startups that are valued at more than a billion dollars, has attracted a diverse set of players to the industry. Sovereign funds and notable private equity firms have joined the hordes of investors seeking return multiples in a low-interest-rate environment and participated in large ticket deals. Their entry has resulted in changes to the venture capital ecosystem.

Westward Expansion

Although it was mainly funded by banks located in the Northeast, venture capital became concentrated on the West Coast after the growth of the tech ecosystem. Fairchild Semiconductor, which was started by eight engineers (the "traitorous eight") from William Shockley's Semiconductor Laboratory, is generally considered the first technology company to receive VC funding. It was funded by east coast industrialist Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corp.

Arthur Rock, an investment banker at Hayden, Stone & Co. in New York City, helped facilitate that deal and subsequently started one of the first VC firms in Silicon Valley. Davis & Rock funded some of the most influential technology companies, including Intel and Apple. By 1992, 48% of all investment dollars went into West Coast companies; Northeast Coast industries accounted for just 20%.

According to Pitchbook and National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the situation has not changed much. During the fourth quarter of 2021, West Coast companies accounted for more than one-third of all deals (but more than 60% of deal value) while the Mid-Atlantic region saw just around one-fifth of all deals (and approximately 20% of all deal value).

In the fourth quarter of 2021, though, much of the action shifted to the Midwest: The value of deals rose 265% in Denver and 331% in Chicago. While the number of West Coast deals is waning, the San Francisco Bay Area still dominates the VC world with 630 deals worth $25 billion.

$330 billion

American VC-backed companies raised nearly $330 billion in 2021–roughly double the previous record of $166.6 billion set in 2020.

Help From Regulations

A series of regulatory innovations further helped popularize venture capital as a funding avenue.

These three developments catalyzed growth in venture capital and the 1980s turned into a boom period for venture capital, with funding levels reaching $4.9 billion in 1987. The dot-com boom also brought the industry into sharp focus as venture capitalists chased quick returns from highly-valued Internet companies. According to some estimates, funding levels during that period went as high as $30 billion. But the promised returns did not materialize as several publicly-listed Internet companies with high valuations crashed and burned their way to bankruptcy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Venture Capital

Venture capital provides funding to new businesses that do not have access to stock markets and do not have enough cash flow to take debts. This arrangement can be mutually beneficial: businesses get the capital they need to bootstrap their operations, and investors gain equity in promising companies.

There are also other benefits to a VC investment. In addition to investment capital, VCs often provide mentoring services to help new companies establish themselves, and provide networking services to help them find talent and advisors. A strong VC backing can be leveraged into further investments.

On the other hand, a business that accepts VC support can lose creative control control over its future direction. VC investors are likely to demand a large share of company equity, and they may start making demands of the company's management as well. Many VCs are only seeking to make a fast, high-return payoff and may pressure the company for a quick exit.

Pros & Cons of Venture Capital

Provides early-stage companies with the capital needed to bootstrap operations.

Unlike bank loans, companies do not need cash flow or assets to secure VC funding.

VCs can also provide mentoring and networking services to help a new company secure talent and growth.

VCs tend to demand a large share of company equity.

Companies that accept VC investments may find themselves losing creative control as their investors demand immediate returns.

VCs may also pressure a company to exit their investment rather than pursue long-term growth.

Types of Venture Capital

Venture capital can be broadly divided according to the growth stage of the company receiving the investment. Generally speaking, the younger a company is, the greater the risk for investors.

The stages of VC investment are:

Venture Capital vs. Angel Investors

For small businesses, or for up-and-coming businesses in emerging industries, venture capital is generally provided by high net worth individuals (HNWIs)—also often known as " angel investors "—and venture capital firms. The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) is an organization composed of hundreds of venture capital firms that offer to fund innovative enterprises.

Angel investors are typically a diverse group of individuals who have amassed their wealth through a variety of sources. However, they tend to be entrepreneurs themselves, or executives recently retired from the business empires they've built.

Self-made investors providing venture capital typically share several key characteristics. The majority look to invest in well-managed companies, that have a fully-developed business plan and are poised for substantial growth. These investors are also likely to offer to fund ventures that are involved in the same or similar industries or business sectors with which they are familiar. If they haven't worked in that field, they might have had academic training in it. Another common occurrence among angel investors is co-investing , in which one angel investor funds a venture alongside a trusted friend or associate, often another angel investor.

The Venture Capital Process

The first step for any business looking for venture capital is to submit a business plan, either to a venture capital firm or to an angel investor. If interested in the proposal, the firm or the investor must then perform due diligence , which includes a thorough investigation of the company's business model , products, management, and operating history, among other things.

Since venture capital tends to invest larger dollar amounts in fewer companies, this background research is very important. Many venture capital professionals have had prior investment experience, often as equity research analysts ; others have a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Venture capital professionals also tend to concentrate on a particular industry. A venture capitalist that specializes in healthcare, for example, may have had prior experience as a healthcare industry analyst.

Once due diligence has been completed, the firm or the investor will pledge an investment of capital in exchange for equity in the company. These funds may be provided all at once, but more typically the capital is provided in rounds. The firm or investor then takes an active role in the funded company, advising and monitoring its progress before releasing additional funds.

The investor exits the company after a period of time, typically four to six years after the initial investment, by initiating a merger , acquisition, or initial public offering (IPO).

Like most professionals in the financial industry, the venture capitalist tends to start his or her day with a copy of The Wall Street Journal , the Financial Times , and other respected business publications . Venture capitalists that specialize in an industry tend to also subscribe to the trade journals and papers that are specific to that industry. All of this information is often digested each day along with breakfast.

For the venture capital professional, most of the rest of the day is filled with meetings. These meetings have a wide variety of participants, including other partners and/or members of his or her venture capital firm, executives in an existing portfolio company, contacts within the field of specialty, and budding entrepreneurs seeking venture capital.

At an early morning meeting, for example, there may be a firm-wide discussion of potential portfolio investments. The due diligence team will present the pros and cons of investing in the company. An "around the table" vote may be scheduled for the next day as to whether or not to add the company to the portfolio.

An afternoon meeting may be held with a current portfolio company. These visits are maintained regularly in order to determine how smoothly the company is running and whether the investment made by the venture capital firm is being utilized wisely. The venture capitalist is responsible for taking evaluative notes during and after the meeting and circulating the conclusions among the rest of the firm.

After spending much of the afternoon writing up that report and reviewing other market news, there may be an early dinner meeting with a group of budding entrepreneurs who are seeking funding for their venture. The venture capital professional gets a sense of what type of potential the emerging company has, and determines whether further meetings with the venture capital firm are warranted.

After that dinner meeting, when the venture capitalist finally heads home for the night, they may take along the due diligence report on the company that will be voted on the next day, taking one more chance to review all the essential facts and figures before the morning meeting.

Trends in Venture Capital

The first venture capital funding was an attempt to kickstart an industry. To that end, Georges Doriot adhered to a philosophy of actively participating in the startup's progress. He provided funding, counsel, and connections to entrepreneurs.

An amendment to the SBIC Act in 1958 led to the entry of more novice investing in small businesses and startups. The increase in funding levels for the industry was accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of failed small businesses. Over time, VC industry participants have coalesced around Doriot's original philosophy of providing counsel and support to entrepreneurs building businesses.

Growth of Silicon Valley

Due to the industry's proximity to Silicon Valley, the overwhelming majority of deals financed by venture capitalists are in the technology industry—the internet, healthcare, computer hardware and services, and mobile and telecommunications. But other industries have also benefited from VC funding. Notable examples are Staples and Starbucks, which both received venture money.

Venture capital is also no longer the preserve of elite firms. Institutional investors and established companies have also entered the fray. For example, tech behemoths Google and Intel have separate venture funds to invest in emerging technology. In 2019, Starbucks also announced a $100 million venture fund to invest in food startups.

With an increase in average deal sizes and the presence of more institutional players in the mix, venture capital has matured over time. The industry now comprises an assortment of players and investor types who invest in different stages of a startup's evolution, depending on their appetite for risk.

Data from the NVCA and PitchBook indicate that venture-backed companies have attracted a record $330 billion in 2021, compared to the total of $166 billion seen in 2020—which was already a record. Large and late-stage investments remain the main drivers behind the strong performance: Mega-deals of $100 million or more have already hit a new high-water mark.

Another noteworthy trend is the increasing number of deals with non-traditional VC investors, such as mutual funds, hedge funds, corporate investors, and crossover investors. Meanwhile, the share of angel investors has gotten more robust, hitting record highs, as well.

Late-stage financing has become more popular because institutional investors prefer to invest in less-risky ventures (as opposed to early-stage companies where the risk of failure is high).

But the increase in funding does not translate into a bigger ecosystem as deal count or the number of deals financed by VC money. NVCA projects the number of deals in 2022 to be 8,406—compared to 12,362 in 2020.

Why Is Venture Capital Important?

Innovation and entrepreneurship are the kernels of a capitalist economy. New businesses, however, are often highly-risky and cost-intensive ventures. As a result, external capital is often sought to spread the risk of failure. In return for taking on this risk through investment, investors in new companies are able to obtain equity and voting rights for cents on the potential dollar. Venture capital, therefore, allows startups to get off the ground and founders to fulfill their vision.

How Risky Is Making a Venture Capital Investment?

New companies often don't make it, and that means early investors can lose all of the money that they put into it. A common rule of thumb is that for every 10 startups, three or four will fail completely. Another three or four either lose some money or just return the original investment, and one or two produce substantial returns.

What Percentage of a Company Do Venture Capitalists Take?

Depending on the stage of the company, its prospects, how much is being invested, and the relationship between the investors and the founders, VCs will typically take between 25 and 50% of a new company's ownership.

What Is the Difference Between Venture Capital and Private Equity?

Venture capital is a subset of private equity. In addition to VC, private equity also includes leveraged buyouts, mezzanine financing, and private placements.

How Does a VC Differ From an Angel Investor?

While both provide money to startup companies, venture capitalists are typically professional investors who invest in a broad portfolio of new companies and provide hands-on guidance and leverage their professional networks to help the new firm. Angel investors, on the other hand, tend to be wealthy individuals who like to invest in new companies more as a hobby or side-project and may not provide the same expert guidance. Angel investors also tend to invest first and are later followed by VCs.

Venture capital represents an central part of the lifecycle of a new business. Before a company can start earning revenue, it needs enough start-up capital to hire employees, rent facilities, and begin designing a product. This funding is provided by VCs in exchange for a share of the new company's equity.

The Business History Conference. " The Rise and Fall of Venture Capital ," Pages 6-8.

Harvard Business School. " Arthur Rock ."

The Business History Conference. " The Rise and Fall of Venture Capital ," Page 8

National Venture Capital Association. " Venture Monitor Q4 2021 ."

United States Department of Treasury. " Report to Congress on the Capital Gains Tax Reductions of 1978 ."

U. S. Congress. " S. 209, The ERISA Improvements Act of 1979: Summary and Analysis of Consideration ," Page 69.

The Business History Conference. " The Rise and Fall of Venture Capital ," Page 10.

United States Congress. " H.R.4242 - Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 ."

Wall Street Mojo. " Dotcom Bubble ."

Intel Capital. " Intel Capital Invests $132 Million in 11 Disruptive Technology Startups ."

Google Ventures. " Home ."

Starbucks. " Starbucks Commits $100 Million as Cornerstone Investor in Valor Siren Ventures I ."

NVAC. " Venture Monitor Q2 2021 ," Page 3.

NVAC. " Venture Monitor Q2 2021 ," Page 7.

NVAC. " Venture Monitor Q2 2021 ," Page 5.

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How Venture Capitalists Really Assess a Pitch

presentation for venture capital funding

The surprising behaviors that can make a difference

Before Lakshmi Balachandra entered academia, she spent a few years working for two venture capital firms, where she routinely witnessed a phenomenon that mystified her. The VCs would receive a business plan from an entrepreneur, read it, and get excited. They’d do some research on the industry, and their enthusiasm would grow. So they’d invite the company founder in for a formal pitch meeting—and by the end of it they’d have absolutely no interest in making an investment. Why did a proposal that looked so promising on paper become a nonstarter when the person behind the plan actually pitched it? “That’s what led me to pursue a PhD,” says Balachandra, now an assistant professor at Babson College. “I wanted to break down and study the interaction between the VC and the entrepreneur.”

Even before she began her research, Balachandra had some hunches. Most entrepreneurs believe that the investment decision will hinge primarily on the substance of their pitch—the information and logic, usually laid out in a PowerPoint deck. But in fact most VCs review pitch decks beforehand; the in-person encounter is more about asking questions, gaining clarity, and sizing up personalities. To better understand those dynamics, Balachandra spent almost 10 years capturing what happens in pitch meetings and quantifying the results. Some patterns were obvious from the start. For instance, entrepreneurs who laugh during their pitches have more success, as do people who name-check friends they have in common with the VCs. But after drilling down, she drew four broad conclusions:

Passion is overrated.

Working with video recordings of 185 one-minute pitches during an MIT Entrepreneurship Competition (with real VCs as judges), Balachandra had coders turn off the sound and use only the visuals to assess how energetic and how positive or negative each founder appeared. (The coders controlled for presenters’ gender and attractiveness along with the size of the market the start-ups were addressing.) Among both VCs and entrepreneurs, conventional wisdom holds that “passion” is a positive attribute, connoting high energy, persistence, and commitment. “There’s this mythology that they want to see that you’re dying to do this business and work hard,” Balachandra says. But when the coders looked at their assessments in light of which start-ups were chosen as finalists in the competition, they found that the opposite was true: The judges preferred a calm demeanor. Follow-up studies showed that people equate calmness with leadership strength. So temper the enthusiasm and project stone-cold preparedness instead.

Trust beats competence.

In a second study, Balachandra worked with a California-based network of angel investors who gather monthly to hear 20-minute pitches from start-ups. Immediately after each pitch, the investors filled out detailed surveys about their reactions and indicated whether they wanted to send the company through to due diligence (the next step before investing). The results showed that interest in a start-up was driven less by judgments that the founder was competent than by perceptions about character and trustworthiness. Balachandra says that this makes sense: A CEO who lacks a skill-based competency, such as a financial or technical background, can overcome that through training or by hiring the right complementary talent, but character is less malleable. And because angel investors often work closely for several years with entrepreneurs on highly risky ventures, they seek evidence that their new partners will behave in honest, straightforward ways that don’t heighten the risks. In fact, the research showed that entrepreneurs who projected trustworthiness increased their odds of being funded by 10%.

Coachability matters.

Particularly among angel investors, who get involved earlier than traditional VCs do, decisions aren’t driven only by potential returns; they are driven by ego as well. Most angel investors are experienced entrepreneurs who want to be hands-on mentors, so they prefer investments where they can add value. For that to happen, a founder must be receptive to feedback and have the potential to be a good protégé.

Balachandra reached this conclusion by conducting surveys and evaluating video sessions with the same California investors’ network. Coders examined the videos for behaviors, such as nodding and smiling in response to questions, indicating that founders were open to ideas. When analysis and survey results indicated that they were, and when the investor was experienced in the relevant industry—giving him or her knowledge that could add value—the company was more likely to move on to due diligence.

“I Prefer Investing in Missionaries”

Bong Koh worked for a traditional venture capital firm based in the Bay Area and cofounded three start-ups before launching KohFounders, a Chicago- and Los Angeles–based early-stage investment fund. He spoke with HBR about how he sizes up founders. Edited excerpts follow.


Do entrepreneurs overestimate the importance of the business idea they’re pitching relative to the way they present themselves? I 100% believe that they do. Although the business idea is obviously very important, I tend to filter out ideas and markets I’m not interested in before deciding whether to even take a pitch meeting. In the earliest stages, when you’re an angel or a pre-seed investor, there isn’t a lot of information about whether the business will gain traction. You have to take an educated guess about whether there’s a market, and you have to evaluate the other aspects of the pitch. A lot of it comes down to ‘Do you believe in this team?’ That’s first and foremost for me once I’ve decided something is a market opportunity I want to explore. I want to know if the entrepreneurs are willing to grind it out.

This research suggests that a calm demeanor is more attractive to investors than passion or energy. Do you agree? I actually prefer high-passion, high-energy entrepreneurs. People who start businesses are either mercenaries or missionaries, and I prefer investing in missionaries—people who really believe in the pain point they’re solving.

How important is an entrepreneur’s willingness to be mentored? I can’t make a company succeed. Any investors who say they can are arrogant. That said, I do look for people who will be good partners, who are open to feedback. If people get too defensive when receiving feedback, it can be challenging to work with them.

How hard is it to assess these traits in a single pitch? I try not to focus too much on how the entrepreneur pitches. Just as there are people who excel in job interviews but make horrible employees, there are people who are really good at pitching but are not necessarily good as operators. I try to spend a lot of time with an entrepreneur outside the pitch setting before I invest. That’s one of the reasons I do not invest a lot in the Bay Area—deals can move very quickly there, so it can be hard to spend a lot of time with a start-up before reaching a decision.

Gender stereotypes play a role.

In Balachandra’s first job in venture capital, she rarely encountered other women, whether among VCs or among entrepreneurs; in fact, she says, 94% of venture capitalists are male. (She then worked at an all-female firm that focused on funding start-ups headed by women.) In her research, she and her colleagues used videos from the MIT competition to test the perception that VCs are biased against female entrepreneurs. Coders noted whether the presenter was male or female and then measured whether he or she exhibited stereotypically masculine behaviors (such as forcefulness, dominance, aggressiveness, and assertiveness) or stereotypically female ones (warmth, sensitivity, expressiveness, and emotionality). The analysis revealed that although gender alone didn’t influence success, people with a high degree of stereotypically female behavior were less likely than others to succeed at pitching. “The study shows that VCs are biased against femininity,” Balachandra says. “They don’t want to see particular behaviors, so if you’re overly emotional or expressive, you should consider practicing to avoid those things.”

The most important takeaway for entrepreneurs is this: You should approach the pitching process less as a formal presentation and more as an improvisational conversation in which attitude and mindset matter more than business fundamentals. Listen hard to the questions you’re asked, and be thoughtful in your responses. If you don’t know something, offer to find out—or ask the investor what he or she thinks. Don’t react defensively to critical questions. And instead of obsessing over the specifics of your pitch deck, Balachandra advises, “think about being calm, cool, and open to feedback.”

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Business Wire

Plus One Robotics Raises $50 Million in Funding, Led by Scale Venture Partners, to Capitalize on $128 Billion Market Opportunity

SAN ANTONIO, March 07, 2023 --( BUSINESS WIRE )-- Plus One Robotics , a provider of advanced AI vision software and solutions for robotic parcel handling, today announced that it has raised $50M in Series C funding. The round was led by Scale Venture Partners, with Partner Rory O’Driscoll joining the board of directors. Top Tier Capital Partners, Tyche Partners, ROBO Global Ventures, Translink, McRock, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital also participated in the round alongside existing investors , which brings the company’s total funding to date to nearly $100 million. Plus One’s technology helps to alleviate the persistent shortage of manual labor through robotic solutions, dramatically streamlining the parcel picking and depalletizing processes. Plus One deployments perform over one million parcel picks each day in production and currently hold an industry-leading metric of more than half a billion parcel picks globally. With these new funds, Plus One can further increase its capacity and rapidly scale deployment, as well as expand its sales and marketing efforts in North America and internationally.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

presentation for venture capital funding

Plus One Robotics' solutions employ award-winning AI-powered software with unique end-of-arm robot grippers that provide the perception and manipulation necessary to pick and place parcels. (Photo: Business Wire)

This expansion builds on Plus One Robotics’ existing relationships with customers in the parcel post, logistics, and general merchandise industries, serving customers that include FedEx, MSC Industrial, and many more.

The Labor Problem

"The labor shortage is hitting the shipping industry hard, and parcel picking is an often overlooked yet essential part of the process," said Scale Partner Rory O’Driscoll. "By automating the parcel handling piece, Plus One Robotics is rapidly modernizing an outdated system that’s no longer sustainable. It is stepping up and leading the way in a $128 billion market, with fundamentals that prove its value."

E-commerce has grown to represent 19% of U.S. retail sales, with approximately 20 billion parcels delivered in the U.S. in 2021. Shipping growth is expected to rise by 25% over the next five years resulting in warehouses and distribution centers not having the workforce to keep up.

On the supply side, over 80% of warehouses are manual , and with the demands placed on shipping expected to grow, there will be over 1 million more jobs to fill by 2025 despite the shrinking of available labor sources – and costs are rising. Labor costs average $25 per hour and continue to increase. This creates a perfect storm threatening the supply chain and impeding future e-commerce growth.

"The growth of e-commerce has placed tremendous pressure on shipping responsiveness and scalability that has significantly exacerbated labor and capacity issues," said Erik Nieves, CEO and co-founder of Plus One Robotics. "Automation is key, but keeping a human-in-the-loop is essential to running a business 24/7 with greater speed and fewer errors. With the ongoing labor shortages, I believe we’ll see an increase in the adoption of Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) to lower capital expenditures and deploy automation on a subscription basis. This new funding will help us scale up and meet the need for these solutions."

Proven Solutions

Plus One Robotics’ solutions employ award-winning AI-powered software with unique end-of-arm robot grippers that provide the perception and manipulation necessary to pick and place parcels. Key to Plus One Robotics’ effectiveness is its unparalleled approach to human-in-the-loop software. Employees, remote or on-premises, can supervise multiple robots from any location, speeding the robot’s ability to handle exceptions, enabling 24/7 operations. Users benefit from improved sorting and picking throughput by >30% while decreasing operational costs.

Plus One has experienced nearly three-times year-over-year growth from expanded business with existing customers and new deployments. Additionally, it has increased its adoption of the human-in-the-loop capability and RaaS offering among its parcel and post, third-party logistics (3PL), and general merchandise customers.

Plus One deployments perform over one million parcel picks each day in production and currently hold an industry-leading metric of more than half a billion parcel picks globally.

About Plus One Robotics

Plus One Robotics provides the industry’s fastest and most reliable parcel-handling robotics platform. Founded in 2016 by computer vision and robotics industry experts, Plus One's intelligent solutions combine computer vision, AI, and supervised autonomy to pick parcels for leading logistics and e-commerce organizations in the Global 100. Plus One is headquartered in San Antonio with offices in Boulder, Pittsburgh, and The Netherlands. Visit for more information, and follow us on LinkedIn , Twitter , YouTube , and Facebook .

About Scale Venture Partners

Scale is a Silicon Valley-based early-stage venture capital firm that help software companies move from founder-led sales to go-to-market machines. Scale focuses on enterprise intelligent applications that transform B2B work, and we were early investors in SaaS pioneers like Box, DocuSign, HubSpot, RingCentral, and We continue that tradition with investments in best-in-class business software from companies like JFrog, WalkMe, CircleCI, Motive, and BigID. Our Scale Studio platform leverages an unrivaled dataset of 1000+ successful startups to give founders benchmarks on their company's "Vital Signs" -- the growth and operating metrics that matter most. Learn more about our people, portfolio, and perspectives at .

View source version on

For additional information: Alex Patterson +1 210-404-4763 / [email protected]

Plus One Robotics 639 Bill Mitchell Blvd. Ste. 185 San Antonio, TX 78226 Web: Tel: +1 210 664-3200 [email protected]

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