Did you know that VCs spend an average of 3.5mins looking at a startup’s deck? That’s a little more than 200 seconds for you to get your company's message across and convince an investor to take a meeting with you. With a narrow window to attract an investor’s eye, how do you craft the perfect deck to ensure you have the best chances of getting that intro meeting booked? In today’s Masterclass, you’ll learn a structured approach to building the perfect deck.
Wiz the Deck Building Wizard
During Cohort S23, our founders were extremely lucky to participate in a workshop with Wiz from Spacecadet Ventures. Wiz is the Co-Founder and General Partner at Spacecadet, a marketing-focused VC fund that specializes in supporting their portfolio companies through building and refining projects’ branding and marketing. Wiz is a 2x exited founder turned VC, having sold two companies before launching Spacecadet with his Co-Founder Daniel Eckler. During their time as marketers, the Spacecadet team worked with some of the biggest companies in the world including Coca Cola, Spotify, Netflix, Meta, and many more. They bring this wealth of experience to the projects they support, positioning themselves as ‘The Marketing VC.’
The Sketch, Refine, Design, Deploy Process
During his session with our cohort, Wiz outlined a straightforward process for developing your startup’s pitch deck - The ‘Sketch, Refine, Design, Deploy’ approach. What does this entail? First, Sketch out all of the requisite slides for your deck and get the right content down. Then, you Refine each slide, distilling your content down to the most simple message. Only then can you work on the Design elements of your deck, creating visuals that truly stand out. And last, it’s time to Deploy, where you start engaging with investors and collecting their feedback.
In this post, we’ll walk through each of the four steps to teach you how you to leverage Wiz’s process for your own company.
The first part of your deck building process is the Sketch phase. Here, you’re focused on creating the structure of your deck, ensuring that each slide has the right points and data needed to convey your company’s vision effectively to investors. Wiz took our founders through his ‘Story Sketch’ process where we went through the outline of an entire deck, writing points down for each slide of our company’s deck. Wiz suggests a comprehensive deck should have the following slides (in order):
See here for a full version of this table with even more slide examples!
Here, we’re not trying to create fully fleshed out slides foreach topic. Instead, our goal is to get down the key information to convey on each slide. We’ll work on refining in the next stage.
Once you’ve gone through the Sketch phase, it’s time to Refine. Here, our goal is to take what we wrote during the Story Sketch and distill our ideas until we are left with only the most prescient points, writing these into one sentence ‘Headlines’. In this part of the process, you want to critically examine your pitch and isolate your strongest talking points, ensuring that you can highlight areas where you think you have a clear advantage over your competitors.
The Refine phase is a great time to bring in outsiders to help offer perspective on which of your points are coming across strongest. As founders, we can often tend to lose sight of the strengths and weaknesses of our project having spent some much time engrossed in the minutiae of our business. Look to trusted friends and advisors who may be able to offer a perspective.
Last, during the Refine stage you can also start to play around with flow and structure. If two slides don’t seem to transition well into each other, think about moving pieces around to ensure your pitch follows a coherent narrative (still, we’d recommend loosely sticking to Wiz’s outline. Hook and Problem should be towards the front, and Fundraise and CTA at the end).
Depending on what type of founder you are, the Design phase will either be your favorite part or something you dread. For all of the Product focused founders out there, here is where you get to flex your creative muscles and bring your deck to your life. We could write an entirely separate Masterclass on deck design specifically, but here are some of the best tips that Wiz shared with us:
The last piece of Wiz’s process is Deploy. At this stage, you’re done with the deck and now it’s time to get your pitch out into the world. Whether through your personal networks or existing investors, you need to start using your deck to pitch investors, collect feedback, and revise. It’s near impossible for your deck to stay exactly the same through your entire fundraising process. As you get feedback from investors, you’ll want to constantly revise your slides. If you keep getting the same questions on a specific slide, it’s likely that you’re not capturing the right information in your headline. Make at weak, use the deck in your next pitch and see if the same issues arise. Rinse. Repeat. After several iterations, your deck is likely to be in a much better place.
Deck building can often seem like a daunting task when you don’t have the right process. With Wiz’s structured approach, this process will seem like a breeze. Remember, the most important part in all of this is to make sure you keep revising and refining. Deck building is never a static process. Any great web3 founder needs to be able to adapt and respond to the feedback they get from their community. Take this lesson to heart and you’ll be able to nail your next fundraising process.