Pitch Deck Recommendations

This post was originally posted on the Specialty Insurance Blog and is included below with Insurtech adjustments and updates.

Pitch decks are important for raising equity capital, and a good pitch deck can get key investors interested, maybe even committed.  The pitch deck is your guide in telling your story.  Explaining your Insurtech company and strategy, along with the investment structure, in a clear, concise and compelling manner can make the difference.  (However, a great pitch deck cannot overcome a bad investment opportunity.)

What is a pitch deck?  A pitch deck is a short set of slides (PowerPoint, for example) that communicate your organization’s story to a potential investor.  Short is the operative word, with most experts recommending 8-12 slides.

A pitch decks is used to give a potential investor basic information to determine whether there might be enough interest and fit to have a meeting with the founder.  Then the deck is used as the basis for an in-person presentation to the investor where you have the opportunity to tell your story in a clear, concise and compelling presentation.  Detailed information is often communicated to the investor through Q&A, supporting information and the PPM.

For larger deals, an investment banker might develop the pitch deck and PPM, and provide access to investors.  These days seed stage deals are often funded by angel networks and friends & family, while venture capital is more focused on series A and later financing.  So Insurtech founders will likely have to develop their own pitch decks and supporting information at the earliest stage.

It is often hard for founders to effectively communicate their startup story.  Maybe it is due to inexperience or being too close to the company – I don’t know.  A lot has been written on the science and art of pitch decks (see links below), and there are many different approaches that can work.  However, the themes are consistent: clear, concise and compelling.  The template below is a basic starting point with a few specific recommendations for Insurtech deals.  Keep in mind that an investor will want to know:

  • The concept – does it make sense
  • Is it a good opportunity, and why can it be successful
  • Are the people right
  • Can it generate cash
  • Can the team & company execute – technology, sales, etc
  • Revenue & EBITDA projections
  • Where is the risk, ie what can go wrong

A basic template for suggested slides is noted below, along with links to other articles on pitch decks.  Many of the comments and suggested comments are similar, although the structures can vary.  The most important point is to make appropriate adjustments for your particular company, and to be clear, concise and compelling.

Slide 1             Title

Slide 2             Confidentiality, Legal Disclaimers

Slide 3             What is It

  • Overview/summary – provide clarity on what you are doing
  • Should be done in bullets; essentially 2-3 sentences to define the strategy and to start the conversation
  • Why someone might want to give you their money

Slide 4             Need

  • Why there is a need – what is the pain point. Be appropriately brief
  • How do you fit into the market, particularly vs competition
  • How you get & keep clients, and for insurance distribution, where will the business be placed

Slide 4             Why you will be successful

  • Why you can make it go
  • How you will generate huge revenue growth
  • What does success look like, how is it measured (metrics)
  • Market size – is the market large enough to create significant value
  • Specialization: why your focus or specialization is a competitive advantage

Slide 5             People

  • Who are the key people
  • Why you/they can make this work
  • Have you done it before? If yes, say this w/ some level of detail

Slide 6             Sales

  • Who are the customers
  • How is the company going to generate revenue
  • Market & competition

Slide 7             Execution

  • How can the company execute the plan & deliver the product/service
  • Explain staffing & strategic partnerships
  • Accounting, compliance & systems resources – investors want to know there are no shortcuts

Slide 8             Financial Projections

  • Overview only, not detail, usually 5 years
  • Key questions:
    • Cash burn & timing of breakeven (may need monthly/quarterly to breakeven)
    • Buildup of revenues & EBITDA
    • Are the projections reasonable
  • Note – investors will want to see the backup, typically a very detailed spreadsheet, at a later date

Slide 9             Capital Need

  • How much is needed
  • What security (equity, convertible preferred, etc) & key terms
  • What will the money be used for
  • What is the valuation (pre-money)
  • Governance & legal points

Slide 10           Exit

  • Anticipated exit timing & potential buyers
  • What are the revenues & EBITDA at that point?
  • What might a valuation look like (investors can apply multiples to the numbers)

Recommendations

  • Each deal is different, so each pitch deck will be different. Use good judgement in knowing when to add slides for specific characteristics of your deal
  • It might save time to develop and edit content in a word doc, then drop into a PowerPoint or other presentation program.
  • Put the deck in a pdf (not ppt) before sending to any investor
  • Most of the content will be bullets, not sentences
  • You will be explaining what is on the slides, so only key points are needed
  • The objective is to trigger interest & questions

What to Avoid

  • Too many words, font too small – keep it simple and the font can be large
  • Too much info – get to the point
  • Technology – that is not focused
    • Avoid unrealistic technology development.
    • Generating cash is more important than changing the world
  • Lack of focus, & lack of focus on breakeven
    • Successful startups need focus to get to breakeven. Doing too many different things is distracting and takes (a lot) more cash, typically more than what was raised, & more time to breakeven.
    • There are plenty of great concepts that need endless amounts of cash; nobody should invest in these
    • Investors need to know how the company will reach breakeven, and when, and from this the resulting cash burn
  • A solution without a problem
    • The product/service must meet a real need, and prosper in a competitive market. What is the pain point, and the solution.

Some links that might be helpful are included below.  Keep in mind that a pure technology raise is different from traditional insurance, and Insurtech needs a mix of both.  Our recommendation is to appropriately adjust the formula to accommodate the nuances of the insurance businesses.

How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck For Startups Seeking Financing – Forbes

Scavenger Hunt: What To Look For In A Pitch Deck – Seraf

How to Pitch Your Startup to a Venture Capitalist – Wharton

How to Pitch a VC – 500

Pitching an Investor? This Is Exactly How Many Slides You Should Have in Your Pitch Deck – Inc.

Don’t Pitch A Venture Capitalist Without This Checklist – Forbes

The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch – Guy Kawasaki

30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks And What You Can Learn From Them – Piktochart

Update – Check out this comprehensive and concise guide to raising capital and developing pitch decks:  The Pitch Deck Book: How To Present Your Business And Secure Investors, by Tim Cooley.

Innovate Insurance – Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Insurance

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