August 1st, 2022
How to create a compelling investor pitch deck using the power of storytelling
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a founder looking to bring some soul to your investor pitch deck. You know – you want your pitch to grab the audience’s attention, create impact and leave them wanting to pounce on this incredible investment opportunity.
So, how does one bring soul to a deck of business slides?
It’s all in the packaging. Your pitch needs a container that brings it all together. It needs a story. The magic of storytelling
If you’re feeling resistance (hello, procrastination!) about this subject, we get it. Building a stellar prototype, scanning the market and creating a solid business plan is already enough to keep you busy, let alone running your business ops and sales. Why add more work?
Believe us when we say that having a story is key to your fundraising process. Here are three reasons to back this up.
1. Investors invest in people, and they look for inspiring ones
Building a business, even in tech, is about the people. Inspire people, and they will take the action you want them to take, be it buying your product or delivering stellar work for your startup. Use your pitch deck to show investors you’ve got what it takes to be an inspiring leader: storytelling.
2. You’ll leave a longer-lasting impression
A marketing professor from Stanford University summed it up pretty well: “Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories.” Investors are humans (hum, yes, yes) + they sit and listen to tons of pitches = you’d better help them remember you. Your pitch is made of facts, which are harder to be retained by the brain. Turn it into a story, and you’re upping your chances of being remembered.
3. It shows you already think and behave like a business
Investors invest in a business. Successful businesses sell a story, not a product. They know products are bound to be copied and replaced, but a unique story and a strong identity can make competition irrelevant.
Even if you’re not an expert in storytelling or marketing, you can create an impactful story for your business.
Here’s an actionable tutorial to harness the power of storytelling for investor pitching, without having to be a born storyteller.
The 5 step storytelling framework
The gist of it: stop seeing your pitch deck as a presentation, and start seeing it as a story. Instead of reading your slides, tell the story behind your business.
1. The status-Quo
It all starts with a problematic status quo. It’s how things are, but there’s a problem for a specific group of people or companies (your target market). Present this situation.
2. Stakes and risks if unaddressed
Now, create some drama about this current situation: what’s at risk if things don’t change?
3. The Why
And, then, there’s you, the founder/founding team. You saw this problematic status-quo and it bugged you enough that you decided you wanted to do something about it.
Share why it bugged you by talking about your vision of the world, and your beliefs (by the way, this is the “Why” Simon Sinek talks about in The Golden Circle).
4. The How
Because of your belief and vision of the world, you decided you’d be the one(s) to change the status quo. This is the “solution” part of your deck.
But here’s the trick: don’t jump straight into your product. Start broad; create anticipation. Drama and suspense make a great story.
5. The What
And finally: the reveal. Your product. Create impact here with one tagline that emphasises the benefit.
All right! Here’s an example.
Let’s say you’ve created an app that helps beginners start investing their money in real estate projects by easily connecting them with a curated selection of brokers and projects with a low minimum investment ticket.
Today, x% of urban people in their mid-thirties would like to invest in real estate but don’t know how to do it. The Millennial generation has the lowest real estate investment score compared to previous generations.
Let’s amplify it — creating drama:
Yet, they are the ones most at risk of financial distress with unprecedented crises piling up — COVID, a war in Europe, and a potential recession.
Social security systems in most EU countries are collapsing under the weight of debt and ageing populations, leaving this generation without the safety net their parents could rely on.
Let’s face it: if Millenials don’t take care of their financial future, no one will for them.
I’m part of this generation. But I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.
Coming from a developing country, financial welfare was a central pain point for my family and, later, myself. It’s morphed into a core belief that constitutes who I am.
Everyone should be able to control their financial welfare.
I believe every millennial should have easy access to investments they can rely on in their later years. This means, access to the opportunities, the educational resources, and the network of experts they need to make an informed investment decision.
There was no such tool on the market. So, I assembled a team of co-founders moved by this cause, and we’ve created it. A bridge between uninformed Millenials and the investments they’re seeking.
Future Fi. For urban people in their thirties who seek to start their investment journey in real estate, Future Fi is an app that connects users to educational tools, opportunities and a network of curated experts. Unlike anything else on the market, the investment opportunities are based on traditional finance with the flexibility of a token system that allows users to invest with a low minimum ticket.
With a story, your audience knows the core of your business in less than two minutes (we’ve timed it!). In the first few minutes of your pitch, they know:
- The problem you’ve identified and the target market
- Why solving it now is crucial
- The drive behind you and your team
- How you intend to solve this problem
- And why you’re the right company to solve it
Last tips for your storytelling journey
As you can see, telling a story doesn’t mean you can’t still use stats, facts, market shares, and all the numbers investors absolutely need to see in your deck. The difference now is all your data and figures come as a reinforcement of the story you just told. Your traction slide? Proof there’s a need for the change you bring. Your competition scan? Proof your solution is the only solution.
The “Why” can be personal, like in the example, or not. Both are OK, the most important is to give a “Why” to your business.
When developing your story, focus on writing a storyline that makes sense, a system of coherent ideas. That’ll make up for 50% of your storytelling. For the other 50%, which is delivery, practice with people you feel comfortable with and collect feedback. Consider joining clubs like Toast Masters to practise presenting in front of strangers.
And finally, your pitch doesn’t have to be a million-dollar show. Focus on being authentic in your delivery, it’ll go a long way. You’ve got this!
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