The Winning Investor Deck Tells a Story

30.11.2019
Gil Kraiem, CEO of Pitch Media | Reading Time: 5 min.
"Listen," one of the entrepreneurs I recently met with tells me. "I sit in front of investors and feel that I can't reach them. I tell them how amazing our product is, how much we've invested in development and the innovative technological capabilities we have, but they just give me a bored look."

One can assume this situation is familiar to the vast majority of entrepreneurs. After lengthy periods of intense developmental work, the challenge is to encapsulate everything into a 20-minute Investor Deck that should convince investors that they are facing the next Israeli Unicorns[Lemonade or Monday.com of the Startup Nation]. 

Investors are often asked what actually made them invest in a particular startup and favor it over hundreds of other companies they review every year. The answer in most cases is that it is not the product that led them to a decision but something else that the  founders delivered. This "something" lies in the ability to convey a story that made them empathize with the founders, excited and eager to take part in this journey. In order to make this emotional connection, you need to know how to "storify" your startup. 

Storytelling has become a popular buzz in recent years, but it is not a new marketing invention. On the contrary, it is probably the oldest marketing technique in the world. Early man made murals, and used gestures and expressions in order to tell stories. Stories of the Bible and Greek mythologies have guided humankind for long, these religious and national movements have united  people under one common ethos and narrative. 

Having worked so well throughout history in so many fields, there is no reason why it won't work in the business world either.

So let's get back to our investors. The question is how entrepreneurs can incorporate the same storytelling principles into their Investor Deck.

Ditch the Bullets and Graphs

The first rule is to treat the presentation as a story, as a narrative through which you lead listeners to an emotional connection. About a year ago, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, banned his employees from making presentations using PowerPoint. Presentations, he claimed, are packed with bullets, graphs and numerical data and therefore disrupt imaginative and creative thinking. Bezos therefore obliged  employees to prepare for meetings by writing a memorandum of several pages that all attendees should read at the beginning of the meeting.

Although we still use presentations as a tool,  it's still worth taking into account Bezos' directives and standpoint and try to present in a way that will create an emotional connection with the audience and free them from the bullets and graphs. 

The Personal Story

The first few minutes of your presentation are the most critical in order to keep the investor focused. It is therefore very  important to start your presentation with sparking enough interest and creating the right impression for them to want to continue listening. The introductory phase is important but instead of starting with the standard "About Us" - which includes boring details like the founding year and number of employees - start with your personal story and tell it honestly and truthfully. Opening with "I want to tell  a tale on what started a startup company" will immediately attract more interest than opening facts and numbers.

Indeed, entrepreneurs, many of whom have left a secure career in a major high-tech company for a dream, can form the basis for an inspiring story  and lure in skeptic investors to be attentive and enthusiastic . Bringing in personal experience makes your initiative relevant and attractive (for example, a medical solution to a personal or a family incident).

Who is the Hero?

In every good story there must be a number of elements that build the plot. The first is  the hero- who is the character we identify with? 

The second is the conflict, or the concepts of the story. Try to include the "forces of evil", what is it that we must eradicate in order to succeed in the mission? 

The third is your  vision- the promise that if we only achieve it we will live  "happily ever after."

The way to do this is to think of the customer as the protagonist of the plot (and not the product) and describe reality from their perspective. That is why it is important to be well acquainted with the problems they face and how they manage to solve them in their daily lives. In addition, try to emphasize how the market ignores the opportunity or is unable to provide the necessary response to overcome this challenge.

The most common and simple way of describing the situation is by illustrating it through the construction of a Persona (fictitious person), who has characteristics that are relevant to us such as socioeconomic status, age, marital status, role in the organization, living area, etc. The story must include details of the situation and emotions that may accompany the Persona  (e.g. frustration, disappointment, inability to achieve desired outcome, etc.) and the difficulties that prevent him or her from reaching their goal. 

The Promise

The next step in the presentation is the promise, the value proposition where you present the answer to the solution that may help the customer (what's in it for me?). It is important to think about the outcome of using the solution and not concentrating on its features. In terms of a story, what is important is the narrative- the main idea through the user's experience, the feelings that the client will have as a result of your solution. It is also desirable to use simple words and avoid comparative perspective (such as "better", "faster" etc.) that may create lack of credibility.

This is the final stage which metaphoric brings the customer to the "Promised Land". It is important to describe the solution using values ​​that connect with the narrative that accompany the story and best connects to who you are, what characterizes your company and to remember that the goal is first and foremost to sell an inspiring experience far beyond the product itself.


The writer is the owner of Pitch Media, a PR firm which specializes in tech companies and startups. For more information, please visit: www.pitch-media.com

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