The crew here at TechCrunch has done a lot of writing about fundraising, and how to make an awesome pitch deck over the years. I figured it was time that I put together a collection of all of it in one handy spot.
A lot of these articles are part of TechCrunch+ -- TechCrunch's premium subscription product. I've marked them below so you know which ones you need a subscription to read. Perhaps I'm just a teensy bit biased over here, but I'd say it's definitely worth subscribing to get access to all of this content.
On top of all of the pitching info, with a TechCrunch+ subscription, you get access to a ton of in-depth analysis that'll help you find investors, build a better company and be a more successful founder.
This post has been updated a bunch of times, most recently 19 May 2023
Should you / can you raise money?
Should you self-fund first? Starting bootstrapped (i.e. self-funded) then raising money much later is an option, as Natasha Mascarenhas explores. (TC+)
Are you VC-investable? You need to understand how venture capital works -- where their money comes from, and, especially, whether your company has a great enough potential to be interesting to venture capital. (TC+)
How much should you raise? It's important to know how much you're raising before you hit the pavement with your pitch deck (TC+)
Think about funding rounds as risk minimizing. For every round of funding, how can you reduce the risk of your startup? That's how you build real value. (TC+)
Is venture debt an option? David Spreng explains the process of raising venture debt (TC+) and Rebecca looks how the venture debt market shifted (TC+) post-SVB collapse.
Before you start pitching
What's their thesis - Before you get started on your pitch deck, you need to know what an investor's investment thesis is and how that affects how they choose to invest (or not) in an opportunity like yours. (TC+)
Make a list and check it twice - How to find the right investors for your startup (TC+)
You may need more than one deck - Remember that you need your pitch deck to work on three different levels: before, during and after your pitch. (TC+)
What order do your slides need to go in? It's also helpful to think about the order of slides in your pitch deck.
Effective pitch meetings - Foundersuite's Nathan Beckord wrote a great guide to a seven-step method for running effective pitch meetings. (TC+)
Avoid the most common mistakes - Jose Cayasso collected the five pitch deck slides that most founders get wrong. (TC+)
Get the deets right - Danny Crichton reminds us that you really need to get the details right in your pitch deck. (TC+)
Make a mark - Danny also covered how to create a pitch deck that can't be ignored. (TC+)
Consider making a teaser trailer - Flint Capital's Andrew Gershfeld argues that it's a good idea to put together a teaser trailer to catch your investors' imagination! (TC+)
Here's what works - and what doesn't - We looked at 320 different startup decks to figure out what works, and what doesn't (TC+)
10 most common pitch deck mistakes - I reflect on having seen 1,000+ pitch decks, and the ten most common mistakes people make along the way (TC+).
Make sure you understand your marketing metrics - For startups, ‘we haven’t spent a penny on marketing’ isn’t always a good thing.
Do you always need a deck? Nope, founders can (and do) raise without one. (TC+)
It's not about runway, it's about milestones: No, you’re not raising money to increase your runway (TC+)
Should you insist on an NDA? Probably not, but there's an exception. (TC+)
Don't fall into the traps Falling into these three traps, you'll never raise VC funding (TC+)
Individual slides, broken down
Some of the slides are trickier than others; I made an annotated template that a few hundred startups have used to raise money successfully, but it turns out that even with a good template, there are pitfalls and things that can go wrong.
Here are a few articles we wrote to help you crack some of the more challenging parts of the pitch.
Summary slide - The first two slides of your presentation - the cover slide and the summary slide - are crucial. Use them to your best advantage to set the stage for the rest of your pitch. (TC)
The Team - Your team is almost certainly the most important thing about any pitch. Make sure you understand why (TC+)
The Problem - Most slide decks start with an outline of the problem. Here's what investors are looking for (TC+)
Solution & Product - The two slides are subtly different and most startups need both to tell the full story (TC+)
Competition - How to think about your competitor slide for your pitch deck - A competitor slide is your opportunity to shine as a founder (TC+)
The Ask - Without a clear ask, your pitch is useless - Investors need to know that you know what you're doing. The "ask" slide is one of the best places to show that you know you have a clear plan. (TC+) Also related: Your Ask slide is your chance to shine, and show that you know what your near-term plan is. (TC+)
Business Model - How to think about your business model as part of a VC pitch (TC+)
Product - You're probably spending too much time on your product. The truth is that your investors don't care as much as you do (TC+)
Operating Plan - Your pitch deck needs an operating plan - Here's why -- and how to make one. (TC+)
Use appendices wisely - If it doesn't fit with the main "flow" of your story, but you may rely on it in the Q&A, stick it at the end of the deck. (TC+)
Get rid of your "exit" slide - You don't know the future, and guessing limits your options. (TC+)
Get rid of your vanity metrics - Unless your metrics directly influence your business success, they don't belong in your deck. Press coverage and newsletter signups? No thanks. (TC+)
Remember your final slide - For your pitch, last impressions count almost as much as first impressions (TC+)
During the pitch process
How to get your first investor meeting - Introductions and cold emails, both can work well. Here's how. (TC+)
Warm and cold intros - How to get warm introductions to investors (TC+)
Be prepared for due diligence - It turns out that most early-stage VC investments fall apart at the due diligence stage. Here's why that happens, and what investors are looking for. (TC+)
Pro tips for pitching - Matt Burns interviewed Emergence Capital's Lotti Siniscalco at TechCrunch's Early Stage event and selected a collection of incredible pro tips to help you on your way. (TC+)
Hook them early on - Darrell Etherington interviewed Jordan Nof of Tusk Venture Partners and Michelle Davey from Wheel in an unmissable article reminding you to craft your pitch deck around "that one thing that can really hook an investor." (TC+)
Only your CEO should be out pitching - Who should be running your pitch process? Not your salespeople or your marketing team. Only your (co-)founders are in the right position to talk to investors!
Overcoming your fear - Masha Bucher is the founder and general partner of Day One Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. They cover nine techniques that'll help you overcome your fear of fundraising (TC+)
Pitch deck teardowns
If you've been looking around on the web, you'll have figured out that it's exceedingly rare to find recent samples of pitch decks that were successfully used to raise money. That's what I'm trying to change with the TechCrunch pitch deck teardowns.
It's a series that's been running for a while, with pitch decks for companies of all different sizes and stages of fundraising. These teardowns include three things I love, three things I'd improve, a bunch of general observations about the deck and the full deck for you to take a closer look at.
Here is a list of the pitch deck teardowns to date:
Minut's Series B stage deck that raised $15M, Published Apr 28, 2022
Momentum's Seed stage deck that raised $5M, Published May 5, 2022
Dutch's Series A stage deck that raised $20M, Published May 12, 2022
BoxedUp, Inc.'s Seed stage deck that raised $2.3M, Published May 19, 2022
Lumigo's Series A stage deck that raised $29M, Published May 26, 2022
Encore's Seed stage deck that raised $3M, Published June 2, 2022
Lunchbox's Series B stage deck that raised $50M, Published June 9, 2022
Ergeon's Series B stage deck that raised $40M, Published Jun 16, 2022
WayRay's Series E stage deck that raised $80M, Published Jun 23, 2022
Wilco's Seed stage deck that raised $7M, Published Jun 30, 2022
Enduring Planet's Seed stage deck that raised $2M, Published Jul 7, 2022
Forethought's Series C stage deck that raised $65M, Published Jul 14, 2022
Arkive's Seed stage deck that raised $9.7M, Published July 21, 2022
Alto Pharmacy's Series E stage deck that raised $200M, Published July 28, 2022
Glambook's Seed stage deck that raised $2.5M, Published Aug 4, 2022
Five Flute's Pre-seed stage deck that raised $1.2M, Published Aug 11, 2022
Mi Terro's Seed stage deck that raised $1.5M, Published Aug 11, 2022
SIMBA Chain's Series A stage deck that raised $25M, Published Aug 25, 2022
Front's Series D stage deck that raised $65M, Published Sep 1, 2022
Helu.io's Series A stage deck that raised $9.8M, Published Sep 15, 2022
Party Round's Angel stage deck that raised $7M, Published Sep 22, 2022
Rokoko's Strategic Extension stage deck that raised $3M, Published Sep 29, 2022
Vori's Series A stage deck that raised $10M, Published Oct 5, 2022
Supliful's Seed stage deck that raised $1M, Published Oct 13, 2022
Palau Project 's Pre-seed stage deck that raised $125K, Published Oct 25, 2022
Syneroid Technologies Corp.'s Seed stage deck that raised $500K, Published Nov 10, 2022
Sateliot's Series A stage deck that raised $11.4M, Published Nov 17, 2022
Juro 's Series B stage deck that raised $23M, Published Nov 25, 2022
Hour One's Series A stage deck that raised $20M, Published Dec 1, 2022
Rootine's Series A stage deck that raised $10M, Published Dec 8, 2022
MedCrypt's Series B stage deck that raised $25M, Published Dec 15, 2022
Card Blanch's Angel stage deck that raised $460K, Published Dec 22, 2022
Scrintal's Seed stage deck that raised $1M, Published Jan 19, 2023
Orange's Seed stage deck that raised $2.5M, Published Jan 26, 2023
Laoshi's Angel stage deck that raised $570K, Published Feb 2, 2023
Spinach.io's Seed stage deck that raised $3.5M, Published Feb 9, 2023
Incymo AI's Seed stage deck that raised $850K, Published Feb 16, 2023
Uber's Pre-seed stage deck that raised $200K, Published Feb 23, 2023
Gable's Series A stage deck that raised $16M, Published Mar 2, 2023
MiO Marketplace's Angel stage deck that raised $550K, Published Mar 9, 2023
StudentFinance's Series A stage deck that raised $41m , Published Mar 16, 2023
Prelaunch.com's Seed stage deck that raised $1.5M, Published Mar 23, 2023
Northspyre's Series B stage deck that raised $25M, Published Mar 30, 2023
Smalls's Series B stage deck that raised $19M , Published Apr 4, 2023
Diamond Standard's Series A stage deck that raised $30M, Published Apr 13, 2023
Honeycomb 's Series D stage deck that raised $50M, Published Apr 20, 2023
Careerist's Series A stage deck that raised $8M, Published Apr 27, 2023
The Perfect Pitch Deck's Seed stage deck that raised $1M, Published May 4, 2023
Fibery's Series A stage deck that raised $5.2M, Published May 11, 2023
Ageras's Private Equity stage deck that raised €35M ($36M) , Published May 18, 2023
Faye's Series A stage deck that raised $10M, Published May 26, 2023
Oii.ai's Seed stage deck that raised $1.85M, Published Jun 2, 2023
CulturePulse's Seed stage deck that raised $1M, Published Jun 9, 2023
Netmaker's Seed stage deck that raised $2.3M, Published Jun 16, 2023
Super.com's Series C stage deck that raised $60M, Published Jun 30, 2023
Nokod Security's Seed stage deck that raised $8M, Published July 7, 2023
GoodBuy Gear's Series A Extension stage deck that raised $5M, Published July 14, 2023
Hardware: How to prepare a hardware startup for raising a Series A (TC+)
Is there something missing? Is there an aspect of fundraising you've always wanted to know more about? Ask! I'm easy enough to reach on Twitter (DMs are open!) or throw some words in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.