Specialized pitch decks are required for venture capital funds that are in process of raising and closing on capital from limited partners.
The pitch decks have certain requirements, like proper legal disclaimers, and they also must comply with standards that limited partners have come to expect. Today, limited partners look at slides for less than a minute on average, so the purpose of each slide needs to be clear and the main points per slide need to tell a narrative.
Here are five hacks to help your venture capital fund presentation stand out with limited partners.
1. Reinforce Your Thesis
Write a one sentence Thesis, and then ensure that every point and every graphic on every slide reinforces that Thesis.
The point of the presentation is to explain how the fund is uniquely qualified to execute your fund Thesis. Tangential information can dilute or confuse the message. As a tactic, paste your one sentence Thesis in a small font at the top of every slide in your presentation, and then read or review everything on each slide to ensure that it matches the Thesis. For example, if your Thesis is for a deep tech fund, it does not make sense to put your high school lacrosse experience as a bullet on the Team slide.
2. Use Simple Slide Titles
Use common one, two or three word titles for every slide, and avoid being funny or creative with slide titles.
Limited partners often look for specific information to confirm interest in a fund, since most LPs have investment criteria that they are looking to fulfill. By keeping the slide titles simple, it allows limited partners to find and focus on the information that they need. Common slide titles include Thesis, Team, Track Record, Portfolio, Market and Economics. Avoid slide titles that resemble phrases or sentences like, “how we have the best portfolio” or “our unique market knowledge,” since this can be confusing to limited partners about what is contained on the slide. For a full list of common slide titles and content, read on.
3. Keep the Slides Short
Avoid using more than 50 words per slide, using diagrams, pictures, charts or numbers to replace words.
The average limited partner spends less than one minute per slide, and our data shows that limited partners spend less time on slides with more words. Overwhelming a limited partner with a lot of information can cause them to skip the slide. Our experience shows that there should be one major takeaway point per slide that is reinforced with the content. For example, on a Team slide, if you have three Partners and you want to make the point about deep tech expertise, use bullets under the team members that show they are leaders in deep tech. For example, “Ph.D. Physics, Carnegie Mellon” is a good bullet, or “12 Patents in Robotics” is another good bullet. See how they are short?
4. Include Disclaimers
Add a legal disclaimer for the whole presentation in the front or the back, and disclaim and forecasting slides about forward-looking statements.
Short and appropriate legal disclaimers are normally required and help the general partner look more professional as a money manager to limited partners. The absence of disclaimers may make a credible limited partner suspicious. Most venture capital decks have one overall legal disclaimer for the jurisdiction that you are in, often placed in the back, and the forecasting slides normally have a footnoted disclaimer about forward-looking statements. These are usually secured by your attorneys to comply with local and regional fundraising laws. You can read some sample disclaimers below.
5. Test the Narrative
Read the whole presentation out loud in less than two minutes by stating the main point of each slide to refine the narrative flow.
Venture capital fundraising decks have a narrative flow that emphasizes why the fund is uniquely qualified to execute on the Thesis. This story can be told in many different ways depending on the strengths (and weaknesses) of the team and strategy. For example, a moderately talented team launching a fund in a market with little funding will likely find the best deals, so they can focus on describing how the “Market” is strong and growing. Quickly say out loud the main point of each slide to evaluate the narrative effectiveness of your presentation. Try moving the order of slides around to see if you can build a stronger narrative and create a better presentation flow.
These five tips will help to make a much more effective presentation for a venture capital fund. Remember that many limited partners still print out presentations, so avoid having color backdrops and avoid a lot of photos. Put your contact information on the title slide, version each release and include page numbers.
It is not uncommon for general partners to edit the fund presentation multiple times per week during the fundraising process. As the versions improve, the closing rate increases. Good luck!
Bonus: VC Slide Titles & Content
Below is a list of the most common slide titles and content in venture capital fund pitch decks.
- Title has a tag line, versioning and contact information for the key people pitching.
- Thesis just has your one-sentence Thesis.
- Team has up to three Partners per slide, plus additional slides for Venture Partners, Advisors or other key individuals involved in fund decision making.
- Track Record highlights one, two or three relevant deals that you and your Partners have invested in or helped to grow, including a logo of the company
- Value Add describes the value your fund will provide portfolio companies or investments, possibly with a diagram
- Warehouse highlights any deals that you have done or are planning to do with a logo of the company
- Allocation shows in a table the number of deals that you will do organized by stage with the estimated investment, valuation and ownership.
- Returns shows the type of returns that you anticipate from hypothetical portfolio companies organized by small, medium or large exits across three columns.
- Liquidity shows up to three projected fund outcome scenarios as a multiple or as IRR,
- Market provides a simple chart or table to demonstrate the attractiveness of currently investing in your target market segment
- Economics has the fund size and stage at the top and that provides a table with the fund economic terms, such as the Minimum Investment Amount, Management Fees and Carried Interest, with the name of the term on the left and the economic term on the right
- Disclaimer has acceptable legal language for your home country to avoid liability for any statements
- Thank You has the tagline of the fund, the target closing date, and the contact information for all of the General Partners,
Optional VC Slides
- Strategy – what deals that you target
- Operations – how you close and service deals
- Competition – notable funds doing similar things
- Partners – any strategic corporate or funding partners
- Advantages – key selling points to target investments
Bonus: Sample VC Disclaimer Language
Below are a couple sample disclaimers for reference purposes. Please consult with an attorney before using.
Standard Fund Disclaimer
“The information herein is strictly confidential and is intended for authorized recipients only. The content of this presentation is shown for information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice, or an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The strategy presented herein represents the strategy of the General Partner of the Fund as of the aforementioned date and may vary at the discretion of the General Partner. There is no guarantee that any investment objective will be achieved. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Recipients should not assume that any companies identified in this presentation, are or will be, investments held by the Fund. Any projected returns presented herein are shown for illustrative purposes only. There can be no guarantee the Fund will achieve these results. Venture investing is risky and you could lose some or all of your investment.”
Forward Looking Statement Disclaimer
“The information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update, and you should not unduly rely on such statements.”