In 2022, investors are spending 24% less time watching presentations compared to 2021. On average, you have just under three minutes to convince them to meet you. In fact, for decks that fail to raise funding, investors give up in just 2 minutes and 13 seconds. It doesn’t take long to make a first impression, so you have to take that into account.
It’s pretty rare that I get to talk to someone who is as big of a nerd as I am, but when I finally got to talk to the research director at DocSendHow could I not? We’ll delve into what the data tells us about what makes a presentation successful, and indicators of what performs worse.
The biggest change in trend in how investors look at presentations is that investors in general are spending far less time on slides, but where this time is shifting.
“This year we know that investors are spending less and less time on presentations. This is not necessarily surprising: the number of links sent to presentation presentations has increased, and the time spent on a presentation remains very low, ”explains Justin Izzo, research leader at DocSend. “What surprised me is that we know that the product and business model sections of the decks are really something that investors liked to build on, especially for early stage companies. But investors have almost halved the time spent on these sections at the preliminary level. Investors are still scrutinizing these sections, but they are doing it much faster than ever before. So founders should really think deeply about their business, but communicate concisely.”
One of the biggest changes is that investors are spending much more time on what DocSend describes as the goal of the opening slide – part of the “why you’re doing this” story.
“Founders have to really think deeply about their business, but communicate concisely,” Izzo laughs. I like to call it “irresistible brevity.” Note that this is not easy to do, but this is what founders should aim for.”
The third most viewed section is the “Company Purpose” section (after the product and business model sections), but Izzo notes that this section is usually only a very small part of the presentation, often just a line or two of text per slide one or two. decks.
“It’s usually one sentence, a clear and well-balanced statement of who the company is. We usually see this at the very beginning of the deck, often on the intro slide. What shocked me when I first started browsing our latest dataset is that over the past couple of years it has been pretty mediocre in terms of watch times,” says Izzo. “It has really taken off this year and investors tend to use this section as a kind of gatekeeper. They want to know at a glance if this company has a reason to exist before they look at the rest of the deck.”
This makes a lot of sense; The business purpose statement is often phrased as “Venmo for fundraising” or “Transform the customer experience with human-centric AI” or “SaaS issue tracking for physical product developers“. By the way, these are all real examples from our Pitch Deck Teardown series. The great thing is that investors can use these statements to see if the investment could potentially suit their interests well. investment thesis. If you don’t invest in SaaS, or if you don’t care about fintech, or if you don’t care about customer support, it becomes a very quick filter to say no to a startup team without needing it. delve into a product, team, or market size.
“The point is whether the founders can communicate persuasively about the vision and the specifics of their company, but about what their company does. Because if you can do that, you hook investors, you show that the thesis fits, and then it prepares investors, you know, to read the rest of their story,” says Izzo. “And you know, doing it in a sentence, a sentence and a half or something like that is difficult. But we see it becoming much more important for aspiring founders.”
The DocSend team analyzed 320 decks and looked at which slides were in each. The only slide that was available in 100% decks, both hit and miss, was the team, but from there things start to change a bit.
The most interesting difference between successful and unsuccessful decks is the lack of slides; I was surprised that only about a quarter of startup decks had financials (trust me on this, you really need an operational plan), but it didn’t surprise me that none of the failed decks had finances.
Another big difference is the competition slides; all decks should have an overview that covers the competitive landscape.
“The first thing that is often missing is the competition slide. Founders often don’t think to include it, and when they do, they use it as a not-so-subtle indicator of lack of competition,” Izzo laughs. “I always tell them to include some kind of analysis of other players in that area, however you define that area.”
DocSend team created fundraising book sort of, and State of the Union report for fundraising by comparing the shifts from 2021 to 2022, making for a fascinating in-depth read to let you know how you look at your fundraising process.
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