VCs spend an average of 3 mins, 44 secs on a pitch deck. What is the perfect deck then?

dollar-1164990_640DocSend recently published their findings from a research on the pitch decks of 200 companies raising funds. The companies raised a total of $360m so I believe this research could be treated as pretty representative.

Respected companies like Sequoia have long published their dream pitch deck.  Yet, DocSend has brought a bunch on insights that should be considered.

Here are the most important take aways in brief:

  • Seed raise takes 3 months on average.
  • Seed firms provide higher rounds with fewer meets than angels.
  • More meetings does not mean more money. 20-30 meetings should be enough.
  • Average time an investor spends on your deck is close to but under 4 minutes.
  • The perfect deck should be 20 pages or less.
  • Your deck should be mobile friendly, 1 out 8 investors views it on mobile.
  • The Sequoia suggested model seems to be ubiquitous in the industry as there were almost no big deviations on the slides required and their order. Check slide 7 for more info.
  • Investors spend most time on Financials, Team and Competition slides. If your financials are not ready yet, better do not include as they will be seriously scrutinized.
  • Do not include your deal terms in the deck.


Not yet another fluff leadership story. What a real leader looks like?

Being far from the idea to narrow down all qualities of a leader in this post, I am a firm believer that real leaders excel in leading by example. A recent story reminded me of that simple truth.

Rowan GormleyRowan Gormley, somebody who I was lucky to meet while studying at Cambridge, has just given up his £7 million share bonus. Not because of weak financial performance or other mishap. On the contrary, Rowan passes on his bonus to his employees if they meet their targets. Thus, incentivising them long-term with his company performance.

“I felt that the shares being allocated to me would mean a lot more to other people (..). And therefore would be a motivation, and therefore would increase the value of my own shares. It’s not an act of philanthropy. It’s an act of good commercial sense.”.

Simple but powerful example of win-win for a CEO and his team aligned with the company goal of turning around its fortunes. It also further strengthens the acceptance of Rowan on top of Majestic wine who is already highly regarded about his leadership qualities from his people.

This should not come as a surprise as he has undisputed in depth knowledge of building businesses and in the wine industry in particular. Rowan has had several high profile positions at Virgin working closely with Richard Branson. He ran Virgin Direct (now Virgin Money) and after leaving set up Orgasmic Wines. The firm became Virgin Wines in 2000 when Richard Branson bought into the business. Rowan left Virgin Wines in 2008 and set up Naked Wines. Last year Naked wines was acquired by Majestic Wine and Gormley was appointed CEO of the enlarged group.

The challenges as CEO are quite a thing – increasing revenue by 25% till 2019 while the British market is pretty much stagnating and facing established competition. And if that is not enough the weaker pound (thank you, Brexit) – which makes imports more expensive – could mean higher prices have to be passed on to customers in the future.

In any case, Godspeed, Rowan!

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