Here are six slides that every biotech company’s pitch deck needs to include:
- What is the problem?
- What is your solution?
- How big is the market?
- Who is the competition?
- Who is on the team?
- How much money are you raising and how will you spend it?
There are plenty of good posts on how to make a pitch deck, including templates (see Pillar VC’s), strategies (see Khosla’s), and design considerations (see YC’s). In general, we recommend that you include the most important and best things about your company up front. Some key lessons hold true across all kinds of presentations: be clear, be concise, be accurate.
If you are a deep tech company
Include a slide about your intellectual property. Patents are king, so whether you’ve got provisionals, patent applications, or granted patents, highlight them. If you believe you have other intellectual property that is relevant to the future success of your company (e.g., trade secrets, exclusive access to data, network effects, etc.), emphasize that as well. You can also use this slide to discuss how you intend to strengthen your IP over time.
If applicable, include a slide covering regulatory considerations. Most deep tech and therapeutics companies will encounter some regulatory hurdles, and many pre-seed and seed-stage decks omit this information.
If you are a foodtech, agtech, climatetech, industrial bio, materials, diagnostics, or medical device company
Include a slide about your unit economics. This is arguably the most important slide, and yet it is often left out entirely. A good framework to present your unit economics is: value-price-cost.
- Value = the economic value gained by your customer as a result of using your product.
- Price = the price you charge your customer for the product, which should be less than value.
- Cost = your cost to produce the product, which should be less, and ideally significantly less, than the price.
For many companies, unit economics today will look bad, but unit economics tomorrow might look good, in which case you need to explain what you will do to turn them from bad to good.
If you are a therapeutics company…
Include a slide about comparable partnerships or acquisitions of therapeutic assets in your space (what did the deal look like, and at what stage were the assets), as that is the most likely outcome of a successful therapeutics startup. Larger biopharmaceutical companies have the manufacturing and clinical trials infrastructure to take your product to market. Have a clear story on how you would de-risk technology for these players and how you fit a market need.
Some other thoughts
Appendices: Use your appendix to include information that will answer questions you are likely to have. If an investor asks, “how does your IP differ from your competitors?”, it’s great if you already have a slide that summarizes this. A favorite of mine is a detailed risks and mitigants slide: pick the top 5-10 risks that the company faces and write out what you are doing to mitigate them.
Relevant Success and Failures: Know these stories well. Sometimes it can be hard to learn about these, especially the failures, but it’s worth investing the time to meet people who can give you insights on previous efforts.
Milestones: On your use of proceeds slide, include your top ~5 milestones and how you will allocate capital across them. You’ll want to get feedback from investors on your milestones before you start formally fundraising.
Financial Projections: Every deck should have some financial projections. In pre-seed and seed rounds, investors usually will not give much weight to them, but it’s important that you (1) know how long your runway is, (2) can articulate the underlying assumptions and (3) understand the key cost drivers.
Team: In general, the team in deep tech and life science companies is crucial. There’s usually some combination of technology risk, market risk, regulatory risk, and financing risk, so having members of the team who have relevant experience in each of these areas is key. E.g., in therapeutics, you’ll want to have the key technical and medical leaders as advisors at minimum; in industrial bio, you’ll want to have commercial advisors who have sold similar products into similar value chains; etc.
Traction: Somewhere in the deck, you’ll want to articulate the momentum you’ve generated as a company. Investors like to see founders who move quickly, which includes bringing on new customers or partners, generating new data, signing up advisors, raising capital, etc.