Sent on January 14th, 2022.
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I few months ago, I posted about pitch decks on LinkedIn:
“The Perfect Games Company pitch deck is fine. I’ve seen dozens of entrepreneurs use it when they are pitching their company to investors. But often, even the clear format that the PGC pitch deck offers is too many slides. I’ve been in meetings where the deck takes 30, 40, or 50 minutes to go through and suddenly we are running out of time to have a proper discussion.”
In 2007, when I was pitching to investors for the first time, I emphasized the pitch deck as the key to success, trusting that the deck would take care of the fundraise. In a way, I treated the deck as an application for money, like you’d go to the bank and ask for a loan.
Another thing that I fell for in 2007 was to add lots of slides that point to many ways that the business will succeed or to back up claims that the market is enormous. Adding all these slides would quickly bloat the deck to over 20 slides.
As an investor, I often see similar decks with founders, who believe that more information leads to a more likely positive outcome with the investor. I feel like these are the founder’s questions when they’re creating the deck: Which of my slides will be the one that grabs the investor’s attention? What is wrong with this slide? Should I put a mention of the metaverse?
I’ve observed two ways how things will unfold when the founder is pitching.
I’m sold already before the pitch deck is shown or during the first few slides (team and what they want to do). When you have next to no data in the early stages, the best thing you can do is to bet on an experienced and able team.
- I’m sold already before the pitch deck is shown or during the first few slides (team and what they want to do). When you have next to no data in the early stages, the best thing you can do is to bet on an experienced and able team.
- I’m not sold yet, and I have many things to discuss and ask. I usually write things down in a notebook during the pitch and will then start asking things after the pitch.
Regarding pitch decks, what works best for me? I like it when the founder has shared their deck in advance to get a feel for the business to see if it’s the right fit for me and worth the meeting.
As one founder mentioned in the LinkedIn post’s comments: “And that’s the secret of the pitch deck – its true intention is to start a conversation, not unload every detail.”
Here is actionable advice for founders who are pitching: I would always ask at the beginning of the meeting if the investor has had time to look at the material that was shared. No VC rule or etiquette says you need to present a deck. Having a discussion and hearing the investor’s thoughts and questions is more important than going through your slides.
If you go for presenting a pitch deck during the meeting, I recommend presenting your teaser deck. It doesn’t need to be more than something like the following.
Slide 1: Punch line “We went from zero to 100k revenue in 3 months” or “We shipped six top-grossing free to play games” or “Experienced team taking blockchain to the masses.”
Slide 2: Team “We’ve built five game studios” or “Four previous startup entrepreneurs.”
Slide 3: Game and numbers slide, with lots of visuals and QR code to download the game. If available, retention, DAU, revenue, ROAS. If possible, show that things are progressing: “We aren’t waiting for investor money to proceed.”
Slide 4: Ask amount and planned use—this will take the discussion to the actual fundraiser.
If you’d like, you can supply the teaser deck with an appendix that has dozens of slides, but you’d never go to these slides unless a detail comes up in the conversation that happens after the pitch.
I’ve created a few deck templates in three formats:
I’ll end with a quote from Henric Suuronen, Founder Partner at Play Ventures:
“In general, we recommend making your PGC but only have 10-14 slides in the main deck and moving all other slides to Appendix. When VC asks a question on something that is in the appendix on a slide, thanks the VC for the great question and show the appropriate slide in the appendix. We also love teaser decks, awesome to use also when the PGC has been sent in advance to the call, and during call, only teaser deck is used as support for pitch.”
All those five-star reviews can’t be wrong 🙂 Get my book, “Long Term Game: How to build a video games company” from Amazon. Available on Kindle, audiobook, and paperback. Check it out.
🎙 Corentin Selz — 10,000 game experiments
In this week’s podcast episode, I’m talking with Corentin Selz, Publishing Manager at Voodoo. Corentin has overseen the publishing activities at Voodoo for that last few years and has worked with over a hundred external studios to develop hyper casual games.
In this discussion, we talk about the optimal way to test hyper-casual games, about the characteristics of teams that can repeat their success, and how the rapid development and testing procedures could be brought outside of hyper-casual games.
Listen to the full episode by going here.
📝 Useful tools and templates
If you know of a founder or a group of people who are planning to start a game studio, let them know of these templates.
- Advisor agreement template
- Investor update template
- Cap table template
- Convertible note
- Shareholders’ Agreement
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Co-founder equity split calculator
- and more
📃 Articles worth reading
+ Crypto Raiders Tokenomics and Economy Launch Plan — “When a character dies, its NFT is marked as dead and can no longer be used in game. In addition, unless it has special buffs or bonuses, the gear will be lost with it. This allows us to increase or decrease the character and gear burn rate to respond to market demands, ensuring that investors and players alike can always charge a healthy price for their characters.”
+ The Fundamentals of Game Economy Design — “A well-balanced game economy challenges, excites, and fulfills. It provides players with the right amount of friction, and it provides them with the right amount of satisfaction. But most importantly? It keeps them coming back for more. A strong game economy is integral to your game’s longevity. It’s a huge factor, a huge undertaking, but if you’re daunted — don’t be. The process of getting it right is involved, but it’s not impossible.”
+ The Mathematics of Game Balance — “It’s our job as game designers to make exchanging resources evoke an emotion in our players. Taking a knight with a pawn in Chess is exciting, but being low on ammo and health in Resident Evil evokes anxiety. Fortunately, we have a wealth of research to help us: from Gestalt psychology’s definition of the pattern-seeking mind to the behavioural economics study of emotional decision making.”
💬 Quote that I’ve been thinking about
“We are born artists. And then society does its best to beat it out of us.”
— Rick Rubin
Join the Gaming Angel Fellowship online course and community
Elite Game Developers offers member a possibility to learn angel investing.
Here are some comments from fellowship members:
“I think this course can truly arm potential angel investors with the tools and confidence they are looking for.” — Martine Spaans
“The course is as valuable to those building businesses as it is to those looking to invest. A shared understanding of the dynamic between young business and angel investor is a great foundation for any partnership.” — David Amor
Sign up here, and you’ll get immediate access to the Slack workspace and everything else.
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