The Different Objectives of an Executive Summary and Pitch Deck

A common area of confusion on the part of entrepreneurs seeking to raise capital is the different objectives of an Executive Summary and an Investor Deck (usually a PowerPoint).

Typically an Executive Summary will be sent to an investor before any meeting. The  objective is to engage the investor and often to secure the first meeting. The fact that you will not be present to speak to, elaborate up and clarify the Executive Summary means you must make sure that it is a document that provides an investor with sufficient information to answer the key questions and issues they will focus on.

It is for this reason that Executive Summary documents are primarily text based and will contain paragraphs of information rather than short sentences.

In contrast, an Investor Deck is usually presented by an entrepreneur at a first meeting with an investor. The objective at this point is to get the investor to take things to the next stage. As you are present, the Deck should be supporting your investor presentation, not replacing you. You will be outlining the elements of your investor proposition while referring to your Deck to illustrate, demonstrate or reinforce your key points.

The Deck will usually contain a number of graphics, diagrams and charts and should use a bullet point format for information. See my recent post ‘The Investor Pitch Deck and Why Less is More’ for advice on format.

I should add that there are some investors who will request a Deck before meeting you, rather than an Executive Summary. If this occurs, you will need to tweek your Deck to ensure that the information presented is clear enough for the investor to understand without assistance from you.

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About Martin Soorjoo

Martin Soorjoo is the founder of San Francisco based Pitch Clinic. Over the past 25 years he has advised, coached and worked with Senior Executives, Investment Bankers, Venture Capitalists, Angels, Startup Founders, Attorneys, Judges, Politicians and other high achievers. Martin works with his clients to increase their Performance, Productivity and Presence. He also helps them create and deliver high impact presentations, whether they are delivering an important keynote address, raising venture capital or seeking a senior position in a company or public body. A former award winning attorney, Martin is the creator of 3XP Performance Coaching and and author of 'Here's the Pitch - How to Pitch Your Business to Anyone, Get Funded and Win Clients' published by Wiley. During his career at the Bar, Martin was consistently rated by the world’s leading legal directories as a ‘leader in his field’. He is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and expert in body language and performance psychology.