Raising without a deck is more common than you think

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If you want to raise venture capital funding, you should be able to tell a compelling story to get anywhere. What’s more, according to conventional wisdom, your story should be supported by a pitch-perfect deck, too. How many slides a deck needs and what order they should be in is up for debate, but the deck itself is nonnegotiable.

That said, there are, in fact, people out there raising lots of capital without employing a deck at all. I was really intrigued to speak to two of them and learn how they did it.

Before Michal Cieplinski became the CEO and founder of fintech startup Capstack, he successfully founded several companies and invested in others. Today, he has refined his storytelling chops to the extent that he doesn’t use a deck at all.

For Cieplinski, not using a deck yields a major benefit: You ensure that your startup is based on a real product and not a feature. The perils associated with launching a business that relies on another product are many and dangerous, but in short, if the original product changes or is no longer available, then it’s bye-bye for your business.

Your idea needs to stand alone. As Cieplinski says, if your company is reliant on a proprietary product, you often have so much to explain to potential investors that you need a deck to help you.


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