Securing funding for any new venture is a major task. Investors are always on the lookout for great ideas with huge potential but they’re very savvy and any startup will need to ensure they have a clear and compelling message.
The team at Bubble Gum Interactive has racked up a lot of experience in the funding game. We’ve done many many many pitches and presentations about our virtual universe for kids Little Space Heroes to investors and potential partners all around the world. We were by no means experts when we set out and there is always opportunities to improve but we have learned a lot and we are keen to share some tips and suggestions with other independent developers out there.
We’ve put together a presentation template that provides a good structure for any games business seeking funding. While it makes references to the games industry, it would be very easy to adapt this presentation to any startup. This is the base template we used in both our capital raising rounds, including our recent raise of $2.5 million.
This template is free for anyone to use and there’s no need to keep a credit or reference to us in it. Of course you’ll need to do a fair bit of work to pull together the content and plan your messaging. You may also want to spice it up with some great artwork – something that shouldn’t be too hard for creative games developers.
Pitch Deck Overview
Here’s the outline of the presentation plan slide-by-slide with some advice for each. These instructions are repeated on the presentation – just delete them and insert your own content.
The presentation deck is ten slides. This is intentional. Investors don’t want to sit through long-winded overly detailed presentations. Another rule for you – keep each slide to a maximum of a few points and make sure you use a reasonable sized font. You can insert tables and charts to show information. Remember, when presenting, your slide deck should be a concise summary of information, not a huge document full of text. You do the talking – the slide emphasizes the key points and is really something to “talk to.”
Oh – and be prepared to be able to give your presentation in ten minutes or twenty minute variations. Different investors will have different time limits. It’s best to practice for ten minutes because you can always talk more on every point and some investors will like to ask questions as you go through. (Separate to this you should also be able to summarise the whole thing in 30 seconds without a presentation deck so practice that too!)
Pitch Deck Structure
Slide 1 – Cover slide: Here you should use some nice artwork from your game(s) and a title for the presentation, plus the name of who’s presenting, and who you are presenting to.
Slide 2 – Market overview: Define the market you’re focused on – console games? Which console? Online? Casual? Hardcore? Augmented Reality? Whatever it is, you must define it. Explain what this market is, why it’s interesting and what people in this market are looking for. Remember – while you are familiar with the market, your audience may not be. Don’t assume they’ll know of other titles or any details. Make sure you explain things clearly. If they’re familiar with the space you can spend less time on this.
Slide 3– Market opportunity: What particular segment are you targeting? Why is this market attractive? Is it growing? How much? Give $$$ figures if you can or %% at least. Explain what is driving this market? New technologies? Changing habits? Use graphs or charts if you can.
Slide 4 – Our game is…: Now you can talk about your game. Summarise it in 3 key points. Show some screenshots or key artwork. Explain the salient points verbally. If you can show a short trailer or some video footage do so – but keep it to 60 seconds or less.
Slide 5 –It’s XXXXXXX meets YYYYYYYY: A great tip from the screenwriting field is to describe a film using two well known titles for reference, for example “It’s like Harry Potter meets Transformers – a school for young robots with a dark and growing conflict in the background”. Explain how your game might fit a gap or serve an audience that is clamoring for more fun and enjoyable gaming experiences.
Slide 6 – Why we’re different…: By now you should have convinced your audience that the market is attractive, and that your game is good. But how is it really going to compete with the hundreds of other titles out there? What do you do better? Consider all aspects – obviously game play is key, but what about art? Audio? What about the way in which the game is delivered? What about the story? What about pricing? What is it about your team that is so good? What excellent skills do you have?
Slide 7 – Where we are going: This one is super important. If you’ve got their attention to this point you now need to show them that you have a very clear, well-thought out plan and you know exactly what you need to do to be successful. Don’t worry about being super confident – just be clear and show them that you know what you’re doing and what the next steps are to succeed. This can be based on talking to a graph or table showing how you fit into the market space when you plan to launch, and the projected sales you believe your game will make, preferably over the first 3 years.
Slide 8 – Our experience is…: If you’ve got experience or successful examples of games you’ve already done – show them, and show metrics to prove the point. Name each key member of your team and their background and skills as well as explain what it is they will work on. This is where you can show the investors you have the people and skills to accomplish your dream.
Slide 9 – Current status: Tell your audience your status and the milestones you have achieved to date. Ideally it’s not just an idea or some concept art. You should really have a prototype or an alpha version ready to show. If you do have this, you can invite them to play the game after the presentation.
Slide 10 – What we offer: Here’s where you explain your offer. You should know what it is you’re after. If it’s money, then how much money? How is it going to be spent? What share of the business are you offering in exchange for that investment? Also, what else can they give you? Have they got experience in helping new businesses grow? Most investors do and they are often very willing to provide advice and guidance. This slide should be your conversation starter. If pitching to a government department it might be good to make a point about how many jobs may be created if you are successful, over the mid and longer term, and any other benefits to the community including skill sharing and knowledgebase development.
Once you finish your presentation it should turn to Q&A. If it’s the first conversation, the investor will likely want to ask a few questions and then may go away to digest. They’ll then come back with more questions and may ask to set up further meetings.
If you’re not successful, don’t be disheartened. Ask for feedback – most investors will be glad to give you some constructive advice. And stay strong – There are many examples of successful games and successful businesses of all kinds that had to slog it out and put up with rejections before they made it.
We hope you find this presentation template and structure useful. Please let us know how you go – we’d love to hear some awesome success stories!
Download PowerPoint file - BGI – Indie Games Developer Pitch Template – 2011