David B. Wilkinson, Co-Founder of The Hemp Business Advisors, Inc Although it should have taken only a few weeks, it took three months for... Member Blog: Pitch Deck Creation – Attracting the Right Investors

David B. Wilkinson, Co-Founder of The Hemp Business Advisors, Inc

Although it should have taken only a few weeks, it took three months for our team to craft one of our most successful pitch decks. Why? This was an extremely complicated cannabis organization with a holding company that had ownership in numerous LLCs, various product brand companies with varying financial needs. Eventually, all of the complex components were streamlined, and the investment package was simplified, resulting in a stellar pitch deck that was pre-approved for $20.5m. But how was this accomplished?

The Three Key Pitch Deck Secrets

There are three main secrets that we have found when reviewing, revising, and creating pitch decks across the cannabis industry. Below are a few concepts we consider when crafting a fundable pitch deck for clients:

The Investor’s Criteria

Depending on the amount of funds that a company is seeking to raise and the ROI structure, each entity is placed into one of two categories: a. Angel/VCs or, b. Investment companies/family offices. Once determined which category you’re in, you’ll have a greater understanding of your target audience. Unfortunately, after interviewing over 300 cannabis companies, we’ve learned that most pitch deck creators do not know who their target market is, and therefore are unclear in their pitch deck offering. Rather than presenting yourself, your company, and your idea to an investor, it’s vitally important that you know the criteria each investor wants to see before crafting your pitch deck. 

For instance, we recently reviewed an amazing cannabis pitch deck that was seeking $65M for its first phase to gain seed capital. Since the company is pre-revenue and the proof of concept still being developed, in our three-page analysis we stated that the wording would need to be geared toward an Angel/VC audience since they did not fit the Investment Company criteria. 

The Graphic Design

The quality and layout of the graphics used within your pitch deck cannot be understated. In fact, the quickest way to end any form of communication with an investor is to present a low-quality pitch deck with pixelated graphics, photos without uniformity, or those that lack a modern feel. We know many companies that decided to save money and “wing it” only to discover that seasoned investors make lightning-quick decisions based on the quality of what they see. The secret? Ensure that the quality of the deck matches the size of the raise. 

The Blending Formula

What is the primary purpose of a pitch deck? Is it: a. Educational, b. Motivational or, c. Financial? The answer is, of course, all three. However, very few companies know how to skillfully blend these components together effectively and in proper proportion. The majority of pitch decks only focus on thoroughly educating the investor, droning on and on, page after page, citing the facts and statistics of the industry. Competitive advantage, product efficacy, and detailed projected growth charts and graphs are better left in the business plan. Seasoned investors are masters in their industry and are looking for a pitch deck that lightly educates and motivates them through interesting concepts that make financial sense. 

In Conclusion

The purpose of a pitch deck is to be a visual representation of the company’s integrity. It reveals a true picture of the value that the team places on the future success of the company. Although it’s now easier than ever to gain funding (especially thanks to tokenization), the first step is to craft a pitch deck that attracts the right investors who will want to fund your cannabis dream. 

May this be your year to accomplish all that you and your company could imagine.


David B. Wilkinson is the Co-Founder of The Hemp Business Advisors, Inc., and the Founder & President of The Investment Training Institute, LLC. For over 20 years he has been providing executive coaching across various industries but his passion for the Cannabis plant and the people who are connected in this space, are his target audience. He also speaks at conferences across the U.S. on funding, pitch deck creation and other types of business topics. He is directly involved in vetting cannabis companies who are looking for funding and trains business owners how to gain capital effectively.

The Hemp Business Advisors, Inc., was founded in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2018 and has been a platform for connecting companies across the cannabis Industry, creating dynamic business curriculum that is tailored to the needs of the industry and providing online and live presentations that motivate, inform and equip business individuals who are seeking to increase their company’s financial growth.

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MJShareholders.com is the largest dedicated financial network and leading corporate communications firm serving the legal cannabis industry. Our network aims to connect public marijuana companies with these focused cannabis audiences across the US and Canada that are critical for growth: Short and long term cannabis investors Active funding sources Mainstream media Business leaders Cannabis consumers

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