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 the investor or elaborate on 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 for the meeting, 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 tweak your deck to ensure that the information presented is clear enough for the investor to understand without assistance from you.

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Martin Soorjoo

Founder of The Pitch Clinic, Martin Soorjoo is a pitch strategist. He coaches entrepreneurs world-wide, helping them launch and raise funding. Prior to founding The Pitch Clinic, Martin spent 15 years as a former award winning attorney. He has worked with start-ups and investors, including senior investment bankers, venture capitalists and angel investors. During this period Martin raised several million dollars, including negotiating one deal worth $75 Million. This experience has equipped him with unique insights into the challenges start-ups face and how investors make decisions. He is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and an expert in body language.

Martin is the author of ‘Here’s the Pitch‘.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.