a lot of pitch decks I review have a slide that shouldn’t be there: the exit strategy slide. Your slide deck should only have an exit strategy slide if you run a very late stage company that is about to go public, and even then you probably wouldn’t have it as a slide on a financing deck , but as a whole, separate IPO plan. As an early stage startup, it’s downright nonsensical and shouldn’t be part of your pitch deck at all.

For many founders, an exit — or a “liquidation event,” as the legal aficionados often call it — is the big pot of gold at the end of a very long and arduous journey. The same goes for investors; if there’s a takeover or a public listing, that’s how everyone gets paid. Plus, some of the old pitch deck templates floating around the web have an exit strategy slide, so it makes sense that people still make this mistake.

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Two things are true: one is that the best companies are bought, not sold. It is unlikely that you will know in advance exactly who will buy your business. Second, your job as a founder is to build the best company possible.

It just doesn’t make sense to make early decisions to turn the company into something someone would want to buy; it blinds you to some of the other options and opportunities that might arise.


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