To share a pitch deck securely, you must use software services with robust cybersecurity. This software preferably includes some form of encryption with end to end encryption, which is the safest way to protect your pitch.
In this article, I’m going to show you why the security of your pitch deck is important and how to share your pitch deck securely. In this way, you can ensure your pitch does not fall into the wrong hands.
Why Pitch Deck Security is Important
The shadowy world of espionage and sabotage doesn’t belong just in the pages of a James Bond novel; for a serious businessperson with a real business plan, they are both real dangers. Whenever money is involved, especially around innovative products or services with unique selling points, stealing is sadly something we have to guard against.
Think about putting together your beautiful idea for a new product/service, amassing hundreds of hours of product development and market research time, only to have someone take your idea and sell it as their own.
Let me put this simply: This happens every day!
There are several ways to protect yourself against this, including product patents and trademarks.
However, copyright will only protect you and your business to a degree. Patents stop people from copying your idea outright, but another company could draw influence from your concept and create something that is different enough. Your competitors’ ideas could blow you out of the water, but not violate copyright.
This is especially true for large companies who can throw money and resources at a product in a way that most entrepreneurs cannot. Even if you have a head start, those with such resources can make it to market first.
Pitch deck security helps to alleviate at least some of the risk. When you’re pitching your idea to angel investors, especially if you aren’t already trading, you want to limit pitch exposure so you can control who sees it and who does not.
The problem is that robust security is required to do this.
Who Should See Your Pitch Deck?
It’s important to have a clear idea of who you want to give access to your best pitch decks. When you know this, everyone else outside of this group should be kept in the dark.
There are two categories of people who you should want to see your pitch deck. I label these categories “investment” and “networking”.
The investment category includes anyone who has the potential to invest in your business idea and help you take it forward. The networking category involves anyone who can get your pitch to those potential investors.
You could send your pitch directly to an investor in the investment category. But, you could also send it to someone you know with good business contacts and they could forward it on for you. Obviously, there’s a bigger security risk if there is a third party between you and the investor, but sometimes this is unavoidable.
It’s good if you know you can trust others with your ideas and business concepts, but unfortunately, you must still be vigilant – especially if your idea is potentially worth millions!
Who Shouldn’t See Your Pitch?
Once you have validated your business model and you are ready to get out there, make sure you restrict your pitch deck to those who need to know only. Anyone outside of this is superfluous. Sometimes you might share your deck for feedback, but try to do this with trusted parties only.
Most of all, do your best to ensure that competitors will not get their hands on your pitch deck. An existing competitor could potentially get your product to market before you. Or, at least develop some concept that solves the same problem for consumers, rendering your offering pointless.
This is where learning how to share a pitch deck during the startup fundraising process securely comes into play. You can minimize all of these issues with some good security practices
Keep Everything Secure
The first thing you should do is ensure that any computer device (tablet, laptop, smartphone, etc.) that stores a copy of your pitch deck, is secure. This means good anti-virus software, but also a solid firewall.
If your business has its own premises or operates on a large network, it needs to have good cybersecurity. If your budget allows for it, you can hire someone in IT with a background in cybersecurity to ensure your data is protected. Alternatively, you can buy commercial licenses for good cybersecurity software (McAfee, Avira, Zoho, etc.) and install it yourself.
If you have a much larger budget, get the assistance of companies like IBM that offer powerful business-wide cybersecurity.
Options for Sharing Your Pitch Deck Securely
Okay, now you have your cybersecurity sorted, let’s talk about how to share your pitch deck securely. There are many ways to do this, and they essentially come down to two approaches: Digital Vs. Paper.
In the 21st century, digital tools are better than other options for the most part, but paper copies of your pitch deck can’t be hacked. They can even be printed on Security Paper. This type of paper cannot be easily copied. It can also be watermarked uniquely for each copy of your deck. That way if your deck is copied, you know who copied it.
If you are going to send paper copies to potential investors, remember that you’ll need a trusted courier. But, you do not to be too disheartened if investors prefer digital copies for ease.
If you are using a digital option, you could use a service like Google Docs. There, you can set the access levels for any document, only allowing specific people to access it. You can also set the security level for interaction. This means that you could allow a user to view a document, but not download or edit it.
Alternatively, you could send your documents via end to end encryption. There are services like Send Safely, that allow you to do just that. A cheaper, though the less secure option, is to use a social media messaging app with end to end encryption. However, this seems less professional.
Sending your pitch by email is also an option, though this is usually less secure.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.