What’s the WORST pitchdeck error you’ve ever seen?

I'll start. The client's 10-year financial projections (based on user count) were on the basis of exponential growth. And by the time he got to year 10, he didn't have to forecast anymore because by year 8 he had already attracted 1.26 Billion Users for his app, and was raking in $636B EBITDA per year. Great job buddy.

Comments (74)

Aug 6, 2018

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    • 10
Aug 6, 2018

Lol, my old MD always found a way to make our boutique tech M&A shop #1 in something so niche there were less than a couple dozen firms even active in the space.

    • 3
Funniest
Aug 6, 2018

haha, you can see this even with BB annual investor presentations.

1 bank in the mid-large corporate* acquisition market

*(>$747MM - <$751MM acquisition size)

    • 70
Aug 6, 2018

.

Aug 7, 2018

Giving away the name of another client basically by using a previous presentation as the template and forgetting to replace all the correspondences. Damn.

    • 3
Aug 8, 2018

harsh

Aug 13, 2018

Savage*

Aug 7, 2018
thefamilyofficesdb:

I'll start. The client's 10-year financial projections (based on user count) were on the basis of exponential growth. And by the time he got to year 10, he didn't have to forecast anymore because by year 8 he had already attracted 1.26 Billion Users for his app, and was raking in $636B EBITDA per year. Great job buddy.

10 year projections are retarded in and of themselves. Might as well tape a Magic 8-Ball to a piece of cardboard and slap a title page on it.

"H-here you go. Now where the FUCK is my goddamn retainer? Soothsaying isn't cheap, bub."

    • 7
Aug 8, 2018

Bank not even including any profitability figures even though it was a well-established company. You're just asking for people to assume the business is struggling or worse

    • 1
Aug 8, 2018

Had a bake-off against a BB that had a book riddled with formatting issues but the best had to be a REF error showing on one of their excel links

    • 10
Aug 8, 2018

Yikes, that is bad.

    • 1
Aug 8, 2018

How did you get to see their book?

Aug 8, 2018

Our team sat in on the meeting and was given a copy because we were pitching as joint-book runners. Really odd set up but our associate was able to bring the book back for all our amusement.

Aug 8, 2018

IB team spelled my name wrong in the WGL that got included in the final deck :(

    • 1
Aug 15, 2018

did they accidentally call you john123068?

    • 29
Aug 15, 2018

lmao, good one. no they misspelled my real name hahah

    • 1
    • 1
Aug 15, 2018

Yeah but then there were 10 more distributions of the WGL, and at some point it probably got corrected...

Aug 8, 2018

Well known investment bank spelled the company's name wrong throughout the deck and also used a pitch template that had the wrong coverage group on the front cover.

    • 2
Apr 29, 2019

Company name wrong as in missing an apostrophe? or was it like Wammart instead of Walmart

Aug 8, 2018

I've seen a Strengths/Weaknesses slide make it to committee with the classic [need to downplay this point or credit is going to hammer us].

    • 15
Aug 18, 2018
dr_mantistoboggan_MD:

I've seen a Strengths/Weaknesses slide make it to committee with the classic [need to downplay this point or credit is going to hammer us].

This one is brutal.

All you interns / first years, make this a standard part of your double checks before you send out any draft!
Ctrl+F "TBU"
Ctrl+F "["
Ctrl+F "]"
Ctrl+F "Update"

If it's a complete draft you'll catch any huge screwups, and if it's an in-progress draft you'll be able to verify that all your TBUs / bracketed items are appropriately represented.

    • 6
Aug 20, 2018

Yeah...but pdf it first in case any of those relics are in an embedded excel or word file.

    • 2
Aug 23, 2018

don't forget
Ctrl+F "cite"
Ctrl+F "insert"

Aug 13, 2018

When I was in IB, we put together a product comparison chart for a potential client who took offense to us rating his product lower in one category than a competitor's and decided to go with another bank. They told us we're lying and he doesn't hire liars.

Not pitchbook-related, but once had a banker send me emails addressing me by various names. It was pretty obvious he got us confused with another strategic.

    • 5
Aug 13, 2018

The deck they show you at training the street where Tony the Tiger is pasted unevenly on the top right of every slide and dances as you go down

Also the slide that obviously didn't get used but when I was an intern I didn't know we had a photoshop team or whatever they're called and drew the map of the U.S. using MS paint.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

    • 20
Aug 13, 2018

Instant bonus if I was your superior there.

    • 3
Aug 14, 2018

This is a major BB in the fairness and board decks on a $50bn+ deal you've all heard about:

They have only a couple of comps and because the comps output has logos instead of names, when they price updated, the rank-sorting switched the order but they didn't update the logos. So the comps are now completely fucked. For example, Amazon has Walmart's financials and Walmart has Amazon's financials. Just plainly mislabeled. Pretty sure if people knew which deal, they'd be filing a shareholder lawsuit as we speak.

    • 4
Aug 15, 2018

Logos on a comps output. Good lord. Classic ultra-high-risk / super-low-return move by the MD. Note to senior bankers: By the time you get to committee / board, it's a pretty safe bet that you're already hired...

Aug 14, 2018

When I was an intern, a director made me paint over a guy's goatee because we were using a picture of the guy we stole from the internet. The director wanted it to look "professional" and we didn't have Photoshop (graphics understandably refused to alter a picture of some random hedge fund PM who didn't even work at our IB), so I recolored pixel by pixel trying to match his skin tone. It actually looked okay. We also stole another PM's picture where he was holding a fish, so we just cropped it above the neck.

    • 17
Aug 14, 2018

Not an error. REALLY funny though, because once upon a time I could imagine my chairman making me do that, because "either you grow a full beard in a weekend, or you shave it off" was a directive I got once.

    • 1
Aug 16, 2018

That was a wild ride of a story. +1 SB

Aug 14, 2018

When I reconstructed a sell side pitchbook I realized that they had been ADDING taxes to the pre-tax revenue in their model.

    • 4
Aug 14, 2018
Attack_Chihuahua:

When I reconstructed a sell side pitchbook I realized that they had been ADDING taxes to the pre-tax revenue in their model.

:D
Speaking of which, capital raising pitchbook where year 3 cash balance goes to NEGATIVE 5.5 million. That's a classic.

Aug 14, 2018

Group next to me has hanging on the wall in their pit a page from a near final LP that reads "$xxxMM Ass-on Term Loan B" in the title. I hope LP_vF2 got printed.

    • 1
Aug 15, 2018

"Pubic Finance" instead of Public Finance

Investment "Baking"

Pubic was caught, investment "baking" took a couple decks to notice haha

    • 3
Aug 16, 2018

If I was on the other side of the table, I might actually give credit for pubic finance. After I'm done spitting coffee through my nose.

Aug 18, 2018

Goes to show how stupidly precious and conceded you have become from this industry.

Who gives a shit if once in a while it has baking instead. Everyone knows what it's meant to mean. Move on and get a grip on reality and what actually matters in life. Loser

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Aug 15, 2018

I've seen a slew of embarrassing book errors where the Associate/VP who's directing the model got way too excited about making it "robust" with 5 financing scenarios, 3 purchase price scenarios, 4 post-acquisition spin scenarios etc etc. And then when it comes time to print the book (always after a last minute round of worthless comments 3 hours before the flight) the junior team is rushing around and inevitably pastes the wrong model output because the cases weren't set perfectly.

Happened so much I started calling it The Manhattan Project. As in "hey Mr. VP, this is just a simple model, if you're going to turn it into The Manhattan Project then at least agree to sign off well before printing so we it doesn't become a shitshow."

    • 1
Aug 15, 2018

Couple that I have seen this month:

1) Spelling the client's / CEO's name wrong multiple times through the deck

2) Forgetting that 10Ks are reported in 000,000 so $45 million becomes $4.50 in revenue while showing it on a graph with competitors being in millions

3) Using the wrong stock ticker for a foreign company and then showing all of the wrong financials

    • 2
Aug 15, 2018

an AVP where the % change in share price was not locked on current share price - effectively compounding the effect and you have multiples of 100x ebitda... pretty silly mistake on a key page

Aug 15, 2018

We put panoramic photos on our cover sheet. I was doing a deck for Chinese PE fund, and I put a panoramic of a Taiwanese national monument on the cover. It looked Chinese (and culturally it is) but that is a major political faux pas to put Taiwan's national monuments on China's PE deck. Kind of like putting a North Korean statue picture on a South Korean deck, etc.

    • 16
Aug 19, 2018

Holy shit

Aug 19, 2018

We have a winner.

Also, what country was this presented in?

Aug 23, 2018

It was presented in China.

Some guy part way through was like.... "wait, isn't that... (wait for it)
Taiwan???"

    • 1
Aug 21, 2018

This is another one of those classic low reward, high risk additions to a presentation

Aug 23, 2018

Seriously.
I had just image searched for "Chinese building panoramic"
I got tired of seeing pics of the Great Wall on our deck week after week.
Oh well.

I was working for a major Chinese PE firm at the time.

Aug 15, 2018

Nowhere near as bad as some of these, but in a pitch the partner wanted us to swap out one financial sponsor for another with very similar names about 5 mins before printing, but we forgot to update the logo, so it ended up having ones logo and the others name listed. Honestly not very bad, but the phone call he gave us before the pitch may have been the worst I ever got. I think it was the first client he sourced one hundred percent independently so thats probably why.

Aug 20, 2018

MDs who make changes 5 minutes before the pitch are asking for trouble. You'll sooner hard boil an egg in 30 seconds as have a banking team check an entire deck for errors (and fix the ones they find) in 5 minutes.

Aug 18, 2018

Not too crazy but one of my Analysts recently sent a Disposition deck over and made the property we were considering selling sound like some type of AIDs infested crack den. I'm like dude, we have to take this to our LPAC, they're going to think we're mental for ever having bought this property if we show them this. I told him to include data that "tells the story we want to tell" and he includes pictures of the fucking paint chipping. Super literal guy, cracks me up.

Aug 23, 2018

if your property has AIDS you can probably get it at a discount, right?

Aug 23, 2018

Depends on the absorption rate.

    • 1
Aug 19, 2018

Not a pitch deck, but when I did an equity research rotation I put a few Zoolander jokes in the writeup.
I even called the title of the doc "the center for kids who can't read good."
The other associates got a kick out of it so I just kept editing that doc, always intending to remove the little jokes.
When it came time to submit the report, I failed to correct the title.
So, yeah, I submitted an equity research report with a Zoolander title, and a joke in the body.
It didn't go well.

    • 3
Aug 20, 2018

Was this for a company that offered tutoring services/ after school programs? If so I would lose it hahah

Aug 20, 2018

This was a model not pitchbook error very similar to OP story, but I saw one analyst for a huge developer completely mess up the rental growth rate for a $750mm construction project. Instead of growing rents at 3% a year, he grew them at 3% per month. I mean all I had to do was look at the apartment rents doubling in one year to immediately realize something was fcked, no clue how it got all the way to us (brokers) before anyone noticed. Pretty sure he was fired lol.

Aug 23, 2018

awww,,, hope they don't fire him.
Yes, stupid error.
But too funny to fire.

Aug 20, 2018

I see errors all the time. Bankers don't know much about industry in general. Calc errors fairly common.

    • 1
Aug 20, 2018

"Pussibly" instead of "Possibly"

Aug 21, 2018

This is one of my new favorite threads.
1) Fucking hysterical, especially since I'm still outside the ring
2) Super useful to know about these ahead of time and hopefully catch most of them in the future.

Numbers are history, and businesses are historians.

    • 5
Aug 23, 2018

I let my analyst work on it.
I mean, talk about a colossal error.

Aug 23, 2018

One trick (for the newbies) is to print out the PPT, get your supervisor to make the comments directly onto the printouts.
Then once you go thru the PPT, and make the changes, highlight the changes that you completed.
That way no missed corrections enter into the final pitchbook.

    • 1
Aug 25, 2018

intern was working on something related to Deutsche, first sentence contained the term "Deutsche Bang"..

Aug 25, 2018

Allow me to clarify something for you. We don't actually read your pitchbooks.

Aug 25, 2018

Your bosses have almost no reason to ask you to do them. I can't imagine anyone on the buy-side gets their information from a pitch. If I ask for specific numbers, it's because I need some slides formatted, and the bankers have more junior leverage than I do.

Sep 2, 2018
Comment
    • 1
Oct 30, 2018
Jun 6, 2019
Comment

JUST DO IT. Don't let your memes be dreams.