Being brief and convincing is one of the essential skills to write a startup pitch deck and to present your idea to investors or anyone else. It’s a good practice to find opportunities around and practising as much as you can.
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I’m about to walk you through the pitch that I use for clients and personal projects. The structure has been refined widely with more than 150+ pitches done so far.
Slide 1: Company Purpose
Company purpose is the first slide your investors see, that comes just after the TITLE page.
It’s the very first hook that has to be smart and catchy enough to get the attention of your audience and walk them through the deck with active curiosity and focus!
Usually, this slide is a single declarative sentence.
In the film industry, this slide is the LOGLINE of the movie you’re about to introduce. If you don’t know what a LOGLINE is well, let’s say that it’s the soul of your company or project.
It’s a one-liner that explains your project mission.
ARKiD is a platform to help toymakers to empower existing toys with digital interactive content.
ARKiD gifs parents a solution to cut toy spend, waste and save space!© ARKID ~ WHERE TOYS BECOME ALIVE
Slide 2: Problem
You have created the curiosity and set the tone. Now, it’s time to bring the audience back to reality outlining how the customer/target audience addresses the issue today.
Usually, this is a slide that I use with some ironic tone, just to state some obvious problems that they may have experienced in their life. (if I know a bit about their background).
The problems/facts outlined in this slide don’t have to be a long list, but they have to set the right magnitude to justify why your project has to become a reality.
Slide 3: Solution
In a hypothetical sinusoidal flow, the Solution slide is the second peak after Slide 1. Because after having outlined the problems you are about to tell that everything you mentioned in the problem slide will be solved thanks to you, and your project! 🙂
This is the place where you present the value proposition, and it’s clear that you are going to make customers’ lives better.
Most of the times, I create this slide by tackling the list of problems listed before and re-writing them as solution-based bullet points.
These three slides above can be grouped, and the speech that you are going to prepare has to be cohesive and give the right onboarding flow to your audience. Thanks to section one, your investors have an idea of your project, and their faces will start resonating – hopefully in a positive way (someone might nod)!
Slide 4: Why Not?
The “WHY NOT” slide is there to avoid your audience to run away within their thoughts and to misunderstand you.
It’s a valuable opportunity for you to position your project in the current trend and, mostly, from a future perspective.
Sometimes, it’s essential to have a brief state-of-the-art of the industry you are in and to highlight why a solution like the one you are proposing doesn’t exist.
Many times, I’ve seen friends using timelines to represent the evolution of how the relationships between the problem and the solution have been throughout the years.
“5G is around the corner when someone will seriously invest in AR Glasses, ARKiD will be in front of everyone’s eyes – bye bye smartphones!”.© ARKID ~ WHERE TOYS BECOME ALIVE
Slide 5: Market Size
This slide is data-driven, and represent the size of the market that you are targeting and that will make you rich! 🙂
Making this slide requires research on both the customer and the market itself.
GOOGLE is your friend: I usually type “#somekeywords market report” and start skimming through insights that are in line with my assumptions.
Once you have enough data that can explain your proposition, the very best way to build the slide is to calculate the TAM (Total Available Market), SAM (Serviceable Available Market) and SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market).
When I walk them through this slide, I highlight the numbers I found and narrow down the segments along with my assumptions of market penetration.
Slide 6: Competition
OK. You aren’t very likely the only player if money is involved!
Do competitor research on some dimensions that are representative of the industry you are. Categorised your competitors, by putting them in a matrix or a table and position yourself in the position you think you should sit depending on the same dimensions.
From here, it should be easy to understand your competitive advantages, if they aren’t so easy to detect visually list them down close to the matrix.
Don’t speak badly of your competitors; explain why they don’t solve the problems you stated in slide two that your project instead solves efficiently.
These other three slides create the second section of your pitch deck which positions your project into the reality, giving plenty of insights to the audience in term of profitability and chances to survive in the chosen market.
Slide 7: Product
So far you’ve lured the attention with your claims, stated your mission and positioned your project in a market segment that will likely make you profitable – but what’s you’re building.
The product slide should be somewhat more straightforward for you to write. You have to state your product’s main features, the architecture, functionalities and so on.
My usual slide is a charming and elegant flow chart showing the high-level ecosystem of the main components and how they do work together, creating the “economy”.
The cherry on the cake is to highlight the IP (intellectual property) that you created or the patents that you already have registered.
I’ve seen many adding also a development pipeline/roadmap, but for me, it’s way too much for this slide. My mission with this slide is to let them understand – high-level – the product that I’m creating.
Slide 8: Business Model
This slide could be called: “How Do I Make Money” because it should have a clear and well-formulated understanding of your revenue model.
What I usually do is splitting this slide into two slides.
In the first one, I create the revenue ecosystem (similar to the product ecosystem), and I show how the ecosystem generates its economy, while in the second slide I create up to 3 possible scenarios with actual data that simulates potential revenues.
Slide 9: Team
It’s time for you to introduce your founders, team and advisors. You’re about to end the presentation, and with this slide, you can rest a bit, and release some tension, by presenting others.
Usually, it’s good to have a headshot and a brief bio per member of the project – very specific on the work she does in your venture (including yourself) – because if you send the pitch via pdf, they will (hopefully) remember of you by looking at your face! 🙂
You are now ready to jump on the most tricky slide!
Slide 10: Financials
This is the call to action if you want to raise money, this is the place in which you ask how much you want.
I usually like to prepare the slide with a roadmap/timeline so I can put those funds into a future perspective explaining my reasoning for future growth.
If your startup already generates P&L, it’s a good practice to add it there and to describe how the investment can influence a 5-year plan.
Be clear on the DEAL that you want to make. Selling is art, and you need practice so don’t be too scared about this slide, they won’t give you money straight away in any case, create a relationship.
That’s why, for example, I prepare separated documents for the Cap Table or Financial Plan, that can be discussed after the pitch or in another meeting.
To conclude, you create a “THANK YOU” slide with your contacts.
Then after or while they start shooting questions, I jump on a slide called FAQ that is a risk registry categorised on two dimensions: Technical, Business related, that helps me to reply to the most boring questions.
With this slide on the background, I listen and respond to the questions, and sometimes I jump back on specific slides to explain some tricky passages; usually, you’ll end up going back to the Product or Business Model slide (the revenue scenarios!!).
That’s all, folks! I hope you succeed with your pitch in front of the most generous investors, and If you need help with your pitch deck, drop a comment below.
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