Create a Winning Startup Pitch Deck
No one ever said raising capital for a business is easy. This is exactly why startups should always prepare a startup pitch deck to attract potential investors. The best presentation deck has the power to convince them why your startup is the right investment.
Have you ever done a major presentation for a group of people? The idea alone may scare anyone who’s not used to speaking in front of a crowd. But for entrepreneurs who want to get their ideas funded, there’s no going around it.
Typically, founders pitch a potential product to a room full of investors using a startup pitch deck. It conveys the startup’s story and explains why investors should put a stake in their business ideas.
So, before your next presentation, you need to prepare for it. In this article, we’ll show you the steps to create a compelling pitch deck that will surely win over the investors’ attention.
What is a Startup Pitch Deck?
Essentially, a startup pitch deck is a short presentation made by entrepreneurs to articulate their business plan to prospective investors. You use this during online meetings or live pitching events with investors, clients, and business partners.
A presentation deck usually contains 19 slides or less of texts and visuals. It’s a brief overview of the startup as an investment potential. To successfully seal that capital funding, it must be simple and straightforward. Moreover, your pitch deck has to be compelling enough to drive investors to action—which is to invest in your startup.
Important Slides in a Startup Pitch Deck
Your investor pitch deck should include these topics:
In the Company Overview slide, it summarizes the following:
- What your business is and the problem it tries to solve
- why you’re here, and others.
Keep in mind, this slide is not meant to be a complete “About Company” page. Instead, keep it short and sweet. The point here is to hook the viewers’ attention and let them see you as a promising startup worth considering.
The next slide explains your reasons for launching this company. Why did you create your product or provide this service? What problem does it aim to solve? Your presentation should answer these questions.
As an example, Full Scale was built to provide a quick and affordable solution for startup owners looking to build a software development team. We saw a glaring demand for software developers that the United States currently can’t meet. Hence, our goal is to close that gap by providing top-tier remote developers from the Philippines.
Of course, there needs to be a pain point that customers can relate to and which investors can understand why it needs to be addressed.
In contrast, the Solutions slide in your investor pitch deck talks about the solution to the problems stated in the previous slide. This is where you propose a solution, and then explain why it’s the best in the industry. What makes it special and different from your competitors?
Additionally, these solutions need to scalable. This is especially true for tech startups. Scalability is the ability to grow the total outcome as you increase the resources. Investors want to know if your startup can scale efficiently when certain factors happen.
Also, refrain from saying that you’re the pioneer or the only one who has the solution. Chances, there may be others who were ahead of you with that idea. Other startups could be working on the same problem but from a different approach.
This pitch deck slide highlights the market opportunities for your product or service. What market does it belong to? What is the size of your market? This area attempts to predict the scope of the market that your startup will address.
Generally, a market will confirm an investor’s exit strategy. Keep in mind, operating in a small market may significantly impact your returns. Some investors are not keen on a market worth less than $1 billion, especially in high-growth industries. It’s because investors are looking at investments that will earn 10x return within a period of five to seven years.
In essence, investors search for startups that won’t only revolutionize the industry but transform the consumers’ behavior towards the market. In this slide, outline its past market growth and its potential in the future. This gives investors an estimate on their Return on Investment (ROI) if they decide to invest in it. Make sure to back up your information with facts.
This is a slide that puts the spotlight on your products or services. To make it more appealing, include key descriptions about the product. You may also add some testimonials from past or existing customers on product satisfaction.
The Product pitch slide should include your product’s key features and benefits. It answers the key features that make it stand out. Are there other products in the pipeline? Make sure to add more videos and images to support the written explanations.
Your Traction slide in the startup pitch deck shows your company’s month-on-month growth. This may include revenues, sales, no. of leads, etc. it gives investors an idea of whether these metrics justify its potential.
Ideally, you may want to add this to the pitch deck each time. However, for new or early-stage startups, you don’t have much traction to prove. In that case, avoid adding this slide until you have great numbers to show off.
Additionally, you can include the number of partnerships completed, press coverage, industry awards, and strategies to accelerate your startup’s traction.
This is one of the critical slides in the startup pitch deck. Investors want to know if you have the right people on the team to execute the company’s vision. Showcase the key leadership team and describe each member.
List their role in the company, educational background, work experience, and history. Also, include their achievements and the value they bring to the startup. A team made up of people with diverse skills and experience has a greater chance of weathering any obstacles that the startup may encounter along the way.
How is your startup unique from the rest? In this slide, you want to clearly explain what differentiates you from the competitors. It answers possible questions such as:
- Who are the various players in the market?
- What’s your competitive edge over the others?
- What features make your product stand out from that of a competitor?
Before creating this slide, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the competition in the industry. Otherwise, the investors can tell that you aren’t prepared enough to cope in a competitive landscape.
It answers that all-important question – “how do you make money?” Even if your startup is not making money yet, investors still want to know if your business model can sustain the growth and profitability of the company. The last thing investors need is to invest in a business model that doesn’t work.
Some examples of a business model are franchising, direct sales, freemium, and paid subscription (for example, Netflix’s 1-month free trial), advertising, affiliate marketing, and others. Include in the Business Model slide your pricing model, a customer’s long-term value, and the costs of customer acquisition.
It can be risky to make financial projections, especially for startups that haven’t made tractions yet. However, projections allow investors to estimate where the business is going in three to five years.
Aside from this slide, prepare a spreadsheet copy of your financials. Some investors may need to review a file format along with the pitch deck. You don’t have to provide a full detail; all you need is a summary of the financials.
More importantly, don’t make far-fetched projections; investors can tell if these projections are impossible to achieve. You don’t want to promise investors that you’ll increase revenues by 50%, only to fail on this promise at a later time.
Finally, we’re almost at the end of the startup pitch deck! It’s not time to celebrate yet as you still need to address a couple of things in this slide.
Also known as “The Ask” slide, it’s the part where you say the amount of money you’re seeking. It’s a good idea to express the amount in range, say $3-5 million, instead of a specific amount. Remember, some investment firms put a cap on their investments. So, if they don’t meet your exact amount, they may have to decline this opportunity.
Additionally, explain how long the financing will take, and how you intend to use the proceeds. If you already have existing investors, make sure to include them in the slide, as well.
Impress Investors with a Killer Pitch Deck
If you’re a new startup founder, then you know the challenges of raising money to fund your business. Pitching your idea to potential investors can be a nail-biting experience in and of itself.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you prepare for this moment. The best way to do this is through a persuasive pitch deck.
If you’re serious about securing that investor funding, you need a compelling story that captures the investors’ interests. A great startup pitch deck should concretely explain your products or services. It also highlights ways your company can fill a gap in the market.
Most importantly, your presentation must address how your investors’ will make money. After all, that’s their ultimate goal. You might have the brightest idea but if they can’t profit from it, they are less likely to give it any attention.
By following the tips shared in this article, you’ll be able to seal the investment and set off your startup ideas into motion. If you need help with creating a pitch deck that gets the nod from investors, talk to the experts who have gone through it.
Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are luminaries in Kansas City’s startup circuit. They are the tandem behind Full Scale, a software offshoring firm that provides top-tier software development services to up-and-coming startups.