Dr. M.A BABU, Editor
Sealing the Deal. How do you pitch a startup?
The most important element of creating a perfect pitch deck is to make it clear, concise, and to the point. If you find that any of the imagery or information on the slides that you create is not wholly essential towards your primary goal, you should excise this information or imagery. In most cases, you’ll want to include enough information to stimulate interest and convey the core idea or concept with the most pertinent information. For instance, when Youtube presented a pitch deck to a venture capital firm, the first slide focused on the company purpose of Youtube, which was a short sentence that stated they wanted “to become the primary outlet of usergenerated video content on the internet and to allow anyone to upload, share, and browse this content”. There’s no reason to provide more information than is necessary in a pitch deck. Doing so can distract your audience from the main point of the presentation.
When it comes to the number of slides that you should use within your pitch deck, everyone has their own magic number for the perfect amount. Pitch decks typically contain about 10-12 slides, which is considered to be the ideal number for a successul pitch. Venture capitalist and marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki believes that you only need 10 slides in your pitch deck, which include everything from the title of your company to your go-to market plan. The slides that you should consider including in your pitch deck are described in detail below.
1. Company Vision and Overall Value Proposition
This should be a one-sentence explanation of what your business is and the kind of value you want to provide to customers. This sentence should be around 150 characters or less. Many startups describe their value proposition by making a comparison to other successful but similar companies. If you go this route, this comparison will need to be within the same industry or interests of your startup. Start out with a brief explanation of your business idea that immediately conveys your vision and purpose. Explain the problem that your startup is attempting to solve and why your business offers the solution. Outline how your business plans to generate revenue. Above all, avoid getting bogged down in details that distract from your message.
2. The Problem You’re Solving
No matter who you’re presenting this pitch deck to, it’s important that your business is actively looking to solve a problem. As such, you need to mention which customer faces the problem and how your product or service solves that problem. Many startups will use this slide to tell a relatable and engaging story. If you can show that the problem is a real one that customers face, you’re going to have a much easier time convincing firms that they can successfully invest in your company.
3. Primary Target Market
Use this slide to go into detail about who your primary customer is and how large the potential market may be. Try to find quantifiable data that supports the information you give on this slide. Investors will also want to see consumer spending data and similar metrics to determine current market demand. Some businesses will even divide this slide into several sections if they expect to reach multiple markets with different forms of advertising. Be specific and realistic with this slide. While being vague with your targets will likely make your potential market seem much larger, an investor or potential partner wants to be confident that you can reach the primary market and a realistic target will show that you understand your intended market.
4. The Solution
Use this slide to go into greater detail about your service or product and how it provides a solution to the problem. Explain how the product or service solves the problem that customers are facing and how your startup offers a better solution than existing incumbents. Imagery and storytelling can be very effective with this slide!
5. Your Business Model
Now that the prospective investor or partner knows what your product or service is, you will need to tell them how this product is going to generate revenue for the business. If you’re creating a content site and expect to make the brunt of your profits from advertisers, you should go into detail about why these advertisers will want to partner with you, how you’ll acquire these relationships, etc.
6. Basic Roadmap & Milestones
This is the slide where you talk about what your startup has already achieved and where you intend to go. If you’ve released your product to early adopters, this information should be noted on this slide. You could also list out some milestones that your company has reached and the ones that you expect to reach in the near future. This slide should be used to validate your product and vision for growth.
7. Market Plan
Explain on this slide how you’re going to reach the target audience and gain traction within the industry. If you’ve been working on a marketing plan and sales strategy, this information must be included on the slide and you should detail out any specifics about your plan of action to validate your approach in the eyes of your intended audience.
8. Management Team
Use this slide to explain how you and your management team are going to grow your company. Describe how the members of your management team bring unique skills to your startup and why they make great team members. Use this opportunity to mention any major investors, board of directors, and board of advisors that may be involved with your business.
9. Financial Projections
This slide is designed solely to highlight your financials, which includes your sales forecast, cash flow forecast, and profit and loss statement for at least several years (or you can display projected financials). Try to limit this information to easy-to-read charts that makes the data easier to digest for your audience.
10. Competitive Analysis
Even if you believe your company to be wholly unique, there will be some competition that you will need to contend with. Use this slide to show how your idea or product stacks up against the competition and why customers will choose to go with your product. Try to illustrate where your brand positions your product or service and what differentiates your product or service from the competition.
11. Use of Funds
This final slide is likely the most important of the group. If you’re trying to raise money, use this slide to detail how much money you need and what this funding will help your startup accomplish. Investors need to know that their funding will do for your business and how it will help you reach your business goals. A pitch deck can be an invaluable tool to any startup. Make sure that you do your research and you’ll be on your way to preparing the perfect pitch deck and increase your odds at success for you and your business!