Launching and scaling a new startup requires capital. Raising from investors is an obvious way to accelerate growth, however it can often be difficult for a new business to make themselves visible to the right people. Putting together a strong pitch deck can be the make or break in ensuring your startup articulates a compelling and interesting story, gets the attention it deserves and gains the traction it needs.
Tell a story
According to a recent study of 200 startup pitch decks, investors spend an average of 3 minutes, 44 seconds reading one deck so keep it snappy. Before starting on a deck you need to identify the right investors. You’ll have much better luck securing investment with someone who is already all about investing in your type of company. Your deck should be on brand and tailored accordingly.
A great pitch deck should demonstrate a strong business model backed up by data. A strong presentation will deliver focussed and accurate information packaged in way that demonstrates your unique position. It should have a clear ask at the end which is justified through the research data.
A presentation will normally be 15–20 pages produced in Powerpoint or Keynote. The length is important as a startup needs to hold the attention of the potential investor to explain why their idea is a good product and a good investment. Too many slides or lack of direction and minds begin to wonder.
Pitch the problem
‘Why’ does your startup exist? Identifying a legitimate problem immediately begins to define purpose. A startup needs to answer the right questions. Potential investors should 1st be educated on the problem before providing the solution. Concisely outline the problem, back this up with research, outline who it specifically aims to solve the problem for, and how it will work.
Convince your investor that you are qualified to solve the problem. What is your magic formula and how you will implement it. Explaining how you’ll prove your value potential is essential.
Investors need to see what your product looks like and how it works. Providing screenshots of your product in action with some description and testimonials from existing clients will help validate your financial projections, and demonstrate how you differentiate in a competitive market.
“The ideas that we back and the entrepreneurs we back — there’s so much conviction about the inevitability of success, it’s contagious.”
Chris Sacca — Investor Twitter, Kickstarter, Instagram, & Uber
Investors want a thoughtful analysis on how you expect to create revenue, your unique market opportunity, and the competitive landscape you sit within. Give them figures on how many customers exist for your product, how you expect to increase them and what you’ll deliver to these customers. Being driven and optimistic is great — over inflated figures can however have an adverse effect.
Make data engaging
A pitch deck is first and foremost a visual aid. Visualise data about growth, revenue and expenses and then work on contextualizing and explaining that information. The numbers and analysis will demonstrate your in depth knowledge of your market, and will enforce your problem and solution.
You should outline your plans for the future and be clear on the amount of money you are trying to raise. Ask your potential investor what you need in terms of contribution. Investors need to know about financial data in order to determine whether or not your your business is a sound investment.
Investors invest in people
Dedicate a slide to identifying your management team. Many investors believe that a company’s team is the most important determinant on whether or not to invest.
The more passionate and well informed you can appear, the more investors will feel you believe in your idea. Include pictures of key team members, their titles and any relevant experience and expertise, and try to involve them in the presentation. Investors want to see examples of how you succeeded in the past, got things done, and are ready for the challenge.
Defining your purpose by working out ‘Why’ is crucial. If you know why your product exists and you can explain why you believe in it, you can begin getting others to believe in it too. Good design will help tell your story with clarity and conviction.
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