Raising money for your business? In the short amount of time that you get for presenting your pitch, it is an absolute must that you do everything in your power to keep the Investor’s attention glued towards you.
With thousands of entrepreneurs pitching to VCs, the task of ensuring that investors listen to every minute detail about your pitch has become nothing short of an Art. Now it’s well-known that you need an impressive pitch deck for fundraising. A well-designed pitch deck gets potential investors excited about your idea and engages them in a positive conversation about your business, hopefully leading to an investment. More importantly, it’s required to understand your audience and deliver a pitch that exceeds their expectations.
Over the years, Scientity has helped several businesses raise over $100 million in funding and selling top of the range products for companies ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups building decks with amazing designs and a great story.
Based on that learning, here are the 9 most important slides in the order which has worked for our pitch decks with their actual designs that went into creating these decks:
- Brand Statement
Every brand needs a well crafted and concise statement that lays out clearly: “What’s the Big Idea?”
This single line is worth spending hundreds of hours on, as it is the most valuable sentence you’ll put together on the pitch deck. And that’s because it immediately tells the investor what the business is about and whether they would be the right fit for it or not. Ideally, Investors will want a piece of the pie, if they have experienced the same problem and if they understand how they can play a role to help solve it.
The opening slide clearly outlines what the presentation is about here. Since the presentation is for inviting partners for a new business venture in a new category altogether, the video element serves the dual purpose of educating the customers, highlights possibilities and at the same time brings great excitement for those new to the element.
- Problem Opportunity
More in-depth information about your business can be shared in detail in problem slide than any other slide. Every problem that you list here is a direct indicator of a solution you have that enables a resolution. The key is to highlight the problems in the order that best benefits your cause. What investors want to know is how big is the problem that needs solving and will the problems be ever big enough to have a large customer base, big enough to give enough returns on the investment.
Avoid deep-diving into the limitations of the solutions available currently. A simple one-liner should be enough. Additionally, more specific your problem, smaller the customer base, this pushes the cost of the solution upwards due to lower demand ultimately making the solution non-viable in the long run.
Product or Proposition slide or the solution slide is a direct opportunity to sell your idea. This is the point when Investors expect to see real solutions to the problems you are trying to solve. Hence, they expect a strong sales pitch here. Optimize the opportunity and do talk about why the solution is the best fit to solve the problem. Depending upon what kind of product or service your business offers, a demo would be in place here as well. If you have limitations due to space etc. because of which a demo would not be possible, you could choose to show a video, images or screenshots of the same separately as well in the slide.
Entrepreneurs fall too often in the trap of talking about their product when they should be focused on their customers and the problem they face. Try to keep the investors focused on this and you will be able to share a better story. Focus on the product too much and you risk getting stuck in the nitty-gritty that doesn’t matter.
- Market Potential
As the name suggests, the slide is about how many customers are or will be potentially interested in buying from your business. This slide acts as a guiding principle for the investors in terms of overall scalability of the business and the potential of the business to not only give great returns to the investor but also does it have the potential to become a unicorn or a multi-million dollar business or will it end up shutting down eventually for lack of traction.
Going global is every business dream, however, it may not be feasible based on the current investment, hence, quoting the size of the overall industry in the world may not work in your favor. For e.g. a statement like ‘the current market size is a billion dollars’, generally acts as a red flag as most investors now see it as lack of knowledge of the immediate market that your business is targeting. Always quote potential based on real figures of the market that directly relates to your industry and target audience.
- Journey to the Future
It’s like what Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary says. “If It’s not making money, take it behind the barn and shoot it”. Ultimately, all businesses have one goal. To make money. Lots of it, unless it’s a charity. So, if you want to make sure that your pitch ends with an investment, be sure to list out all potential revenue streams possible. Try to share statistics for the future based on current facts, e.g. by when you plan to break even, venture out to newer markets, etc.
Of course, no one can predict what will happen in the future, but a clear vision or plan for the future is what each investor looks forward to. Failure at this may not end in the investor saying no to the investment if till now they were pleased with what you had to offer, but this is one slide where investors try to seek fault to get more equity for their investment or get an advantage. Hence, planning for the future plays an equally important role, else it might just lead to an expensive investment offer.
- Competitive Landscape
“No competition!” | “We are the first to enter the market!”
It might just be true. But quite often it’s not and if the investor proves it to be the case, then that would simply reflect poorly upon you due to the poor research. Being the only one in the game also could mean that the problem is not big enough or viable enough for others who thought of it before you. So, make sure you truly are unique in the space.
When you have competition, never bad mouth them, however, make sure to highlight how your business is better than others. Build on your competitor’s success. Don’t just say how you are different, try to always show the difference. Steve Blank’s ‘Petal diagram’ is great for this as well.
Always keep your cool while Pitching. Investors throw tough questions to check how you react and respond. If you are great at sales, you should be able to tackle most questions. And always make sure to be sure of the numbers you quote, figures you share. Always check and double-check.
Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a bootstrapped startup, a great team is a key to success. So, highlighting the potential of your team is key here. Highlight every aspect that you believe is an asset for your startup but remove everything that is not relevant. Gaps in the information here are strong Red Flags that investors like to avoid.
Investors invest in your business that’s true, but they also want a return on your investment. This means they like to see a strong team capable enough to achieve the goals envisioned. Your team member’s skills, responsibilities, and roles must be clearly laid out, visible and easily understood by the investors.
Highlight all that your startup has achieved. After all, it’s the result of long hours and sleepless nights. So, showcase traction, profitability if any, product achievements, or significant moments of success in the journey so far. Additionally, you should also highlight the list of accomplishments you wish to achieve once you get the investment. This clearly indicates your insights and shows better planning.
Have a clear ask. Know your numbers and you must know how much you need and how long will your startup survive with that investment.‘Monthly Cash Burn’ as the name suggests refers to the amount of money you spend to run the startup. This too plays an important role in your math for the amount of investment you ask for.
Always Remember:Based on the situation your startup is in, it’s always a good idea to ask for about 25% extra as a buffer for the worst-case scenarios.
Points to keep in mind:
The difference between the standard pitch deck and an awesome one is two important elements that most entrepreneurs tend to miss out on:
- Great Story
- Awesome Design
Strong data points are great but when the slides of a pitch deck are stitched together with a great story, it makes the presentation cohesive. At the same time, a great design not only helps in elevating the look of the presentation, it also engages the audience from the start to the end. The slide samples shown in this post are real life pitch decks created for some of our clients. At Scientity, we make sure to use great design elements in every pitch deck:
Design Elements like:
- Contextual Videos
- Infographics that visualize data better
- Animations and Transitions that highlight the story better
- Overlays that focus the attention onto key content pieces
- And so much more.
And all the slides are brought stitched together with a great story transforming each deck into a visual masterpiece.
So, does your pitch deck need a makeover?
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