10 slides to perfect your pitch this season
With the season for networking well underway, we’re sure many entrepreneurs are eager to meet investors and send over their pitch decks, or better yet, present them. Many began this exercise during the summer, but it always advisable to go back to the presentation and make improvements.
Following is the ten-slide framework from Sequoia Capital that has become the go-to standard for many startups across the world, as it covers almost all information an investor might need to begin with. In addition to having the following slides in your pitch deck, it is also important to recheck and evaluate how easy it is to comprehend and how clearly you are putting forth the information.
1. Company purpose
Why have you established your startup? Where do you want to be? What impact do you want to make? This is your vision. Begin with a clearly defined short one-line statement painting the bigger picture.Think of this as a declarative statement that is the beginning and end of your vision, and will set the tone for the rest of the deck.
Naturally, there has to be a gap in the market whereby a need is not being met. Simply and clearly describe this problem. It is always better if you have data supporting your statements.
More than stating the problem, it is great if you can illustrate it within 1-2 lines, helping it become relatable.
You also need to showcase how the need is being addressed, and what are the shortcomings of the current solutions in the market.
This is where you introduce your idea. There needs to be a clear and natural link to the problem.
Moreover, give details of your solution, including your USPs and key features. Here is where your slide convinces your investor that your solution has a long life and a plan moving forward in the future. It needs to showcase how it is better than the other solutions in the market.
4. Why now?
Research has, on multiple occasions, showed that timeliness is the most crucial factor determining success. Use data to showcase why the time is right for your startup to grow and fill a vacuum in the market that is about to grow further.
5. Market potential
Now that you have engaged the investor with your idea, you need to showcase the hard market potential facts.
Some of the best companies have actually created their own market. Does your idea have that potential? If yes, then explain how and why.
6. Competition / alternatives
No serious entrepreneur who has done his due diligence will omit or downplay this slide. It is crucial that you know who you are up against. A thorough slide on competitors that also shows how you are different from them and have the potential to grow bigger in their presence, will showcase your awareness and strength.
This is where you again remind your investors about your solution, but in more detail. Illustrate your product in detail, its features, functionality, architecture, as well as your intellectual property rights and development plan.
8. Business model
Fairly simple and critical slide. Investors need to know how you plan to thrive in the business. However, this is where many young entrepreneurs go awry.
Many startups, especially early on their journey, are open to pivoting and hence showcase multiple paths they could take in the future. This can have certain cons as the investor might not clearly understand your plan, or worse think you don’t know how to achieve your vision.
This is why it is of utmost importance that you know where you want to take your company and how you plan to get there. Even if you have 2-3 revenue streams, such as B2C and multiple B2B avenues, it is critical that you specifically lay them down instead of keeping them open.
One of the key determining factors for investors are the entrepreneurs themselves, as well as their team depending on how big the company is. They want to see the conviction, a clear vision, as well as an intelligently thought out path. Do not give them any reason to doubt that.
Lay down your expertise and strengths as well as those of your team. Showcase how everyone balances each other and bring a balanced set of skills and experience to the table.
Investors love to see traction. This is that last bit of perfection that you need to showcase. There are a number of accounting softwares that can help you get clean accounting reports every month, as well as help you track your growth and expenses.
Always end with your strongest slide. If you do not have strong financial operating data, then end with your team. If you do not have a strong team yet, then finish with a slide depicting immediate next steps for the future and the results that is expected to have. Always end your deck on the high note.