As the summer vacation period draws to a close, operations will soon begin to accelerate. Investors will be looking for good opportunities as the ecosystem gears up for the season. Many startups at this point might be taking these slower days to get their investor pitch decks in order.
There are many things that you must review and keep editing to perfect your deck. It is a great idea to review decks of successful startup fundings and understand the elements they got right. However, do not try to copy them very closely, because investor motivations and styles of consuming pitches have evolved.
While there is no perfect pitch deck, there are many things you can do to get the attention of investors. From painting a clear picture of what your startup does, to showcasing supporting data — all in a concise, easy to digest and clean manner.
Following are 5 most important things that you must pay more attention to clearly defining and articulating in your deck:
1. Clearly and simply articulate the problem you are trying to solve
Your startup might be helping multiple industries, having a range of markets to cater to, and large potential to grow. But the worst thing you can do is to confuse the investor with the number of ways your startup can grow. Keep things simple — find out the primary problem your company is solving.
Show where the market gap lies, and the problem being faced by the industry, as clearly as you can. Sometimes you might also have a secondary problem which you are solving with the same idea; if this is the case, by all means, include both.
2. Emphasise on how your solution will solve the problem
Use the power of storytelling to showcase how your idea is the solution to the problems you have articulated. Do not go overboard with this. Keep it short and simple, an A to B solution.
Clearly articulating and defining your idea is your strongest armour. The investors might agree or disagree, but at least they will not be confused and stop listening to what you are communicating.
3. Show the traction you have already generated
No matter which type of investor you are pitching to, you need to show traction. Whether you have won an award for your idea, gained media attention, increased clients, signed partnerships, raised funds before or have been bootstrapped and achieved profits — everything that reasonably shows that you are on track to growing your company and have people who believe in you, will help you gain their attention.
It might not guarantee an investment, but it will show your perseverance and shed a more favourable light upon you.
4. Where you stand in the market in relation to your competition
Some founders make the mistake of not including competition, or worse yet, saying that they do not have any competition because they are one of a kind. When investors hear a certain company claims to not have competition, they immediately label them as naive, and news can quickly spread to the wider investor ecosystem to multiply the damage.
Every company has competition, directly or indirectly. Netflix had cable, Amazon has supermarkets and discount stores. Be sure to mention your primary and secondary competitors and how you differentiate from them. Being transparent and showing that will win the trust of the investor as well as ease their load of thoroughly investigating the market before giving you the time of day.
5. Growth plan including marketing strategy
Naturally, their money will be used to scale up your startup, hence they need to know how exactly, step-by-step do you plan to achieve this — from marketing to increasing operations.
Marketing is one of the strongest tools to reach out to potential customers, and it is best if you use data and numbers to support your marketing strategy.
The most important thing to keep in mind when building your pitch deck is to articulate every slide, problem, solution, USP, data, traction, plans and such in the most clear, simple and concise language. It makes information easy to digest and increases trust. Try asking for advice from your connections, have a few people review it, or even ask a professional writer to help you correctly pen your ideas. Get the basics correct and that is a major step towards fundraising done right.