In the past 5 years, I meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs and developers that were starting a new company.
In many cases, it was during a pitch or mentoring session.
I learn a lot from these meetings.
One surprising learning was a common intimidation from pitching your startup. If there is one thing that entrepreneurs are really afraid from is this moment of true, when they need to sell.
Let’s not get into the why here but focus on what can reduce this stress.
If you think about it, it’s a way for you to gain trust and show that you can deliver.
No one (with experience) want to see that you got all the answers but investors do want to see that you are thinking on the right issues and you have a plan. It’s true, that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” but it’s still valuable to see such a plan.
Here is the template for a good pitch deck. The one I will use myself and tell my kid to use.
You can feel free to add slides but please keep in mind that your presentation should not be longer than 15 slides as you want to finish it under 20min and leave room for open conversation.
- Executive Summary
- Competitive advantage
- Business model
- Go To Market Plan
- KPI and Financial projections
- How Much?
- Executive Summary
“God Is In The Details”
So let’s see what we should put on each slide.
Make sure you use a large font (28+) and less is more in terms of wording on the slides.
Your executive summary should be bold and impress the reader/listener.
If it won’t do it – They will open their phones and you lost them.
It should contain:
a. A short explanation on the idea and what you plan to do. Don’t be shy here. After all, you are building something wonderful, right?
b. What is your competitive advantage? Why you can deliver it and make it happen?
c. Where you are right now and what you accomplish to do so far.
d. Finish it strong with vision and few near term key results you plan to reach.
The Problem / Opportunity
What is the problem and why it’s worth doing?
If there is an opportunity here, describe the need and what is the size of the market.
What is the value of the solution you are going to provide? How much money/time/effort it will save or generate?
Extra points, if you can show that it’s a ‘must have’ and people will be happy to pay for it.
Do yourself a huge favor here, switch from slides to a ‘Live Demo’ and show your stuff.
As someone smart said: “If one picture worth ten thousand words, a demo is worth 10,000 slides”. More on that can be found at ‘best seed pitch ever’. The idea here is to drive home the idea that you got something that no one else got. It might be specail talent, some intellectual property or new way to do things (faster, better, cheaper).
Business Model (How will you make money?)
What is the path to profitability? Is it going to be a SAAS model? selling license? service? ads? There are few options here and the best is to go with one of these strategies. You can learn more about it in my Udacity course on App Monetization.
Go To Market Plan
How are you taking your product to market and expose it to potential users?
Are you going to use direct sales, channels, freemium or something else?
What will be the cost of acquisition?
An overview of what competitors your startup will need to win. Here you will
build credibility by showing that you are aware of all the major visible competitors and even some hidden ones (that will fight with you on the same budget).
Extra points for a nice chart the shows your strengths and weaknesses vis a vis your competitors.
The A Team
This is the most important part (at least to me). You should show here why it’s a dream team that can deliver. If you can show real data (=paying customers, growth numbers, retention % etc’) that support your claims – even better.
Focus on the core people and their dedication and grit.
KPI / Financial projections
Forget the 5 years plan. But do try to give here a forecast for the next 12-24 months. What are the KPIs that you will move you forward?
What is the current status? Try to show here how you did so much with so little and if you can have numbers that support your ‘Value’ and ‘Biz plan’ – even better.
People like to argue but with data you can make your point quickly and effectively.
This section should build trust that you can deliver.
How Much? What you plan to do with it?
Why do you need $1.4M?
On what you are going to spend it?
How much time it will give you?
You can copy the first slide here. It’s a good slide to keep when you start the conversation. It’s the summary of everything, no?