News flash: your killer product idea won’t launch itself or generate revenue on its own. You need funding to hire the right talent and implement the right technologies to get a product out into the world. You need investors. But you can’t just walk up to people and say, give me the money! To that, they’d reply, show me the money!
Startups are a dime a dozen. Your product may be the next Uber, but you have to show investors why you’re the unicorn. Investors are busy. They don’t have all day to listen to your story. A well-crafted pitch deck is the “long story short” way to grab their attention and open up doors for further conversations.
What is a Pitch Deck?
Simply put, a pitch deck (also called a slide deck or startup deck) is a presentation that entrepreneurs use to provide an audience with a brief but informative overview of their business plans, products, high-level financial projections, and funding needs.
It’s typically created using PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi (although we don’t rule out Etch A Sketch for an extra challenge and creative flair!) and used during in-person or online meetings with potential investors to get financing for investment rounds.
Why Are Pitch Decks Important?
A pitch deck helps you make a positive first impression when you communicate with potential investors. It enables them to understand what your digital startup is about, why you have a sound business case, and what kind of return they can expect if they invest in your company.
A pitch deck is a widely accepted format to communicate the essential information investors want to know in a way they’re accustomed to. It offers you a framework to ensure that you’re covering all the bases so investors will loosen their purse strings.
What Do Investors Expect in a Pitch Deck?
You can’t throw in everything but the kitchen sink and hope that your audience will connect the dots. To create an effective pitch deck, you need to focus on what investors want to know. Your pitch deck is one of the first things investors see, but definitely not the last if the deal goes through. The goal of the presentation is to spark interest so investors will want to continue the conversation.
Your pitch deck should be clear and simple, compelling, and easy to act on:
• Tell an engaging story that connects with your audience emotionally.
• Focus on one idea on each slide and keep it concise.
• Introduce your team and how they contribute to the success of the company.
• Keep the design consistent by using the same fonts and color palette throughout.
• Create a compelling narrative with your metrics.
• Use images — don’t smack your audience in the face with a wall of text.
9 Essential Elements of a Killer Pitch Deck
Ready to roll up your sleeves and rock out your pitch deck? Here are the key slides you need to include:
1. The Problem
The first order of business is to address the gap you’re filling in the market. Focus on one problem — don’t try to solve world hunger, global warming, and gender equality all at once.
Most investors get involved with a venture because they have experienced a similar challenge in the past, see a clear path to ROI, and/or understand the demand for the product because of their professional expertise. The more boxes you can check, the more likely a potential investor will get involved.
2. The Solution
Introduce the solution (aka, your product or service) clearly and concisely. Explain why it’s relevant right here and right now because timing is critical for the success of a startup. For digital products, you should also address its scalability, which is often key to accelerating the path to profits.
3. The Market
Investors want to understand their exit. They look for products that have the potential to transform or disrupt an entire industry and reshape consumer behaviors or expectations. You should demonstrate past growth and future potential of the market to quantify the upside and potential ROI of the investment.
4. The Product
Showcase your solution in action and add some descriptive text about the product. Demonstrate the benefits, explain how the product solves your customers’ burning problem (i.e., why they’d buy it,) and share testimonials from your current customers.
5. Traction and Growth
Show your business’s month-over-month growth with graphs and charts detailing revenues and other key metrics. Demonstrate that you have a measurable set of customers and that the company has growth potential.
6. The Team
You’re probably not the only person with the product idea. Your company’s success hinges upon your team’s ability to bring the product to the market and generate profits. Investors want to know who is driving the bus. Explain how your team is uniquely suited to execute the company’s vision and mission.
7. The Competition
Use a diagram to show investors what you’re up against, how you stack up, and how your value proposition differentiates the product from its competition. You may also describe each competitor’s valuation and how much money they have raised to provide context while setting the stage for your negotiation.
Typically, investors expect to see 3 years of financial projections to help them gauge how grounded the management of your company is. Many investors will come back to the financials a few months after the initial meeting to see where you’re at and make a decision, so stay on the conservative side to avoid completely missing the mark.
9. Investment Ask
Now it’s time to ask for the money. Instead of a specific amount, put down a range to leave some room for negotiation. Don’t forget to conclude the deck with your contact information. If you have a beefy social media presence, include your handles to help investors gain a more complete picture of who you are through your profiles.
The Winning Formula: Be Visionary, Strategic, and Practical
Your pitch deck has to inspire investors while staying grounded in the business of doing business. Support your vision with a sound product strategy, an audience & revenue approach, and even a rapid prototype to demonstrate how you would turn the idea into a profitable product.
Working with a full-service digital product agency from the get-go can help you ensure that these pieces are in place for a successful pitch. Get in touch to see how we can help you crush your pitch.
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