Here at Dealflow.eu we work hard to help your startup grow and provide you with excellent investor materials. We consult your innovations with industry experts and seasoned investors and leverage our experience to create striking, straight to the point presentations. We are well aware of the struggle related to deciding which slides to remove and which ones to keep, especially when you need to fit many ideas within a few minutes. Since looking for suggestions on the topic online can be tough, we have prepared a dedicated article that you can either use as a build-your-deck guide or as a to-do list to perfect your pitch deck.
Let’s start with the structure. According to many investors, a narrative based on the following structure will be engaging and effective in delivering information without losing their attention. We also report some typical questions investors will have while looking at the slides – make sure they are all answered.
Should include your logo and a striking tag line. A general piece of advice is to avoid overburdening this slide with welcoming messages or details about presenters and the venue of the presentation.
Typical Questions: “What is this about? What is guiding you? What is your mission?”
You can use this slide in many ways. In general, it serves to briefly outline key information about the product, the service or the company. Depending on the key takeaways you are willing to deliver, you might use this slide to present some features of your product or the different markets you are addressing. Do not get caught up listing features here, there will be room for that afterwards.
Typical Questions: “What am I going to see? Why am I going to see it?”
Clearly outline what is the unsolved problem that you have discovered. It should be relatable, consistent, and lead the investor to imagine what your business model looks like. Give a clear and structured overview of the challenges that you address and solve. The clearer the problem is, the more attention you and your solution will get. Thus, making it a great idea to draw a picture of your target group’s pain point (without your product). Review the notes taken while speaking with industry experts or find market research to emphasize the right pain points and to consider all the possible implications of your claims. If you are in doubt about how many problems to include, think about three. It is a solid trade-off between content and memorisation, and it is easy to replicate in your solution slide.
Typical Questions: “What are the customers’ pain points? Have these guys spoken with industry experts? Have they considered also the B2B [or B2C] channel? Are they diving deep enough on this market or is there something else not yet considered? Are they focusing on the opportunity that I, as an expert, consider the most profitable one? “
This slide should present a description of how you are solving the problems outlined before. Consider including gifssee resources, they clearly explain what might be thought to illustrate with worlds. If you can simplify it, including the economy of your product (price, costs, savings for the customer). If you have technical details, leave them in the notes and focus on the purpose of the product. The same goes for services. You can use more than one slide if needed but consider that the aim here is to get investors’ attention, and you do not do that with tiny details. A great way to keep engagement is to replicate the structure you used for the problem slide, be it a list, a number, or a graphic representation.
Typical Questions: “What is their solution? How well does it address the problems they identified as so pressing for their customers and how much are they willing to pay to solve them? What are the unit economics (cost of device, cost of installation etc.)? What is the ROI logic from a customer perspective if their solution is more expensive compared to competitors? How do they deliver value? Why is their value proposition unique and compelling? If they are offering more than one product, is the narrative clear? “
MARKET SIZE – OPPORTUNITY
Prove that you have a target market. Validate it historically (i.e., the evolution of the niche industry) and a through bottom-up or top-down logic. Show that there is traction for your solution and that there is room for growth. If you are creating a new market, that is even better. Frame, in a smart way, what you want your investors to think. When it comes to market numbers, big is better. In some cases, “units sold” will speak clearer than “$” to an audience unfamiliar with the market. Include here a breakdown of your market into different segments that you are targeting (for instance, B2B vs B2C). Think BIG. Investors want to see that your solution is addressing a multibillion Service Obtainable Market (SOM), ideally. It does not look appealing to investors when the SOM is around 1-10 million, due to limited upscaling potential.
Typical Questions: How large is their addressable market? What are the trends (e.g., What is the CAGR)? How did Covid19 impact customers’ behaviour? Are they able to penetrate the market they identified?
The best way to go with competitors is to show the investors how better you are at solving the problem compared to them. To do so, you might want to use the graphic tool: comparison matrix. Think your differentiators (x and y-axis) well, they must not sound illogical or overselling your product. Include both peers (other players in the same market) and alternatives to your solution. Another great tool is a simple table, allowing you to have different competitors on each column. A great feature to be implemented is to assign a weight to each comparison characteristic and give an overall mark to each competitor. Plotting the final mark will be of impact. Make sure to design the table well, and not simply use an excel screenshot or the premade ones in power-point. The key takeaway of this slide should be: why are you 10x better than everyone else? Make sure to include it.
Typical questions: How do they compare to other solutions? Why are they 10x better than all the other companies? What are other competitors doing?
Clearly outline next steps and milestones on how to enter the market. Outline, for instance, that you are planning to hire an experienced sales manager to secure large deals with established players. Include rationale for the milestones you have set yourself and the expectations you have. Specify the key obstacles and how you will solve them. Outlining a solid strategy on how to secure growth will be key to convince the investors that the story you have been telling them so far is a concrete opportunity.
Typical questions: What is their go-to-market strategy? How will they sell their product? Are they partnering with service providers or intermediaries? Or are they targeting customers directly? What are the rationales and the consequences of the main decisions they are making? What will be the next steps to achieve their milestones? How big can their business get? Is the product ready? If not, how long will it take to bring it to market and what is missing? If yes, is there any proof of concept (Financial outcomes, potential customers commitments…)
This is another important slide that aims at showing the attention that the product-company-service is receiving and why it is a great opportunity that the investors do not want to miss. The takeaway from this slide is that you have developed the necessary momentum to scale up in the upcoming months. You can include revenues, valuable feedback from customers, letters of intent, trial rounds, patents, previous partnerships awards obtained, other grants. Also, include large deals you are working on, prominent customers and how you are addressing the challenges separating your startup from achieving success.
Typical questions: Do they have a positive customer response? Based on what is included here, do they have developed momentum? Did they get any interest or commitment from an established player and/or potential customer? Do they have revenue and a solid revenue pipeline that will exponentially grow over the next years?
FINANCIALS – BUSINESS MODEL
Here you should clearly outline what you will use the money for and what milestones you are willing to accomplish. Recall the milestones of the go-to-market section. Avoid including a valuation with DCF or a pre-money / post-money one. In terms of equity share, the investors will often give you an offer that they consider fit, not necessarily compliant with what you would like to propose to them. Additionally, avoid including Excel screenshots of your model. It gives a better impression if you take some time to re-design and simplify it. Useful projections include: Forecasts of your market down to Contribution Margin II (i.e., Gross Margin is Contribution Margin I, Revenues after variable sales and marketing are Contribution Margin II). Show different margin profiles of different products/services you are selling or markets that you are seeking to address. If you have nothing available, then opt for a full Profit and Loss statement down to Earning Before Interests and Taxes. If you are selling countable units, also include the numerical value of the units you are planning to sell. Make sure to back these claims up with a solid go-to-market strategy in the previous section.
Typical Questions: How much money does the company want to raise, what will it spend the money on? What are the key milestones they want to achieve in the next 12-18 months? Where are revenues coming from?
Here, please include the information on your key people and their relevant experience. Investors will come here and look for both technical and commercial skills. A lack of diversification might undermine your team’s credibility. Also, make sure to tell the story of who you are, where do you come from and where you are going (partially outlined in the milestones, although here, it is meant to be more of a general description). A timeline with your key achievements might do the job. If you have an experienced team, include known logos of the companies that you worked for. If you include pictures, make sure that they are professional ones. Include your advisors and supporters, if any. They are proof that you are backed by a solid network and by industry-related / venture building expertise.
Typical Question: Who are they? Why are they doing this? What is their expertise? Is there a senior helping them (becoming suppliers of large companies, achieving a specific milestone…)? Is there someone able to implement the go-to-market strategy I saw before?
FINAL SUMMARY – Pitch Deck
This is a quick wrap-up of the key takeaways before closing. It must be short and concise.
Appendix You can include here the F.A.Q. and some key elements that did not fit the presentation. It is a side-deck where you include details on your financials (here you can include your Excel Models), technical comparisons with peers, detailed product specifications, more customer testimonials.
Footnotes Include here confidentiality, names, welcoming, footnotes.
Create your gifs: https://ezgif.com/maker
Design elements: https://www.pngwing.com/en/search?q=abstract+lines
Congratulations innovator, now that you have read this guide you should have clear in mind what your deck must include to capture investors’ attention. We hope this guide helped you and we invite you to get in touch to know more.
Best of luck in your adventure!
The Dealflow Team