Getting investors to fund your start-up is challenging at any stage and requires not just a great pitch, but a perfect pitch, even for experienced founders with significant traction in their company.
The Big Picture
The pitch round or the demo day, is the first of many steps towards getting your start-up funded. In those 10 minutes, what do you tell and what do you leave out? And how do you cover the; “What? Why? How? Where? When? Who?” of your business.
– What is your product?
– Why did you come up with this idea?
– How are you going to make it happen and the resources you will need?
– Where is it that you want to be established or expand?
– When do you plan on doing the “How”?
– Who all are involved with your product?
Optimising the 10 mins of your pitch deck!
Slide 1: The Greeting
This is the first thing your audience will see in the background when you greet them, so, make it attractive! The cover slide has to have your company’s logo and your company’s name. You can add a snapshot of your product, but do not make it extra heavy.
Slide 2: The Problem: Let the investors know what problem your product solves but remember, it’s a real problem, so tell it like a real story and avoid keeping this slide too text heavy.
Slide 3: The Solution
Introduce your product and demonstrate how your product/service is addressing the market opportunity, i.e, present your value proposition. Now if you don’t have a working product, you still need to show visuals of what you’re building. Hand drawn images are totally fine if you don’t have visuals developed. You should rehearse your demo 25+ times until it flows naturally.
Slide 4: The Vision
Investors love patterns, and they want to see the future and the evolution. They also want to believe, that so create a narrative that speaks of something massive and sustainable. You have to back your vision with authentic numbers to have a better shot at moving the investor from skeptical to believer.
Slide 5: Revenue Model
THE most important bit of all. Make it as precise and simple as possible. This is where you get the opportunity to explain exactly how you plan on earning from your business.
Slide 6: Traction
Show how your business has been fairing in the market, your clients and the status of cash flows. If you feel the business has done good, flaunt it. If it has not been that good, then be subtle and show only the positives. Traction helps them determine the health of your business and the risk-factors attached to it.
Slide 7: Competitive Analysis
Briefly mention your 4 closest competitors in the market and explain and prove what are your points of differentiation (POD) in comparison to your competitors. This slide is not to elaborate on your competitors, but to show how you are different from them.
Slide 8: Growth Strategy
Tell them how you plan on achieving your vision with realistic timeline using the resources you have and will get from the investors. The investors need to determine from this slide that if they invest in your start-up, will you and by when be able to pay them back. This is, you can say, the warm up slide to the next big slide, which is;
Slide 9: The Ask
The main slide. The slide why you had the other slides and why you are standing in front of the investors. Remember, calculate several times and be sure of the numbers you put in this slide. The investors will cross question you (a lot) on the numbers specified in this slide and you cannot afford to stagger or be dumbfounded or be stumped by any of the questions. “You want this much, because of this, to do this”. Ask yourself why you are asking for the specified amount and what you will do with it. Is it realistic?
Slide 10: The Team
This is the signing off page. Introduce your team here with their images, names, designations and phone numbers. While introducing your team, introduce yourself after introducing everyone. Yes, this is because of mannerisms, but also because you want to continue after introducing yourself by inviting the Investors for any questions or any doubts that they have.
‘Let investors decide on diving into the specifics outside the deck. You want to leave some questions unanswered for later questioning by the investors as it gives them a reason to approach you. Hit the big points in a clear way, and avoid over-sharing.’
Illustrating these guiding principles, here is a demo-day pitch to help you understand the practicalities of executing a good pitch!