Business planning is not for the faint-hearted. Having a business means that at some point, you will have to meet potential investors to raise capital. For this big day, you will have to create a compelling startup investor pitch deck.
Sounds pretty nerve-wracking, right? After all, in that one meeting, you need to ensure that they see your vision and jump onboard with you.
This is exactly why you need to create a compelling pitch deck. A pitch deck is a tool that can help you get investment and take your startup to the next level.
What is a startup’s investor pitch deck?
The startup investor pitch deck, also known as a pitch deck or slide deck, is a brief presentation that provides a quick overview of your business plan.
Essentially, you present your company to angel investors or venture capitalists and showcase your product, technology, and team.
The idea of making an impressive pitch deck is to get the potential investors excited about your product and vision. The aim of a pitch deck is not just to raise seed funding, but also to keep the conversation going and get the next investor meeting.
To achieve this, you should convey a compelling story through the pitch deck rather than just stating facts dully. Investors see dozens of pitches in a day, so you have to make yours memorable.
So, how do you make a killer investor pitch deck? Let’s see.
What to include in your startup’s investor pitch deck?
Here are the slides to include in your pitch deck:
First things first – you need to share an overview of your business. This is a detailed view of the structure of your business and what exactly your company does.
Since this is the first slide, you need to grab the investors’ attention right from the get-go.
The overview should be a good first step to convince the investors that your startup has the potential to grow big. Summarize the slide in 4-5 bullet points.
Next, explain the nature of the market and how your company can make an impact in that industry. Do not make it a long slide or give a verbose presentation.
Consider it like an elevator pitch where you have to provide a detailed yet concise framework of your business.
Next, you have to establish credibility, and you do this by talking about your team. Put up pictures of the key team members and their titles.
When you talk about the team, give a summary of each team member’s work experience, domain expertise, and educational background.
Apart from talking about their accomplishments, talk about what they bring to the table.
If you have a team with diverse experience, highlight the same. This will give investors the confidence that your team can tackle various challenges.
Read more about startup teams in our article, exclusively on how to build a successful team for your startup.
The problem & solution
One common question that every investor would have in mind is – what problems does your business solve? And that’s what the next slide has to convey.
You need to explain why you created the product or service and how it benefits the target market.
Then, explain how your product solves the mentioned problems. This is where you can talk about the technology or science behind the product or service.
This is an important stage of the pitch because this is when the investors can gauge the value of your product.
If the slide is getting too wordy, make two separate slides.
Up until now, you haven’t really mentioned your product/service clearly. So, now is the time to reveal it.
Give your product a ‘grand entrance’.
Instead of just writing or explaining what your product does, it would be a good idea to show them.
Make a demo video explaining what exactly the product is and how it works. This will give the investors a clear idea of your product.
List the key differentiating features and how your product would benefit the customers.
You can even show the investors some of the significant product milestones.
Explain what you have planned for the future in terms of product features or expansions.
No matter how good your product is, the investors will be interested in the competitive landscape.
Tell them who your primary competitors are, the factors that give your product a competitive edge, and how exactly the product is different from the competitors.
You must be prepared to answer questions about your competitors.
If you are unaware of your competition, it shows the investors that you are not familiar with the market. This would create a negative impression.
So, do as much research about the competition as you can.
Having a great product is not the end of the story.
Even if the investors love your product, you need to show them why exactly your company is an excellent opportunity to invest in.
This is the slide that will have all the key metrics.
Define the core market you are in and its size. Put up industry revenue numbers and how you address a large part of that market.
Don’t just plop all the numbers on the slide. Make it visual – put them in the form of a pie-chart or a graph. It would be easier for investors to consume data in that manner.
You have to make this slide as accurate and clear as possible.
For example, you can show how much the market is worth in terms of money. Give the investors a good idea of the market size. Based on that number, give an estimate of how much revenue you expect for a particular period.
The next step is to give the investors an idea of how you plan to market your product to the target customers.
Make bullet points of how you would approach marketing and explain each point in detail.
Talk about what channels you have used in the past and what your preliminary customer acquisition costs are.
Did you promote heavily on social media, where did you advertise, how much did you spend on the same?
If you got some PR buzz in the past, don’t hesitate to mention it.
Give investors a detailed summary of your marketing strategies. This will allow them to make informed decisions.
Next, investors would like to know your business model. In simple words, this is where you explain how you will make money from your product or service.
You need to show that you have a viable business model in place.
How are you pricing the product? What is the long-term value of the customer or the overall acquisition cost? These are the questions that you must answer in this slide.
If you cannot show that you have a profitable business, the chances of getting an investment are slim.
Lastly, investors would want to know the company’s financial situation. Show them the current financials as well as financial projections for the next three to five years.
Make sure you mention how much money you have raised in the past.
They would also like to know the burn rate. Burn rate is the cash loss your company will face while building the company and marketing the product.
Based on those figures, you need to tell the investors how much investment you are seeking and how you plan to use that money.
Give as many details as possible and ensure that your projections and expectations are realistic.
One of the sure-shot ways of not getting an investment is by seeking an unrealistic amount of capital and not having a proper plan to spend it.
How to create a startup’s investor pitch deck: A 10-step guide
1. Open with a solid introduction
The first step towards creating an effective investor pitch deck is to introduce the purpose of your presentation deck.
While you may leave the ultimate objective of seeking funds for a later slide, you can start by stating the basic agenda of the presentation or the investment level (Seed, Series A, etc) at which you are seeking funding.
The name and logo of your company should be displayed here, along with the date when you are showcasing the investor pitch deck.
Be extremely careful to update this as it is a given that you will be pitching to multiple investors over several months.
In case you have had a prior startup or have been associated with a Company the target investor may identify with, be sure to mention it on this slide.
2. Identify the problem
Whenever entrepreneurs come up with a successful idea for a startup, their product or service is almost always solving an existing problem in the market.
Introduce the pain point that your tech company is solving such that the investor can understand and recognize as being a problem worth solving which in turn will engage them with your product or service.
Merely stating the problem may not do justice. So, you can supplement your case with graphs, infographics, screenshots, videos.
Use these visual tools as a means to validate your claim for identifying a specific problem persisting in the market, as highlighted in your investor pitch deck.
This slide is extremely crucial when it comes to engaging the investors. The problem must be presented in a way that the investor agrees or identifies it as indeed being a problem worth solving.
Remember, the aim is to generate funds for your product or service and the investor needs to see the value in investing in your venture.
3. Suggest solutions
Your next slide should highlight the solution to the problem earlier stated. This is crucial to gain the confidence of the investors as it will reiterate that you have come to them with a plan.
It is also crucial in that it will act as a precursor to your product or service and lay the ground for introducing what you have to offer in your investor pitch deck.
The solution will need to be very concise and clear, and possibly scalable. It should prove the time-worthiness of your product or service and highlight how it is different or evolved as compared to existing solutions in the market.
4. Describe your product or service
This slide of your investor pitch deck should carry details of your product or service.
It can either be the actual working model or snapshots of the demo created by you.
In case you have existing clients, you may want to mention their names or include testimonials from them.
The description of your product or service needs to highlight how it distinguishes itself from other existing startups or is an upgrade over them.
The description should impart confidence to the investors about the uniqueness and effectiveness of your product in solving the problem it is set out to solve.
5. Describe the target market
This slide should elaborate on the categories of customers your product or service will cater to.
It is crucial to have an in-depth analysis of your target market on the basis of various relevant parameters.
This will help define the relevancy of your product in a particular market segment.
Doing this will also help to gauge how scalable your product or service is in the long run.
Also, it helps prove how well-researched and detailed your understanding of your product or service is.
However, it is also important that you indeed research your target market and explore all the possibilities of your product being relevant.
If needed, do a dipstick study before including it in your investor pitch deck to better understand the viewpoint of your target audience.
6. Describe your competitors
It might sound idealistic to forget about what the world is doing and do what you feel is right. In business, this strategy often backfires.
This step and slide are crucial as part of your investor pitch deck to make your investors understand where you stand in the market, and how your product or service fares as compared to other players.
Studying who your competitors are and what they are doing will also help you to devise a better strategy.
This will prove to the investor that your product or service is a result of a thorough analysis of the market and the competition.
7. Describe your business model
When it comes to tech businesses, this slide is what the investors will look at with utmost scrutiny, so be sure that your business model is well-defined and structured.
Think of all possible avenues of impact on your business and accordingly devise and present the business model in your investor pitch deck.
So, if you’re a SaaS startup looking at freemium models or if you’re looking at a one-time license fee or monthly subscriptions, be sure to mention your revenue generation model.
At times it is also advised to include an exit strategy as part of the presentation because ultimately the investors are only considering their ROI.
You may be apprehensive in thinking that an exit strategy may suggest that you are not sure of the success of your product or service, but contrarily it works in favor of suggesting that you are not making castles in the wind and have a clear strategy in case things don’t work as estimated.
8. Highlight your USP
If your product or service is very niche, it is a USP in its own right.
However, if you are launching a product or service in competition with an existing market, your USP is what will help in marketing your offering.
It is important to explain to the investor about how your core offerings are unique and how this is relevant to and caters to the target market as identified by you.
9. Introduce your team
This may seem obvious, but several entrepreneurs get so caught up in getting their investor pitch deck right that they often miss out on introducing who and what goes behind their offered product or service.
In this slide, you should introduce each of the major contributors and a brief background of their professional history.
Highlight only the points that will help establish trust with your team, without going too much into details of their history.
10. Specify your finances
While this can come last, it is the most important slide of your investor pitch deck. Specify the range within which you need financing from investors.
While you may be extremely specific with your demand, research has shown that it helps in showcasing a range of amount from minimum to maximum that you need for your company.
This helps you reach out to a wide range of investors who can invest a suitable amount within the investment bracket.
There are plenty of resources available online to help you create a powerful and compelling pitch deck.
However, while creating the pitch deck, your focus should be on covering all the points that interest the investors.
This is the only way of increasing your chances of getting funding from them.