The end of August is here and it’s more than parents doing the happy dance that the school year’s starting — finally Investors are back from their vacation haunts and gearing up to find this year’s crop of fundable companies. And yes, that’s you!
You might have been diligently working on your pitch all summer or you might just now be scrambling to put it together. Whether it’s the former or the latter, let’s take a minute to take stock of what it should contain.
I’m giving you the winning recipe that I’ve used to create hundreds of pitch decks. Like any good chef, please review the list of ingredients to see that you have everything in stock before you start cooking:
Strong Problem — Make sure there’s a powerful need for your solution back up with stories, numbers, facts and figures and that you’re telling it in a compelling way.
Simple Solution Statement — Something that anyone from any background can understand: “ We do X (our solution) for Y (our audience) by Z (How we do it, simply).”
Illustrative Demo — You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money but you must have a demo that showcases your offering so they understand what it looks like and how it works. More tips to creating a Demo here.
Current Status — Where are you at? Have you launched? Raised funding? Do you have Users? Any of them paying? What’s your rate of growth? What major milestones have you accomplished? All of these answers will help them assess where you’re at in the process and if you’re at the right stage for them. And please, don’t exaggerate the numbers, it’s easy enough to check it and can really hurt your credibility.
Market Analysis — What’s your Market Size and Value? TAM/SAM/SOM? What’s your initial Target Market? You need to know these numbers inside and out. Investors need to see that this is a multi-billion dollar market that they have a chance of making a huge return on their investment or it’s simply not feasible for them to invest. More on Market Analysis here.
Trends and Opportunities — What is happening in the Market that makes you an attractive investment opportunity? What backs that up? Have any competitors been acquired or raised massive funding? Is there a quote from a major source like Gartner or Forrester saying that this is the year for a startup like yours? Investors often suffer from FOMO so this serves to push their triggers.
Go to Market (GTM) Strategies — How do you plan to acquire customers? What’s your Customer Acquisition Cost? What are the different channels and why will they work? For more on GTM read here.
Business Model — How do you plan to make money? What’s the main revenue model? (Subscription? Ads? Affiliate? Rev share? Services? etc.) What are some additional potential revenue streams? They will want to know what makes this a viable model and how you know if people are willing to put money on the solution.The more proof you have, the better.
Competitive Landscape — Who are your main competitors, both direct and indirect. How are you different from them? What gives you your competitive edge. Having competition is great, it means there’s a market. You just need to show differentiation. For an extensive look at competitive landscape and how to present it, read here.
Team — Pictures, titles and brief bios about your Founding Team and why this is the team that can execute on this. If you have an Advisory Board definitely mention them as well.
Roadmap — What do the next 12–24 months look like? (Depending on your runway — how long this funding will last you) What are the major milestones you will achieve both in the product and the marketing?
Future Directions — Do you have any big future plans? Is this the first step in a much bigger vision? Can your product be used by different markets to increase potential revenue? When do you think you’ll be there? Give them a last jolt of excitement before you wrap up.
Funding Requirements — “Seeking $XXM to be used for…” Main allocations such as R&D, Sales and Marketing, Team Expansion, etc.” And include your Round Objective i.e. “This will take us to XX months, XXK users, $XXM in revenues, etc.” — where will you be when you need to start raising your next Round? It’s hard to tell at this point but show that you have a clear vision and projections.