4 Rules for a Winning Pitch Deck

Imagine this  —  You just secured your first investor meeting (yay), but the investor is only able to meet tomorrow. Are you ready? 

There’s one problem.

You don’t know if you pitch deck is investor ready… and you don’t have all night to search for the best pitch deck template because you still need to practice pitching it.

So what do you do?

In this post, we’re going to give you an overview of what you should always include in your pitch deck. We’ll break it up into four parts.

 

Start with the problem.

Before we begin, you need to tell the investor your story. Be compelling!

Hone in on an emotional connection with your personal story, why you and your co-founders started this project and why do you care about solving this problem?

 Problem:  Inmemori  — Fleet #2 Startup (March–June 2017)

Problem: Inmemori — Fleet #2 Startup (March–June 2017)

Make sure your problem is a real problem and solves a real pain. Then show the investor what your startup will do to tackle this problem.

 

"As entrepreneurs, we're all super optimistic. Thinking that we can change the world. But we often need to be realistic about how big of a problem it really is." — Rick Marini, 3-time Founder (TickleBranchOutSuperFan), Angel Investor, Mentor at The Refiners
 

How big is the market?

This next section is very important!

Here’s where you need to prove that what you’re working on is really big. Show real data about how big the market is and don’t forget to explain how you got those numbers.

The truth is, investors want to pursue ventures with a huge market. If you can’t prove it is, or be creative in showing it is, you better figure out a way to do so… just don’t waste an investor’s time.

Once you’ve got him or her interested — throw more bait.

Explain who your main competitors are. Prove that you’ve done your homework. Showcase that you understand the market and competition. Never say “there’s no competition in our space”. Don’t discredit the competition either.

Position yourself in a way where you’re able to express how unique you are over the competition. That's how to reel them in.

Close by validating why now is the right time for your project.

 Market Size:  Muzeek  Inc. — Fleet #2 Startup (March–June 2017)

Market Size: Muzeek Inc. — Fleet #2 Startup (March–June 2017)

 

How will you execute?

Let’s say that, hypothetically, you’ve done a great job convincing the investor about the problem, about your personal convictions for this project, and that there’s a defined market to tackle.

But, he or she is still skeptical. As anyone should be!

Why?

Well for starters, you’re a small startup which means you have little resources and could possibly compete with tech giants.

We’ll tell you how to overcome their objections.

 

Follow these steps:

  • Explain that you understand you’re a small startup, but you have a way to succeed in this huge market, you have a smart Go-to-Market strategy. 

A great example of this is how Shone, a startup from Fleet #3, proved their Go-to-Market strategy by sealing partnerships with ship owners.

  • Let the investor know about any traction you have.

Number of users, featured articles in publications, high-profile clients, etc.

  • Tell them how you’re going to make money. 

You don’t have to show that you’re making money now, but show your path toward monetization.

 GTM Strategy:  Shone  — Fleet #3 Startup (Sep–Dec 2017)

GTM Strategy: Shone — Fleet #3 Startup (Sep–Dec 2017)

 

Prove it.

Great job at getting this far, by the way.

You just proved that you have a sound GTM (Go-to-Market) strategy. The last piece of the puzzle is to prove your team is the one to do it.

Many investors believe that a company’s team is the deciding factor when determining to invest or not.

With that said, let’s establish your team’s credibility.

Start by putting a face on those names. Make sure you have high-quality headshots for each person on your team. Include short summaries of prior employment to show domain experience and relevant expertise.

Tip: You may also include your advisors, consultants, and board members to strengthen credibility.

 Team:  Jogabo  — Fleet #2 (March–June 2017)

Team: Jogabo — Fleet #2 (March–June 2017)

The last thing you need to do is introduce your fundraising strategy:

  • How much do you need?
  • How will these funds be used with leveraging what you have?
  • After spending their investment, will you be in a position to raise your next round?

Showing that you know your burn-rate and capital runway is always comforting for an investor.

 

Related: How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck For Startups Seeking Financing

 

Conclusion:

To summarize, there are many ways to structure a pitch deck, but before you copy and paste, you need to understand the purpose of each piece.

We believe that the methodology behind a pitch deck should be broken up into four parts:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Understand your market and why now
  3. Know your GTM strategy and how you’ll execute
  4. Prove you have the right team to do it

When you’re able to answer each piece without hesitation, you’ll not only have one heck of a pitch deck, but you’ll convince any investor to believe in you.

Do you have any questions about how to structure your pitch deck? Leave your question in a comment below! Believe in our overview of how to structure a pitch deck? Great! Please like and share this post with your followers to spread the word!

 

Additional research & recommended reading: Truth About Pitching Your Startup in Silicon Valley