Raising money for your venture requires a strong pitch and a clear and compelling pitch deck, whether you’re securing funds through friends and family, VCs, or equity crowdfunding. This is true even if you’re an experienced entrepreneur with traction in your company. Recently, we covered some basics of equity crowdfunding (and how to know if it’s right for you). Today, we’ll dig into how to create a winning pitch deck once you’re ready to seek funding.
What is a Pitch Deck?
A pitch deck is a brief presentation that entrepreneurs put together when they start seeking funding for their company or venture. It gives potential investors an overview of the team, product or service, business plan, market opportunity and more. Your pitch deck should pique the interest of investors and demonstrate why now is the time to make an investment.
All pitch decks look different, but most follow a similar structure. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of 11 important slides to include.
Cut the waffle and get straight to the nitty-gritty in your first slide: what your company stands for, what your product or service is, why it matters and what makes it different. The name says it all — this should be short enough that you could pitch it to a potential investor on an elevator ride.
This is where you prove your business model works. It’s key to show traction and growth even at an early stage, so highlight any progress and recognition — including press mentions, previous investors, partnerships, accolades and testimonials.
If you don’t have any traction at all yet, you may choose to exclude this slide.
Investors want to see that you’ve found a realistic market for your product or service. Show the existing market as well as its potential future growth, and highlight ways you could disrupt or change this market. It’s important to include credible sources to back up your claims here.
What problem does your product or service solve? Clearly articulating the main problem or problems you are trying to solve — and why solving them is so important — is vital in your pitch deck. The bigger the problem, the bigger the potential of your venture.
Highlight the extent of the problem, share how you discovered it, and showcase how focused and committed you are to solving it.
Product / Service (the Solution)
You’ve presented your problem, now show how you’re going to solve it. This may sound simple, but this is where many startups fail. Investors don’t want to read a long, complex explanation full of industry lingo. They need a clear and concise description that boils your solution down to its core benefits.
Explain your technology, but focus more on why people would want to use it, and how it differs from that of your competitors. Show off your product or service through photos, sketches, prototypes, videos or whatever helps investors best visualize it.
If baby’s got numbers, show ’em off here. Describe how you make money (or intend to), and emphasize profitability and scalability. Show marketing, revenue, customers and sales to date. This is your chance to make your potential investors feel more confident.
Marketing & Growth Strategy
Where are your customers finding what they need today, and how will you get in front of them to fill that need tomorrow? What are your target growth rates and how will you achieve them? Showcase any unique methods and channels you have to convert customers.
The importance of showing off your team and expertise can’t be overstated — in fact, some investors will buy into a particularly strong team even if they’re not completely sold on the idea itself. If you have a great team and advisors, feel free to move this slide up.
Show off prior positions and successes, relevant experience and expertise, and how it will help you achieve your vision. And while your idea could change (and it may well do so during the early stages), having an adaptable team with a diverse skill set will help make investors confident they’ll get a return on investment.
If your team is inexperienced, consider bringing on an advisor to increase your investability. If you can’t pay them in money, pay them with equity.
Let’s be real — for most startups, projections are a wild stab in the dark, especially if you don’t have any traction yet. But it’s still important to present investors with a general idea of your expected growth (and their expected ROI) and other potential sources of funding (you’re a go-getter, show it!). This part is about finding that sweet spot between your unstoppable ambition…and reality.
How do you fit into your market, and how are you unique to it? Who are your competitors, how did they succeed, and what do you do that they can’t?
Some entrepreneurs could talk about their venture all day long. But when it’s time to ask for the funds, they can’t find the words.
You’ve already told your audience why they should invest — now tell them how much capital you need, and with what terms. Equity, debt, convertible notes? How will you use the capital you raise, and what is the timeline? Be clear and concise, and don’t beat around the bush.
That’s our rundown of the slides you definitely want to include in your pitch deck. Seed fundraising is hard work — and a strong pitch deck is vital to the success of your raise. That’s why we’re here to help. At Arora Project, we have a 100% success rate helping campaigns meet their goals (and some have even exceeded those goals by up to 3000%). We’ll work with you to create a pitch deck that shows you off and excites investors.
Let’s do it!