For entrepreneurs, cash is the catalyst to early development and the key to keeping their ideas moving forward. Yet, many brilliant and promising startups fail because they simply “run out of money.” To prevent this from happening, much of a startup’s initial funding comes from outside investors.
This is where the infamous “pitch” comes in.
If you’re not familiar with what a product pitch is, think Shark Tank. This show allows entrepreneurs to showcase their product or service to a group of wealthy investors in hopes of receiving their desired amount of funding. One important thing to note from Shark Tank is that these celebrity investors usually only consider semi-established businesses for funding; an entrepreneur with just an idea will simply not do. In the same way, the more established a company is, the more likely that company is to obtain funding from investors.
Obtaining funding is often effectively done with something called a “pitch deck.”. A pitch deck is a presentation that should essentially sell yourself and your company to investors by convincing them of a problem in the market that you and only you are uniquely qualified to solve. Most importantly, however, a pitch deck needs to convince investors that they will receive a sizable return on investment.
10 Slides for Every Successful Pitch Deck
1. Elevator Pitch: Simply, this is a description of your product or service to a potential buyer or investor that must be brief enough to be completed during an elevator ride. A simple slide to use as a speaking point might look something like this:
2. Problem: Every invention should be driven by the ability to solve a problem that people commonly face. Check out Airbnb’s problem slide:
3. Solution: … and Airbnb’s solution slide:
4. The Market: How big is the market? What’s the market opportunity? Who are the typical clients and customers?
5. The Team: Include founders and co-founders, employees, contractors, advisors, investors, etc. Check out this slide from the deck Buffer used to raise capital:
6. Traction: How much progress have you made so far? How many customers are using your product? How many are paying? How many are not? What are your sales? How many new customers have you acquired each month? Again, here is the slide from Buffer’s deck:
7. Competition & Competitive Advantage: This may necessitate two slides. Most companies have at least some degree of competition, and your investors will want to know which businesses those are. However, it’s important that you immediately establish your competitive advantage against your competitors: what makes your product or service better? Check out these slides from Airbnb’s deck:
8. Revenue Model: How do you actually make money? Where does the money come from? Who pays for your product? What’s your distribution strategy? This is Airbnb’s business/revenue model slide:
9. Expense Model: How, when, and where do you plan to spend the money you’re asking for in the next 12 months? The best thing you can show to investors is that for every $1 invested in the company, you can get $2 out. Make sure to instill confidence in your potential investors that you’ve built a repeatable and scalable way to create revenue and profits. Check out this example (it’s pretty minimalistic, but it’s still a good basic example for what this slide should include):
10. The Ask: The last, and arguably most important, slide that every pitch deck should include is the “ask” slide. Tell your investors how much money you’re looking for and what you plan to do with that money. Check out this example from Venyoo’s slide deck, a startup that provides location based data solutions for live events.
Depending on your business and industry, you may need to add more slides or place more or less emphasis on some of these. However, these ten slide topics are bound to get you off to a great start. Just remember: before you begin looking for investors, be sure to put together a pitch deck. It may be the most important slideshow you ever make.