If you’re wondering “what should I include in an idea stage startup pitch deck?”, you’re not alone. An effective pitch deck needs to be short and to the point if it’s going to win over investors and earn you the funding you need to grow your startup. That means you will have to boil down your entire vision and business model into a few key metrics and slides. Every word needs to count and should be strategically chosen to resonate with potential investors, preemptively addressing their pain points and making the strongest case possible. For early age, startups, knowing how to pitch investors is often the number one way to pave your way to business success.
So what are the most important things to include in your pitch deck template that will make you stand out to investors? If you put together a deck covering the ten things we outline in this article, then you will have a much better time trying to raise funds for your startup.
Tell Potential Investors The Whole Truth
Before we get into the specific investor pitch deck template, let’s take a moment to consider your investor pitch philosophy. Many entrepreneurs want to hide or gloss over anything negative, and they also tend to over-emphasize the positive. They will probably find out whatever you are hiding in time, hurting your relationship and odds of financing.
You should celebrate your past victories and your startup’s potential, but you should also be realistic about the challenges you face, any missteps you’ve made, and any weaknesses you might have. Potential investors will take you more seriously and you will be more likely to raise funds. Plus, angel investors and VCs have connections and expertise that they can use to help you overcome many challenges if you bring them to their attention.
What to Include in a Great Pitch Deck Template
Before diving into the in-depth overview of your business model, you should present potential investors with the deeper reasons behind your startup venture. Why did you launch your startup and what are your values? Angel investors will want to know these things and you can use this section to give your pitch presentation a strong, compelling start. You should also include a brief overview of your business concept so potential investors will have the big-picture context for the rest of the slides. You can also drive into your brand and how it will appeal to business partners and consumers.
Succinctly sum up the problem that you are trying to solve. Use data and market research to show investors that it is a serious problem worth solving, but keep it brief.
How do you propose to solve the problem that you’ve identified? Describe your unique insight into the issue and what solution you crafted to take advantage of this insight. And if your solution is a technology platform, then you should illustrate it on a second slide.
Product or Service Demo
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a demo is worth even more. Include a brief video demonstration of your proposed solution to show potential investors what you propose to do and why it will solve the problem you outlined.
The market defines both how likely your startup is to succeed and the ceiling that limits its potential growth. You should describe and quantify your market opportunity within the addressable market: the market that your solution can potentially reach, not the market for your general industry. Again, get into specifics regarding not only total size in terms of people and dollars, but also in terms of demographics and other key distinguishing features. Who is going to buy your product or service? Is your startup B2B or are you going right to the consumer? Answer these questions here.
How are you making money or how do you plan on generating revenue? Despite their name, angel investors want to see a return on their investment and you should come prepared to show them how you’ll deliver it. Come with a detailed business model and business plan as part of your investor pitch and you’ll have a much easier time raising money.
No matter how unique you think your business idea is, other companies can be compared to yours and will become your competition. Investors know this and might even have examples on hand. Preempt their concerns by outlining who you think your main competitors are/will be, how you are different from them, and how you will out-compete them or carve out a separate market niche. Avoid hyperbole and recognize your competitors’ strengths: angel investors can see through posturing and bravado in a heartbeat.
Traction and Timeline
Two things that a potential investor will look for in a great pitch are proof that your business model and solution will work and a timeline for how you plan to grow your business and seize market opportunities. Present them with key metrics such as user engagement data (social proof), revenue, downloads, or leads to measure your current traction and showing customer validation. Then show them where you’re going and how/when you’re going to get there. Angel investors might want to know what your exit plan is, whether through acquisition or an IPO, but they’ll also want to see a timeline for every step in between funding and exit. Having a plan for how you will sell your business shows potential investors that you know how to deliver a return on their investment. This is also a good place to put your business’s finances, perhaps in an additional slide.
Funding Needs (aka The Ask)
When it comes time to ask potential investors to provide you with seed funding, you should tie every dollar bill to a business outcome. Don’t just come in with the general plan of raising money: know exactly how much financing you need, why you need that specific amount, and what you will do with the money. How will funding empower your business plan? If this is your seed funding round, a major milestone that you should include is how the potential investors’ money will get you to the next round of raising money (the angel investor or Series A round). If you’re in later funding rounds, you should consider including the path to profitability.
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