During startup pitch events, you often have as little as two minutes to present your early-stage startup to potential investors. Needless to say, this is very little time to make an impact, and it requires you to cut down on anything that doesn’t cut straight to the point.
Below you’ll find 9 of the most important slides you need to put in your presentation, each slide covering one of the required components of a startup pitch deck. Of course, you can expand on each of the components by adding more slides (if your time restraint allows it). However, it’s not a good idea to cut out any one of these 9 components because investors expect to receive this information.
1. What’s The Business About?
Startup name + one sentence (as short as possible) to explain what your business offers.
For example, Airbnb’s pitch deck starts with “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.”
People should understand what your business is about even if they miss the rest of the presentation. Avoid industry lingo and vague statements (e.g. disrupting the hospitality industry) – the eli5 (explain like I’m 5) principle is a good rule of thumb here.
This slide talks about the market opportunity. Either it’s a new unsolved problem, or it’s a problem that has been solved, but you’ll tackle it from a unique angle. The key to this component of your presentation is to convince would-be investors of the legitimacy of the problem and ideally – its intensity and frequency.
Being vague is once again a drawback. You should make it easy for potential investors to put themselves in the shoes of the people you are targeting.
3. Market Size (Upside)
Startups are about growth. The risky nature of startups (1 in 10 startups fail) makes it a requirement that they have a huge upside. This way the few winners in the portfolio of startup investors can more than compensate for the losers.
Your market should be big enough to justify a potential business value of at least $100 million, but ideally more than $1B. Trying to present yourself as humble and down-to-earth by downplaying the potential of the business is a mistake.
4. Solution (Product)
Present your solution as concisely as possible. Talking about features is a mistake. Instead, talk about user benefits. Moreover, it’s important to mention how you’re making money – what startup business model are you using?
5. Validation Or Traction
The big question that determines the success of your startup is the elusive product-market fit. In other words, is your solution the right one for the problem in question?
Investors won’t take your word for it. You need some form of proof. If your idea is early stage, you need to show some form of idea validation. If your startup is at a later stage, you can show real usage and revenue figures, showcasing that you are on the right track to product-market fit.
Often, competitors are a good sign for early-stage startups. The idea for this slide is to convince investors that your solution is sufficiently differentiated from the existing solutions. Keep in mind that these competing solutions don’t necessarily have to be companies.
Investors are interested in your broad marketing strategy. This usually means a go-to-market strategy if you are a new startup, and a growth strategy if you are a later-stage startup.
The smaller your company is, the more important it is to concentrate your marketing efforts on a few highly effective channels.
Do the people involved have the required skills and knowledge to pull it off? For tech startups, this usually means having a technical person and a marketing person combined with domain knowledge and experience.
9. The Ask
Finally, what amount are you fundraising and why? Be as precise as possible, e.g. “we need a $250k seed round to grow our team and support operations for 1 year until we reach X amount of users.”
Hopefully, you can use the startup pitch deck components from above to quickly and painlessly build a convincing presentation of your new business. Remember to communicate as clearly as possible and to be concise. A startup pitch deck is like a trailer to the full movie – it’s not supposed to answer all possible questions, it’s supposed to make investors interested and to invite them to have a more detailed conversation.