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Startup Pitch Deck: 3 Keys for Funding Success

A pitch deck helps entrepreneurs and startups present their business ideas and get funding. Learn the basics and how to create a vibrant narrative.

Do you have an idea for a new product or service? Have you been working on a business plan but don't know where to start? If you're looking for help, you need to convince people that you are the right person to collaborate with. So you really want to be a master of the effective pitch deck.

Today we'll talk about what a pitch deck can do for you and your business. And we include a link to our templates further below. We do recommend reading this article first, to better understand pitch decks before you jump into the creation process! This way, you're able to create a pitch deck that will be most effective in getting your message across.

You'll find the 3 Keys for Funding Success in this article today. And feel free to share your comments with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or directly here. So let's get started.

A pitch deck is a document that you use to share your ideas with potential investors, partners, or early coworkers. It is a powerful way to communicate your business proposition and business story. You use it to persuade others to not only support your idea, but to believe in you. Do it in a compelling way, and you'll win over investors, colleagues, and clients.

We'll also walk you through the basics of creating a persuasive pitch deck and share some tips on how to make the most of it. This includes your slides and narrative while matching your startup to the right investors and funding.

Executive Summary

In summary, we will cover all these pitch deck topics today:

  • Pitch Deck Background
  • Fundamental Pitch Deck Elements
  • The Appearance & Impact of Your Pitch Deck
  • What to Look For in an Investor
  • Fine-tuning Your Pitch Deck

What is a Pitch Deck?

A pitch deck presents a short but comprehensive summary of a business. It outlines business plans, products, services, and the essentials of each. Additionally, it includes detailed financial estimates and outlines funding requirements and needs. It compares these numbers to others in the industry wherever possible. Finally, the pitch deck includes emotional impact, which helps to influence people.

A pitch deck does not convince a potential investor to invest in a business right away. Your goal is to generate interest and build trust.

While a strong pitch deck is essential for securing funding, its primary objective is to build belief and build trust, so you can organize a follow-up meeting and solicit further information.

EMbroker reminds startups, "in reality, the true purpose of a pitch is to show investors why they should want to learn more about your startup."

Girl preparing her startup report

Fundamental Elements Your Pitch Deck Should Have

You have a story to tell. This is how you invite investors to fund your business. (And others to contribute in important ways). A well-constructed pitch deck is a concise, illustrative tool to back up your narrative as you present your request.

A pitch deck presents information in an easily-understood and visual format to solidify your information and support your logical argument for funding. Slides are sleek and minimal. Your verbal and physical presentations include the stores and emotional impact, which seal the deal.

Build a solid and comprehensive pitch by covering all the elements investors expect from a company ready to receive funding. As you compose your pitch deck, remember it is a support tool to your verbal presentation. As you gather the information for each section, be sure to work on your narrative as well.

Invest time and effort on your deck. You should make sure each slide looks fantastic. Know your metrics and your business better than anyone else. It's important to share success stories and testimonials in order to illustrate traction. Keep things punchy, concise, clear, and engaging.

At a minimum, your pitch deck needs 11 basic elements, which we cover below. These elements help you present a persuasive argument. At the same time, it needs to be succinct and clear.

After your presentation, follow up consistently, yet be patient. An investment contract is unusual after just one meeting, given the hundreds of millions of start-ups which are formed each year globally.

The legal advice for startups company SeedLegal suggests:

Always prepare two versions of your slide deck - one with financials and fundraising details and one without so you can send out teasers to a wide set of people, and only give out your financials to a small set.

1. Company Purpose

Start with a teaser slide that showcases your company's mission and vision. Speak here for a short 15-21 seconds: this is to deliver your vision statement with impact.

Make it memorable. You want investors to remember this vision statement as you run through your supporting evidence.

2. Problem and Opportunity

Present the niche your company fulfills and emphasize these three points:

  • What is the problem or opportunity?
  • Why is it important to solve it?
  • Who are you solving the problem for?

3. Solution

Provide a description of how your solution addresses the issue you just described and why it is superior to other solutions.

  • Why is your solution better?
  • How is it different from others in the market?
  • Why is your team the right one to deliver it?

4. Market Size

Show your potential investors there is a market large enough to support and sustain growth in your business:

  • You have to convince your audience that the market opportunity is significant and attainable.
  • Use key statistics. In this scenario, for instance, describe the value of your Total Available Market (TAM), Serviceable Available Markets (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Markets (SOM).
  • Relate the market size to your profitability timeline.

5. Product

Introduce your product, how it works, and stress the benefits to consumers:

  • What are the key features of the product and how does it work?
  • Why do customers care about the product?
  • What are the major product milestones so far?
  • How is your PMF defined? (Product Market Fit)

Include images of your product or service in use. If possible, show real people and test customers here! If you do not have a working product yet, include visuals of what you are building. Pictures with people also help to increase engagement.

6. Team

Build credibility with information about your team. This slide should include:

  • Pictures of key team members
  • The name and title/role of key team members
  • A significant accomplishment for each person which identifies key strengths and experience indicating their contribution to the business

7. Competition

Show how you excel at what you do or how you differ from other players. Competition from direct competitors shows there is a market for your product.

  • What numbers are published by your competitors?
  • How long are they in business?
  • What do you need to do better than your competition?

8. Business Model

Describe how you are going to make money by providing 1 to 3 different revenue sources:

  • How do you make money?
  • What is the pricing model?
  • What is the long-term value of a customer?
  • What is your customer acquisition cost?
  • Which data here is from reliable, published, industry sources, and which is a "best guess"?

9. Market Plan

Describe how you reach customers now, and how you will expand your reach in the future:

  • Describe the key marketing channels you will use
  • Illustrate successes you have had and which channels have worked
  • Delineate your preliminary customer acquisition costs per customer
  • List any press or buzz your business has so far

10. Current Financials

In this slide, you will talk about what you have accomplished so far. Show traction.

  • Total revenue, ARR, MRR, profits
  • CAC, LTV and Margin (unit economics)
  • Current number of customers and partners signed up
  • Then forecast for 1 to 3 years to demonstrate your ambition and growth plans. Be realistic. What is attainable?

11. The Ask

You've presented all these details to support your funding request. Now show that when you receive money, you will use it wisely to grow your business. Once again, be realistic:

  • How much cash money are you raising?
  • What is the current company valuation?
  • How will you spend the investment funds?
  • Segment your cash burn into categories, such as Product Development, Operations, Marketing, and Sales
  • Separate capital expenses from operating expenses (CapEx vs. Opex)
  • The estimated time period to demonstrate financial results, i.e. how long until you are profitable or raising your next round of funding.

Appearance Helps Investors Remember You

You know the adage, you have one chance to make a first impression! Your pitch deck's appearance contributes to how investors remember you and your company. This strong image is there to make an emotional impact. And ultimately, people utilize emotions to make decisions.

For example, Nutanix is a cloud computing company founded in 2009 and known for its great pitch deck. As an IPO, it quickly became one of the most successful in history, with its stock price growing 130%.

To explain the startup's function, the pitch deck shows:

  • How it communicates
  • What the company is all about
  • Uses branding colors, brand voice, and realistic graphics
  • and evocative words like intuitive, beautiful, insightful for emotional impact

The energy and effort you invest in engaging graphics and words not only helps you communicate succinctly, but plants unforgettable images in the minds of investors.

When you make a visual, verbal, and emotional impact, people will remember you and be more engaged with you. This will help them make a decision to work with your startup.

What to Look For In An Investor

Not every investor will be interested in your business. That's OK!

You will benefit from matching your investment pitch with investors who understand and support your industry. And you want to match your funding request with the type of investment the venture capital investor makes.

Choosing the right funding source from the beginning will save you from unnecessary heartache and disappointment.

Consider all these factors which your Investor can offer you:

  • In-depth knowledge of your company's market
  • Understanding the challenges that might arise during product development and launch
  • A strong network of other investors who can help with future equity raises
  • Ability to ramp up sales, develop a marketing approach for a company's products, and experience doing the same for other companies within your industry
  • Industry advice and networking opportunities

Team with working with puzzle and laptop

Fine-Tuning Your Pitch Deck: The Ultimate 3 Keys to Success

A. Match Your Pitch Deck to the Venture Capital Source

While the basic format of a pitch deck is the same, you should make sure you are researching the interests and requirements of any funding source you have in mind.

While your pitch may seem appealing to a VC, this part of your process isn't just about the pitch. As mentioned above, you want to make sure any investor you pitch is part of a mutual match.

For example, angel investors may be open to a longer growth time-frame while institutional investors want high growth right now.

At Wayra, we have a pitch deck template to help you get started. You can use this for many different pitch deck purposes, whether you want a a general pitch deck, or want to pursue corporate venture capital, or you are looking to match your startup with client opportunities at Telefónica.

B. Look For Feedback On Your Pitch Deck

From the very first stage of researching VCs, you should be in the habit of getting feedback on your project and pitch, no matter how small or large the audience may be. Getting feedback each step of the way is crucial, as this helps you spot potential problems going forward and fixes any issues you may have missed in the past. Find a good way to pitch your project, and be sure to include emotional impact at appropriate points.

You want to check your metrics with experts in your industry, see if you have any holes in the presentation, and make sure it reads well before you pitch your investors.

Ideas to consider for feedback:

  • Clarity - does the presentation make sense?
  • Unanswered questions - are there gaps in your facts?
  • Aesthetics - is it easy to read and uncluttered?

You want to know about anything in your pitch deck that is unclear and raises questions.

If you have an excellent pitch before investors see it, you'll be able to succeed. So every chance for quality feedback helps you refine your pitch. The more chances you have to spot mistakes in reasoning, assumptions that are unclear to your audience, or things that simply make little sense or flow well, the better.

C. Tell a Story with Your Pitch Deck

Although you may generate interest in your startup through your pitch deck slides, at some point, you will tell your story: the story that lies behind the pitch deck.

You will need a strong 15 to 20-minute presentation to accompany your slides when you are scheduled to speak by phone, in front of a large audience, or online. It should prepare you well for a successful Q&A session.

Facts are always going to be facts, but how you present them is what matters! In the end, you want to get startup investors excited because they are investing in you and in your future.

Step 1: Model the Future

Model out how the future is going to unfold. What do your next 18 to 24 months look like? What is your execution? Who will be to be part of this? Then look farther into the future with the potential outcome or potential exit.

You are sharing this future because not only are they investing in it, they are going to be sharing that future with you.

Step 2: Introduce Your Main Characters

You are telling a story. Every story has main characters. Your storytelling is going to introduce the characters. That's how you create that excitement and enroll investors in your vision and ambition that will really make all the difference.

Talk about why you have the right people. Show what makes them unique and why they are the best to adapt to whatever the market is requesting from your business.

Let your investors know what your team accomplished so far. Emphasize why you have the right team to execute your vision and your advantage over your competitors who are also indirectly or directly competing against you.

Step 3: How Your Story Ends

How are you going to be the champions? Give your story a really great finale. Describe your solution and why that solution has an edge.

Showcase to the investor what makes you unique, and how you will get your message in front of your customers and potential customers. Then you repeat your vision with impact. It's all about the vision that you're painting and getting them excited to jump in.

The narrative trumps the intellectual property in your presentation. You may be technical, and you may have all the intellectual property in the world. But in summary, your ending is all about the future. The narrative is not about your past. It's not about your present. It's all about your future. So it's all about making sure that you're able to deliver that with a bang.

The end of your narrative leaves investors with a clear vision and a powerful feeling of your future together.

Pitch Deck Wrap up: Your Ticket to The Future

The startup pitch deck is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs to present their company to investors and potential customers.

It is a sales tool that helps entrepreneurs get their idea across in a succinct way and helps investors understand the company's business model and strategy. The right pitch deck will help you connect with investors and secure funding for your business.

The pitch deck is the first step in securing investor funding, and it's an opportunity to make a good first impression. It is important to use the right words and phrases to convince potential investors that your company is worth investing in.

A well-crafted pitch deck will help your investor-audience understand what your company does and why they should invest in you. By incorporating persuasive techniques into your presentation, you can increase the likelihood of securing funding for your startup.

At Wayra we’re looking for innovative new ideas. Use our pitch deck template as a guide. Then let us know you are ready. We’d love to hear your vision of the future.

December 21, 2022
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