Slide wise, your pitch should ideally have the following, and in this particular order as this is the general expectation from potential investors.
1. Company Overview and Mission/Vision
Grab the attention of the room immediately by confidently assuring the potential investors that your company is ready to go places. You can summarise why (customer base already in place, what the USP (Unique Selling Point) is etc.) in a handful of bullet points that will include your mission and vision. You don’t have long to ‘sell’ the startup so make your opening gambit count.
2. The Team
If the most important thing about a company is its people, then make sure your investors know who they are potentially dealing with and what they do. Pictures, along with a brief summary of what each individual brings to the team is enough, however, you may wish to include board members and/or consultants here to give your startup some credence.
3. The Problem and The Solution
Your potential investor isn’t going to put their hands into his/her pocket if they don’t understand what problem your company is looking to solve. You need to not only determine the importance and size of the problem, but articulate why what you will be proposing as the solution is the best available option.
4. The Product and Market Opportunity
Does your pitch deck indicate what your product’s key features are, how it’s different from others in the marketplace, your USP and whether other features are planned?
By giving an overview of the market opportunity, and where your product sits, can you then clearly explain to your potential investors what their returns may look like? Profit, especially one that is made quickly, is guaranteed to prick up the ears.
It’s vital to include the names of any customers if the startup already has a few on board. This hints at the viability of the product and will encourage potential investors to want to hear more. If you’re so minded, use the logos from those customers in this slide to set the tone.
Have you any patents for the technology that your startup is using or intends to use? If not, are they pending? Investors will see the dollar signs flash before their eyes if they can see they’re onto a winner with a startup that has covered all bases. Explain clearly at this point what the technology is and does, and why it is superior to your competitors.
Who are the direct competitors to your startup and what threat do they pose?How is your company better/different? Two very basic questions that you must have the answers to. If you’re not aware of these simple facts, why should an investor have confidence in your ability to understand the marketplace?
It’s never a negative if a startup can already show some traction when pitching to investors. In a general sense, it offers proof of concept at the earliest stage and will likely encourage further investment. It’s important to understand the relevance of where the initial traction has come from too eg company website, testimonials or early stage partnerships etc.
9. Business Model
Very simply, draw back the curtain and allow investors to completely understand the dynamics of your business model. Make sure this slide gives an indication of customer value, pricing model and how the company makes money. Be completely transparent here.
10. Marketing Plan
Has there been any early buzz around the company and its product(s)? If so, say so. You’ll need to have decided early on in the process whether you will have gone the social media, direct email or PR route to help get your product some traction. The strength of your marketing plan will also determine how many customers you get and/or retain.
11. Financials and What You’re Asking For
Ensure that any company projections aren’t unrealistic. Though you shouldn’t undersell the value of the company, nor should you put forward figures that can’t be backed up. Be accurate with your figures and know them (burn rate, revenue and expenses etc) like the back of your hand. This will benefit you when asking for the amount you consider appropriate. Make sure to appraise any potential investors as to where the proceeds of any investment will be used and, if you have any existing investment, be sure to sign off by making this known – particularly if there are any high-profile investors already on board.