The most successful pitch decks are not based on vision and promises alone, but on traction and numbers that prove you’re unquestionably up to something great, says pitch deck veteran Caya
Caya is a Co-founder and CEO of Slidebean, an online presentation software and a 500 Startups accelerator company. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Caya is a TEDx Speaker and a cinephile.
A pitch deck presentation needs to be extremely data-driven and get to the point much quicker than the average deck. In a matter of minutes, your reader needs to get hooked with your story, accept your problem as a reality, and expect what you have to offer in order to solve it.
These singularities require using the right pitch deck outline and including key elements to bind your story.
Here are the must-have slides for your pitch deck:
Grab their attention with your introduction
The first two slides on your pitch deck should be stunning to ensure you catch your viewer’s attention through the rest of the presentation. They should include your company name, one ‘hero image’ of your startup and your elevator pitch or tagline.
This text should be a five-seven word description of your product or service, that’s just enough to understand what your company does. Don’t get too wordy!
Also, pick a product image that really reflects and explains what your company does. Hero images often include a person actively using your product/service.
Slidebean is integrated with Flickr, so you’ll be able to browse Creative Commons images and add them with no additional cost.
Explain the business opportunity in the problem slide
For the problem slide in the pitch deck, make sure that you are able to summarise the problem in one-four bullet points. If your investor can understand the problem you are describing, they will empathise with your product earlier on, which is great!
Next comes the solution — your product. In this slide, you want to lay out three key benefits of your service.
Finally, the market size slide should refer to the real addressable market for your company, and should give an estimate of what percentage of the market are you looking to dominate.
Your business model elaborates on why you can beat the market
This is a key slide in your pitch deck. The business model should be very clear, so ensure that to lay it out with as few words as possible.
Acknowledging competition is a good thing, it tells your investor that you are on top of things and that you have strategies in mind to beat them.
Your proprietary technology slide should refer to your unfair advantages, IP (intellectual property), technologies and innovations that are unique to your company. On the competition slide, name your top competitors and point out their weaknesses.
The marketing plan slide is another key element of any pitch deck. It should lay out your long-term customer acquisition strategies and answer the question: ‘How are you going to get to millions of dollars in revenue?’.
Hacker, hustler, hipster works
Talk about your core team and let your investor know that you have all the skills to bring your company to your next milestone. Remember the ‘Hacker, Hustler, Hipster’ combination is always ideal.
Unless your mentor is someone like Guy Kawasaki, don’t waste a lot of time/space on them.
This should be the killer slide in your deck! The bigger and steeper the chart the better, so make sure to pick your most relevant metric and brag about it here. In any pitch deck, traction makes the difference!
The best way to think about your pitch deck template is by applying the three-act structure used in storytelling. Each act will explain critical aspects of your value proposition, allowing you to build up enough interest for the moment when you sell your product/service.
Here’s a quick overview on how to plan your pitch deck outline (your pitch deck journey, so to speak). As you can see, the pitch deck outline allows you to organise your content in a logical way.
In the first act: You need to establish the status quo and convince people there is a problem that needs solving. There is a narrow window of opportunity to catch people’s attention from the very beginning, so the intro of your pitch is crucial.
In the second act: You get the chance to develop your story. This is where you elaborate on what your solution is, and why you and your team are the ones meant to see it done. This is the time to wow your audience and make them believe in your business.
A startup pitch deck needs to be filled with mind-blowing numbers, from the minute you get on stage to the moment you get off.
The most successful pitch decks are not based on vision and promises alone, but on traction and numbers that prove you’re unquestionably up to something great! Remember that throughout your entire presentation.
In the third act which leads to the climax: This is the moment when the van touches the water in Inception. This is when all you’ve been building up comes to its highest peak, and you get to “The Ask”. This can range from revealing your pricing tiers to announcing a sexy partnership with a big player in your market. This is the moment where your audience needs to say “shut up and take my money!” so make sure you deliver.
After that, come back to earth, summarise your key metrics, and don’t forget to remind your audience who you are (i.e. startup name + one-liner).
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