Ambitious startups often need a substantial amount of capital. Bootstrapping can be an alternative, but often there is a limited window of opportunity and you need to move fast. In that case you might need venture capital and the key to get there is a great pitch deck.
I raised venture capital successfully six times of in total 140 MSEK. Along the way I have learnt a few things and I would like to share the most important factors that in my view make a pitch deck “investable”:
1. Explain the problem you are solving
Stress how big a problem this is for the customer – if possible, quantify it. Why does your customers need what you offer? What do they gain by buying it from you – in terms of money saved or other value? Take care to make this understandable to everyone, not just to people in your field.
2. Don’t get stuck on technology!
This is one of the most common beginners’ mistakes. You should have maximum two slides on tech – and you should be able to explain it to a five-year-old. Instead, make sure you have lots of material on your intended market and that you can speak convincingly both about potential first customers and about competing solutions.
3. Team is the most important
Show off a great team with skills and profiles that can convince investors that you will be able to deal with all the challenges of building a new company. Balance is important – make sure you have people of different backgrounds, from tech to sales to management experience. Also – don’t forget to mention any support people or organizations you are connected to, i.e. board members, advisory board members, incubators, investors and university collaborations.
Finally, adjust your pitch deck to your case. There are a lot of templates for what each slide in a pitch deck should contain, but what really works will depend on your business and your industry. It also depends on the context where you are presenting and on who is listening. You need to appear convincing and competent, but you also need to stand out from the crowd!