Simran is a highly recognized angel investor and investment banking professional. With his sharp business acumen, he co-founded Pitch Our Way and now spearheads the business as CEO. He has strong leadership skills that model the company’s vision and provides strategic direction to move forward in the market. Simran has a mindset to embrace obstacles. He understands obstacles are a part of any startup’s journey in business growth, scalability and fund acquisition. Being a strong investment banking professional, he turns obstacles into stepping stones that create new opportunities for startup founders to grow and leverage situations.
As exciting as laying the foundations of a startup is, getting the startup off the ground is just as daunting. Lack of industry connections, funds and limited resources further make it more challenging. There comes a time in every founder’s life when they must knock on the door of investors to raise funds for their startup. The only way to go about it is to create a pitch deck. For this reason, a pitch deck is one of the most frequently used words in startup jargon.
A pitch deck is the first communication of founders with investors wherein they introduce the startup to prospective investors and convince them to invest in it. Typically, pitch decks come into play as early as the seed stage and are pivotally important at the VC and Series A funding. The pitch deck enables investors to compare the startup with similar businesses, gauge the current performance and forecast if the startup can survive and thrive in the future.
What’s the story behind the venture?
Investors love to hear stories as they appeal to the primitive human brain. Founders should weave a story about the first inspiration, the early challenges and the problem the startup resolves. A good story can excite the investors and help them understand the startup’s motivation and vision.
What’s the business offering?
After introducing the challenges in the story, founders should portray their business offering as the answer to those challenges. The following 2-3 slides of the pitch deck should focus on the product viability, product differentiation, product demonstration, technology, customer testimonials etc. Instead of fixating on the technology, founders should show how their business offering meets the unmet consumers’ demands.
Who is steering the venture?
More than the idea or product, investors invest in people. Investors especially venture capitalists, look for passionate founders with skin in the game. Ultimately, the startup team is the one who turns the business concept into a reality. Consequently, founders should focus on the management team, their broad skillset, prior experience and expertise to spearhead a successful venture.
What are the market insights?
The pitch deck must include details about the target market, i.e., the specific demographic that will consume the product or service. Investors look for products that solve an unsolved market problem, a solution with a competitive edge. Consequently, founders must build the pitch deck around the product’s ability to solve unsolved market problems. Additionally, their product should address a significant market size that can expand in the future. The pitch deck must include a comprehensive market size analysis with traction and proof of concept.
How is the startup different from the competition?
Founders should dedicate at least 1-2 slides to their competition and how they are different from them. By distinguishing the business from its competition, investors can establish the uniqueness of the startup and its offering. Additionally, founders can include the funding each competitor has raised at various stages of valuation.
Where does the startup stand currently?
Savvy investors always look for key metrics to determine the financial performance of the business. Instead of attaching spreadsheets, founders should include graphs and numbers that show the income statement, cash flow projection, sales estimate, total customers and total profits for the last three years. Also, founders should be prepared to explain how they plan to improve their numbers. Founders should ensure that the pitch deck is regularly updated and includes all the critical metrics and milestones.
An Intensified Pitch Summary
All the great pitch decks include a summary memo or an executive summary that provides an overview of the business. It should not occupy more than 2-3 slides of the pitch deck. The executive summary should be aligned with the pitch deck and provide an outline for it. Additionally, founders can conclude with a call to action for the investors.
Founders must remember that the goal of creating a perfect pitch is to interest the potential investors enough to initiate a discussion. Investors seldom pull out their chequebooks at the first meeting itself. Before that, they want to be convinced of the business’s potential and promise. A well-designed pitch deck acts as a powerful tool and can attract and convince investors.