When talking to investors, visual aids provide cohesion, clarity, and (sometimes) entertainment.
Humans are visual creatures. No, that’s not a statement to convince you to use visual aids whenever you want to get your point across, but a scientific fact: half of the human brain is directly or indirectly devoted to processing visual information.
Now that the science of it is clear, let’s move on to the part where I say that you need to use visual aids whenever you want to get your point across. For startups, “the point” to get across is usually the product or service. The best visual tool for this? The pitch deck.
A lot of founders (and articles) tout the importance of having a pitch deck. Startups do want to sell their product, after all, and a pitch deck aids in presenting details in an organised and visually appealing manner to potential investors, clients, and partners.
So, how do you go about with creating a pitch deck?
There are different types of pitch decks, depending on your audience (DO tailor-fit your pitch deck to your audience) but today, let’s focus on your pitch deck for potential investors.
Here are 5 things to do when creating your pitch deck:
1. Set out to catch our audience’s attention
The first slide of your deck is your chance to drum up your audience’s interest. Best to give a quick summary of what your startup is all about. Some startups pose it as a comparison to another better-know company (“Uber for Clowns” or “the Spotify for orchestra music”). It does work but do make sure that your comparison makes sense.
In case there is no existing company you could base a comparison on, think of a fitting summary for what you’re trying to do and be concise about it. Think as you would when on Twitter – how would you describe your startup in 140 characters.
Or, do as Manpacks did and use a series of images.
Yes, this is Manpack’s first slide. No, I am not kidding. Yes, they raised USD 500K with a deck that began with this slide. Their whole deck runs on the same tone. See here.
2. Present a clear, concise idea of what you’re really out to do
Or, what is commonly known as the presentation of the problem and the solution. The quickest way of making your audience understand what your startup is all about is by providing them with scenarios where your product or service comes in to address a pain point, while capturing the most important aspects of your story – what you’re trying to do and why. As an example, take a look at the second and third slides of airbnb’s pitch deck:
In two slides, the audience already has a clear idea of what airbnb is all about.
3. Bust out the numbers
No matter how great and attractive your idea is, at the end of the day, investors are looking for something that has the potential to be profitable.
If you have already launched, now is the time to brag about your data – number of early adopters, sales – and provide validation that your solution works. Something like this:
A pretty straightforward enumeration of Buffer’s numbers. See full pitch deck here.
It’s also a good idea to show how huge of a market you’re planning to target, especially if you have yet to launch, to give investors the idea that there is an actual market.
From Airbnb’s first pitch deck. See full deck here.
4. Do the math
Show how you earn money. You need not go into the full details but you need to be able to flesh out who pays you and, with a little math magic, give a projection of your revenue based on the market size you’re targeting (or the trend your revenue is increasing based on the customers you already have).
Data startup Farmeron dedicated a slide showing where revenue comes from as well as the increasing trend. See the rest here.
5. Show off your team
A startup is only as good as the team that runs it. Investors are interested in knowing who the people they’re giving their money to and whether they are skilled enough to handle it. Dedicate a slide in your deck to giving a quick background of each of your team members (or the management team). Information like expertise, previous industry, and other career-related information relevant to your business and the position they hold is fine. Elaborate during the actual pitch.
A slide from the pitch deck used to land Dwolla, a payment solution, UD$16.5M. See the rest here.
Your pitch deck is one of the most important tools when talking to investors. While the information contained in it may vary depending on which stage of operation or fundraising your startup is on, the pitch deck should be able to present important information in a tone that reflects the personality of your startup.
A great, easy-to-process design helps a lot, too.
Got any more pitch deck ideas to help a fellow startup? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Curious about what’s up with the startups in Asia? We got an extensive list of startups (and their details) in the e27 startups channel. Check it out to browse startups or add, update, or claim your startup profile.
Feature image credit: arielsyahril / 123RF Stock Photo
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