You’ve set up your business, created the perfect product and hit the ground running and now want to catapult your business into success. The path to making these ideas and manifesting their vision of success into a reality often leads business owners to seek funding. Searching for angel investors and attracting venture capitalists is the natural next step. A pitch deck is your first communication tool to help you raise funds with potential investors and showcase your company in the most attractive light. Read further for Skidmore’s guide on preparing a pitch deck to attract investors’ attention.
You first slide should be a short overview of your company. Describe your company, what problem it solves, where you are located, key members of your team and any existing traction
Skidmore Tip — In your presentation, instead of regurgitating, simply summarize your main objective. Start with “this is my company and this is what we do”
In this slide, showcase the people behind your idea and company. Provide pictures of key team members, their roles and a short summary of their previous experience and expertise. Advisors and board members should be included to boost credibility.
Skidmore Tip — Investors often see a company’s team as the most important determinant of whether or not to invest. Your people can be your greatest asset. Focus on a significant and relevant accomplishment for each team member to identify them as top performing winners
What problem are you trying to solve? Why is this problem important and who are you solving this problem for? Be compelling with storytelling how you share the problem and make it relatable to the audience.
Skidmore Tip — Your goal with this slide is to have everyone nodding and agreeing with what you are saying
Describe how you are planning to solve the aforementioned problem and why it is better than other existing solutions. Briefly highlight where you differentiate and innovate. You do not need to get too granular and provide a detailed technical explanation, but more so provide a general overview of how you’d fix the problem.
Skidmore Tip — Aim to ensure that the investor understands what you are selling and focus on your value proposition
How does your product or service actually work? Describe why your product is unique and explain the key features of your product. Explain why users care for your product, any product milestones, key differentiation factors and proposed future features.
Skidmore Tip — Time to show your examples to investors. You may even tell the story of your product with a short video or a live demonstration
This section is your opportunity to showcase the underlying magic behind your product - highlight existing technology as well as technology in development. Explain why the technology is superior and why it is difficult to replicate. Also use this section to mention key intellectual property rights your company has (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.)
Skidmore Tip — Keep this section dynamic — less text, more diagrams and flowcharts
Know and define the market you are in - include up-to-date and relevant figures along with graphs showing that your company will be addressing a large part of the market. Describe your key customer demographic and user habits.
Skidmore Tip — Beyond demographic metrics, know that you understand the values of your target market, particularly the ideal user
Knowing your market also means knowing your competition. Who are they, what’s their scalability, and then determine what your key differentiating features are compared to theirs. Provide a complete overview of the competitive landscape.
Skidmore Tip — Do not make the mistake of dismissIng your competition. Instead of focusing on why the competition is bad, focus on why your company is the right solution.
Beyond the market and product, this is your chance to wow with your business acumen. How does your business generate revenue? What is your pricing model? What is the long-term value of a customer? Be sure to mention customer acquisition channels, costs, channels of distribution, your gross margins.
Skidmore Tip — Business models often fall under the same template. If you truly have a business model that encompasses value-added items, consider putting emphasis on those points
No matter how innovative your product is, you will need a comprehensive marketing plan to reach customers. Mention key marketing channels (paid search, social media, TV, radio, email campaigns, etc.) and early marketing successes. Develop a contingency plan with preliminary customer acquisition costs per customer and any early press or buzz about your company.
Skidmore Tip — Propose a compelling brand story to complement your marketing plan. A strong brand story attracts customers and keep them loyal to your company
Investors want to understand your company's financial situation and your proposed monthly and yearly burn rate. Include three to five year financial projections, key metrics (ex. annual recurring revenue), total revenue and expenses. Your financials should be realistic and include long sales cycles and seasonal considerations.
Skidmore Tip — Make your investors understand the underlying assumptions behind your forecasted numbers
This is your ask - what kind of figures are you looking for? Provide a range of how much funding you are seeking and how long you project the financing to last. Highlight key uses of investment — technology, research, product development, new employees, capital expenses, marketing, etc.
Skidmore Tip — Tailor this section to said specific investor. Relate your pitch to their portfolio or company values. Demonstrate how your partnership would be beneficial to the investor beyond the numbers
To prove your company’s potential to investors, be sure to have a measurable set of customers. Use numbers to show early traction, such as sales, traffic to company’s website, app downloads, and growth metrics. Mention any previous or existing strategic partnerships and how you plan to accelerate this traction. You can also highlight customer testimonials or press coverage.
Skidmore Tip — Use this section to close your pitch deck with a compelling all to action
To summarize, when creating a pitch deck for your company to potential investors consider all of the variables mentioned. When Skidmore looks into possible businesses to acquire or invest into, we make sure that a thorough and detailed plan is outlined and that all supporting members are all equally aligned and goal-oriented. Something that speaks volumes is the team itself and the level of effort and belief in the success of their own business. This can be conveyed through the presentation with intentional key messaging. If you believe in what you're putting out there and working hard towards, others will too.