The pitch deck, a short presentation for investors, originally comes from the US financial market, where speed and persuasiveness are essential. Venture capital companies are used to making quick decisions to invest quickly in selected start-ups. To influence these decisions in their favour, founders need to give a short presentation to potential investors. In this way, in a first, all-important step, you can convince the investor that it is worth holding further discussions. No matter how good a product or idea is, a poorly prepared pitch deck is a knock-out criterion for investors.
The pitch deck gives the first and most important impression! If this is unfavourable because the pitch presentation is poorly prepared, investors ask themselves how reliable or negligent the founder might be in everyday business life. In short, a professional pitch deck is essential if you want to convince investors.
Keep it short and simple!
The pitch deck should contain a maximum of 10 slides. The challenge is to only present essential content. Throughout the entire presentation, the key message should be that the identified market potential is great and that there is a well-thought-out roadmap for market success.
Contents of the pitch deck
Here the problem is presented, the solution of which is provided by the start-up’s product. The founder describes a specific need in society, industry, branch or technology. He points to trends, statistics and specialist articles. These substantiate the need in an objective way.
Example – Many of the farmers need to operate a large number of water pumps of different types such as centrifugal pump, jet pump, submersible etc. Often self-priming jet pumps or centrifugal are attached to the tube-wells and bore-wells to pump the water to a reservoir. Water from the reservoir is pumped by a second centrifugal or jet pump. A similar setup is used by the houses with inadequate water supply from the local Govt. Operating the pumps manually wastes energy and time.
Solution is that product
The start-up’s product solves the problem. The product presentation answers the following questions:
- How does the product solve the problem described?
- What can the product do?
- What are its properties?
- Why should the customer buy this product in particular?
- What is the unique selling point?
- What are the advantages of the product for buyers?
- How did the product idea come about?
The message: the product is the perfect solution to the problem. The market potential is huge.
Example: The product automates the setup. It can detect the water level of the reservoir, flow of water, control the pumps with dry run protection and offer two modes of operation. There are products in the market that are prone to a battery explosion and leakage of the toxic content in the water. The potential customers of this segment will choose this product for being a product without battery it is simply “install and forget”. As a village-dweller (or some other story), the founder is habituated with the problems of the agricultural fields laying under high voltage power lines.
The founder has to convince as a person because investors invest in people and ideas. If the personality is not convincing, no matter how good a pitch deck will help. What follows from this? The enthusiasm, the drive, the will of the founder have to come across throughout the pitch. Investors should get the feeling: Yes, it is she/he! That person can. Therefore, the founder should briefly introduce himself, his skills and – if available – his team.
Example – The founder is an active contributor to ABC open-source project. The co-founder has experience in digital affiliate marketing for 5 years.
Market and Competitors
The following questions can help:
- Which market is it about and how is it differentiated?
- What potential does it offer?
- What growth rates can be expected?
- How is the market developing?
- Who are the competitors?
It is important to present the defined target market with statistics in a way that is easy to grasp and understand. If statistics on the defined market are not available, the founder should define his market larger and, for example, look at it from a higher-level or neighboring product perspective.
Price and margin of the product
At the time of market entry, many start-ups find it difficult to set a market-driven price for their product, especially when the price range is very broad in competition. Therefore, the founder must explain the price level and price points conclusively and understandably. The presenter should show the range of prices (highest and lowest) of his competitors, where his product is located in this range and justify his price point. Also, he must state the expected margin and show how the margin can be improved through the economies of scale.
A start-up usually opens up the market step by step. A clear strategy is required for this.
The company must provide answers to the following questions:
- How will the targeted growth be achieved?
- Which channels are served when and how?
- With which initiatives?
- What are the success factors and promotion tools?
The pitch deck does not replace the business plan/financing plan. However, it must be congruent with the pitch. A key part of the presentation is the business plan including the financing plan and clear statements on the points mentioned above.
Ultimately, the investors make their investments intending to achieve a maximum return on investment (RoI). Investors hold back when a founder’s financial knowledge is seriously deficient. The founder must therefore convincingly demonstrate that he has mastered price structure, cost components and the expected development and scalability of his business. If the founder lacks a business background, he should seek expert advice. To catch up or to deepen knowledge, we recommend professional advice from controlling experts or attending a business plan seminar.