Did you know this already?
Now that we have hooked you, all you must do while starting a pitch deck is to hook your audience. The hook is a one-liner that helps to explain everything and grab the attention. A good deck starts with a hook so that audience can be hooked right away, or they could be struggling from start. It can be a statement or a question. A good hook heats the audience’s interest and they are much willing to find the answer to it. It keeps the tension on the right level. When thinking about the hook, think about how you can be wowed? If you imagine yourself in the shoes of your audience for a minute, your mind can be stimulated to come up with unique and catchy hook ideas.
We helped Incorta raise $30 million via their Series C pitch deck!
Getting the financing is not an easy task. Another problem is to find the right way to work with interested investors. Investment rounds are divided into different categories and there are different requirements for each stage that needs to be met. At each stage, there are clearly defined tasks to attract money but with some limits. Another reason for dividing funding into different rounds is to make it easier for the investors to understand the stage of startups and tasks (it’s currently finding a solution).
For understanding how does funding work, it is good to understand what venture capital means. Venture capital is money invested by private companies for the early stages development of startups. A venture capital gets an equity stake. Most of the VC holders invest in idea-stage startups if they find them promising, looking for big future profits. The main task is to look for a company with the potential to become a new future Facebook/Amazon. For every $10k spent, the investor can earn $1 million. This is what makes investments most profitable but most risky. The investment period is of 7-10 years after which they sell shares on exchanges or to strategic buyers.
To understand how venture investment works, let’s look at all defined stages i.e. Pre-seed, Seed, and Series A, B, C. Few companies go to series D and E funding rounds as well.
The first stage is pre-seed funding in which the founders invest their resources for starting a business. This includes funding from family and friends. It also includes the people with little and no investment experience who can’t understand risks with initial funding.
“The main task of pre-seed funding is to test the idea.”
The founding team will get a small investment to accomplish small milestones before going for seed investment. At this stage, investors are more willing to invest in a team than an actual product. If your co-founders have worked in large companies at the senior level and have good launching experience with startups, then your startup might have a better chance at winning the deal. The question at this stage is: do they have a good understanding of what they are doing so you could trust that person with your money? Sometimes there is a possibility that the whole concept of the initial product concept will change after the MVP release with a shift in direction of launching a startup.
The second stage of investment is seed funding. At this stage, not only a startup has a product and a team, but also more sales channels. The task here is to scale business through these cost-effective channels. It includes both product and team expansion. Funds given are not only for marketing or development but primarily for scaling – this happens when the team multiplies sales volume but not staff or costs of a company. The goal with the investments is to accelerate the company’s growth to help in capturing the largest possible market share in the shortest time possible. A major source of funding here is “angel investors.” They refer to high net worth individuals investing in early-stage startups.
“Raising this type of funding is one major goal of any startup.”
It is necessary to have a product and go-to-market strategy at this stage. Investors need to believe at this stage everything is a result of effective business practice, not accidental success. To convince investors at this stage, you need to develop a product prototype, get done with market testing, and understand investor’s interests for future funding rounds. A seed funding should tell the product’s unique values, startup’s achievements, and founder’s willingness to push the concept further in the market.
At this stage, rapid growth happens. You can make money, along with expertise and connections to help your startup grow bigger. Startups can choose their investors list. This is an important stage since later-stage investors may not easily fund startups with weak investors on board. Companies at this stage can raise funds from $500 thousand. The main goal of the organization at this stage is mass production or service work with a full team 24/7/365. Series A funding gives startup years to come up with its products, team and start implementing its go-to-market strategy.
At this point, a startup has already spent some time in the market. Series B funding is required for further scaling business, increasing its competitiveness, and capturing a larger market share. The goal of this stage is to make this project profitable and lower down investment risk. Therefore, at this stage more financing is required as compared to series A.
We have described the main funding rounds. The above division by investment rounds gives us an idea about startups developing dynamics. All startups necessarily do not go through each round. They are often combined. At each stage of development, detailed research is required. Always make sure decisions are made according to the company’s specific needs. For every type of financing, think of a plan for returning funds invested. Choose what works best for your startup.
Developing a good pitch deck is challenging and takes time, but now you wouldn’t have to start from scratch as we have already researched and put together everything VCs want to see in a pitch deck.
Before we start working, we need to create an understanding of how the pitch deck works. What makes for good pitch decks? How does the process work? Which page matters most? Where is the most view time spent within a pitch? Which point should you focus on most? Not all entrepreneurs are good with pitch decks. So, coming up with a nice deck with good design aesthetics and unique selling points is not an easy job.
“The first thing to keep in mind while designing a pitch deck is to keep it striking and concise.“
If we think of a startup as a movie, then pitch deck isn’t just a trailer but a trailer for a trailer. The VC has a shorter attention span than you might think. Keep the deck slides to 20 or fewer. The investor will spend 3 minutes and 30 seconds on average on each pre-seed deck. So, it is better to convey more by keeping it short and to the point.
We believe that to deliver a good pitch, you need to come up with a good story whose narrative must be supported by a good outline. Depending on the audience or stage the structure may vary. Given below is an outline that helps you in building a great story for raising seed funding:
1. COMPANY PURPOSE
Company purpose is your vision for success. This represents how passionate you are about achieving it and why should an investor believe enough to join you.
Discuss the validity of your solution by comparing existing solutions. You need to tell why this is a big problem and worth solving. Support reasons by sharing relevant data.
3. WHY NOW?
The point of this slide is to let investors know why it is now the right time for your product. ‘Why now’ slide should be placed between problem and solution slide, ideally. It will help more in developing a perfect sense that what problem exists, why is the right time to solve it and what solution are we providing.
Present your innovation as the most efficient and user-centered solution available. Show why your solution is a painkiller to the problem and its worth to the customers.
5. MARKET SIZE
Present target audience, the potential size of your market, sales, and competition. Let them know how accessible the market for your product is.
Present a product’s unique value, features, product development roadmap, an initial solution with successive products, and growth opportunities. Let the investors know how the existing market will be disrupted by your product and its future scope.
The problem slide is the core of your deck. It comes in the beginning and your whole story builds around it. Use it as a guideline to unfold the rest of the story like aspects of your product, your business model, and introducing a team. Everything should perfectly address the problem you found.
Introduce your team and share your plan to address significant gaps among them. It is necessary to show your team the right kind of people to make your startup a huge success and also tell how your organization is going to scale over time.
8. BUSINESS MODEL
Discuss how you are generating revenue and your profit from startup operations.
Study what exists in your solution’s context and how you will outpace competitors. Prove this is the right time for you to do it and beat the existing competition.
Provide financial statements along with your future financial plans. Be sure to forecast out at least three years.
For a pre-seed pitch, you will need to show the best data to demonstrate to investors that you are onto something, even if you haven’t launched a product yet. This is called validation. Data may include surveys / interview results, testimonials, letters of intent, etc. The whole purpose of validation is to make investors believe that you are making strong progress with available resources.
Let’s talk about design
Talking about the design aspects of the pitch deck, it is not just about fonts and colors, but about building brand equity from the beginning. A well-designed deck can increase your perceived value and credibility. To maintain your brand’s visual identity, it is essential to use a consistent font. A lot of times fonts get missing or unfamiliar devices get you in trouble, so it is good practice to use PDF. It will help in making sure all visual elements are as expected. This might prevent the use of transitions and animations but will make sure anyone looking at your deck sees it as you intended. (with chosen formatting).
“Pitch decks are aimed at quick communication.”
Try to make maximum conversation visual. Cut some words with visual graphics. Photographs can also help in emphasizing points. Infographics and charts can help in showing relationships, contrasting, and comparing data. Take every attempt to make your deck a quick read. After finalizing core content, it is best to work with a designer to relieve the pressure of creating and using visual aspects of a brand. It may be not very necessary, but it is good to keep your deck mobile friendly. Text size should be above 14pt and limit number of words per slide.
Best pitch decks examples
We have researched over 100s of decks and found some pitch decks worth sharing. They fit perfectly to pitch deck templates. There are very few investor-pitch decks that seem complete with few words/slides.
They were able to raise $270K funding through this deck
This pitch deck is a perfect example of how simple things can be. The company explained everything well without making it technical. Everything is summed up well in simple visual slides.
They were able to raise $8 Million in series A funding through this deck
This deck follows every design instruction almost – one argument per slide and consistency throughout. Moreover, the deck speaks for itself. No one is required to explain a particular slide. Everything to be highlighted was done using prominent words and visuals.
They were able to raise $19.3 Million in funding through this deck
Here’s an example of a pitch deck that tells a compelling story. It did not follow usual guidelines but molded them as per need. This pitch deck stands out well.
They were able to raise $600k in seed funding through this deck
This pitch deck works perfectly. It answers everything investors have in mind in 11 slides. This is a good example of how something complex can be introduced without making slides heavy.
Incorta Sales Deck
Incorta works with leading data and integration partners, platform and cloud partners, ISVs, and global systems integrators to assure that all of your data investments are leveraged at record speed and precision. We came up with a sales deck to help them raise capital of $30M.
Some other amazing deck we came up with:
IBM Cloud Strategy Deck
Keep things clear and simple. There is no need to put everything there. It’s okay to come up with a unique way to tell your story but don’t go too out of the box. Investors want to see who you are, what you have built over time and your achievements along the way than any other thing. They want to find the reason to believe you. At the end of the day, every effort you do is for getting investor’s interest so that you can move forward. With the right amount of effort and energy, you can achieve all your goals.