Friday, March 20, 2009

Positioning and pitch decks for startups

IMHO, a great pitch deck is concise (15 slides) and highly focused. And in the deck I like to see the following points covered (yes, this is my preferred order):

One/Two sentence pitch for company -value proposition (1 slide)

Brief history - founded when, capital raised to date and from whom, capital needed in new round (1 slide)

Who/Team - give me some context of who you are, your backgrounds, success/failures so I can get an idea of your ability to deliver and surround yourself with experienced talent, also include any board members or advisory board members that may be relevant (1 slide)

What's the problem? - too often I see pitches where the entrepreneurs dive right into the product and I scratch my head thinking why in the world we need another lifestreaming service or social network or ad network (1 - 2 slides)

How do you UNIQUELY solve the problem? - solving the problem just like everyone else is not exciting. You need to show how you solve the problem UNIQUELY and ultimately deliver a 5-10x improvement for the customer in terms of ease of use/functionality and cost. What this boils down to is your simple product pitch. (1-2 slides)

Product/Tech - make sure to tell me about your secret sauce or core tech that enables you to deliver a unique service - screen shots, overview, etc - could be good time to go into demo in a live meeting (1-2 slides)

Customer traction - is product in hands of customers? if so, how long in market and share some data on users or beta customers or customers (1-2 slides).

Market size/Competitive Overview - how big is the market and how do you come up with that number - how are you positioned in the market - show graphically maybe by offering or value proposition (this is where you get your typical top right hand corner Gartner like quadrant). A sin is to tell me you have no competition (1 - 2 slides)

GoToMarket Strategy - how will you grow quickly and in a capital efficient manner? How will you sell your product - online, direct, or indirect sales? any potential partners signed or game changing partners that will help you deliver? (1 slide)

Business/Revenue model - show me that the economics of your business work - note that single digit gross margins will get you thrown out the door pretty quickly (1 slide)

Financials - yes I know for early stage customers it is at best a guesstimate but give me an idea of how this will grow, what the revenue numbers look like over the next 3 years to give me an idea of how the business scales, and ultimately it helps me understand the true cash needs for the business to get to breakeven (1 slide)

The financing round - lay out the dollars you are asking for, how it will be used, and how long the cash will last (1 slide)

Milestones-what milestones have you hit so far and what do you plan on realizing during the next year with the new cash (1 slide)


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