It is not necessary to learn from the mistakes of others. Wisdom is also in analysing success to figure the approach and practice. And to adapt and adopt it in your behaviour and methods to spearhead a start towards its success. Following are some of the key takeaways from effective pitch decks of successful startups:
Use social proof to demonstrate traction
- Company: Buffer is a social media scheduling platform that helps schedule content to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest-Funds raised: $500,000-Observations: The deck presented user-based facts and figures – such as 800 users, $150,000 annual revenue run rate, etc.
- Company: MapMe allows users to create universally accessible (i.e. on smartphones, tablets, and computers) maps of anywhere they want with no coding required.-Funds raised: $1 million-Observation: The deck demonstrated traction with social evidence such as 20,000 unique visitors, 18,000 monthly alerts, 12 minutes average sessions on the site.
Tell a story to present the problem the solution addresses
- Company: Mixpanel is an advanced analytics platform for mobile and the web. They not only measure page views but also analyze the actions people take.-Funds raised: $65 million-Observation: The deck started off with a problem: people guessing their analytics. It followed up by providing their solution to that problem and, ultimately, their competitive advantage.
- Company: Dwolla is a payment solution that allows users to send, receive, and request funds from other users.-Funds raised: $16.5 million-Observation: The company narrated the story of its founder paying $50,000 annually in credit card fees and then creating a solution for never doing it again.
Saying more with less
- Company: MapMe allows users to create universally accessible (i.e. on smartphones, tablets, and computers) maps of anywhere they want with no coding required.-Funds raised: $1 million-Observation: In fewer than 13 slides, the deck provides investors with knowledge of traction the site got going viral on social media and their go-to-market strategy.
- Company: Wealthsimple, Canada’s first online investment manager.-Funds raised: $2 million-Observation: Keeping it short and sweet, the pitch deck effectively lays out the industry transformation in a table format.
Clarity in positioning and simplicity in messaging
- Company: Manpacks is a platform that delivers men’s essentials such as underwear, razors, grooming and other products.-Funds raised: $500,000-Observation: Their deck shows self-awareness throughout the entire pitch. They were undertones of fun in the product explanation.
- Company: Bliss provides metrics for coders and allows them to collaborate easily.-Funds raised: $400,000-Observation: Well-composed, the deck shows a clear understanding of the product and the target group of investors.
Based on a review of pitch deck and reaction of the investor audience, there are some mistakes you must avoid. Some of these are:
- Long-drawn deck and/or verbose slide: A pitch deck with more than 15-20 slides could lose an investor’s already limited attention span. The same goes for verbosity.
- Information overload: The pitch doesn’t need to detail every component. Rather add or highlight key information while presenting to your investors. Financial details can be in a follow-up or as an appendix.
- Complex language: Jargons and acronyms are at a risk of being misunderstood. Refrain from using it.
- Poor aesthetics: Don’t have a stale pitch deck in terms of content, i.e. information and metrics. Similarly, low-quality layout, graphics, or “look and feel” make the pitch deck unprofessional.