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Pitch Deck Month: The “Can You Be The Best?” Slide
*This post is part of our “pitch deck” series where we dissect the seed stage pitch deck and discuss the ideal flow for a pitch. You can read the rest of the posts in the series by clicking here*
Although most pitch decks follow a logical progression, we think the best pitches are ones that evolve into spirited discussion after the first 10 minutes. That’s why this template is designed to hit the high points of the pitch early, with the latter portions of the deck adding additional layers of evidence to get investors excited about your company.
By the time you get to this point in the pitch, you have hopefully convinced the investor that your team is special, you are pursuing a market opportunity that matters, and have a product offering that is resonating in the market. The last section addresses a question that is tough to fully answer – will you be the winner?
For any attractive opportunity, there is bound to be push back from incumbents, startups, and others in the space. Your job is to show that your positive momentum will lead to sustained market leadership.
Some readers may interpret this as the time to show a slide of competitors. And for some businesses in highly crowded markets, this may be appropriate. But we actually find that a true competitor slide is best saved for an appendix, and the emphasis here should be on the things that make your company extra special. In particular, think about a few specific areas:
- Double down on how much customers are loving your product. This can take the form of customer quotes, NPS scores, usage and engagement metrics, negative churn, and referral metrics. If your company is showing true product leadership, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to fully showcase this yet, so this is your moment to make your product shine. You can also emphasize rapidly improving metrics in addition to just the absolute levels, especially since young companies should be rapidly iterating on and improving the product experience.
- Double down on momentum and accumulating advantage. The best companies become more and more dominant as they grow, driven by things like network effects, data advantages, brand, culture, or other increasing returns to scale. I mention this in more detail in this post about Competition Crushing business Models. Even for companies that don’t show significant accumulating advantages early, traction tends to create new opportunities. This could take the form to larger and larger companies in the sales pipeline, biz dev deals that weren’t available early on, sales/marketing metrics that are steadily improving with more scale and experimentation, or mass market awareness or PR coverage.
Overall, at this point in the pitch, there should be a bit of a flip in the nature of the conversation. You started out somewhat backward looking, focused on how the company was formed and all the great things you’ve done to get to this point. This section should continue to highlight your strengths, but all with an eye towards the future.
In the back of the investor’s mind is the question of what it will be like to be part of this company over the next 18 months, and then the next 5+ years after that. Your goal is to create an image of what it will be like to be partnering with you to build this business, and to entice them with a sense that, even though there is a lot of work yet to do, the flywheel is definitely moving and accelerating.
You want to get the investor from a mindset of “this is pretty interesting” to “I really don’t want to miss this!”.
You’ll follow this up with a more concrete discussion of your “ask” and goals of the fundraise as you close the pitch. But don’t rush too quickly to the end, make sure you talk about where you envision your company going.
This is the part of the conversation where you can be the most creative and can really capture the imagination of your investors. This will probably also be the meat of the 2nd and 3rd conversations you are likely to have with the investor after they’ve digested the higher-level, core elements of the business.
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