Did you know that compared to past years, the time VCs spend on pre-seed decks dropped by 24%? On average, they spent 2:42 on a presentation. The viewing time of seed decks also dropped by 9%, meaning that the time spent is 2:59*.
This means you have less than 3 minutes to lead the way to the success or failure of your tech startup.
To make the most of these 180 seconds, your pitch deck needs to spike interest from the very start. It needs to be a convincing snapshot of your business plan that raises funds and does not make VCs feel that they are losing time. So, how are you going to tackle this? Let us show you how to create a successful pitch deck for your tech startup.
Also, make sure to download our pitch deck template to prepare your startup for the next round.
What to include in your tech startup pitch deck
Describe what your company is about in one sentence: Breaking it down to one phrase forces you to be on point. Also, include your tech startup's logo, your tagline, and your elevator pitch. We know that nailing down your business to a one-liner can be tough; in case you need inspiration, you can use our free brand strategy tool that will help you get your elevator pitch in the blink of an eye.
For example: [Startup name]'s internal workforce insights together with external benchmarks empower professionals to make informed decisions and drive meaningful change within their organizations.
Make the best use of this part, as it is one of your strongest arguments. You might structure it the following way:
- Proof of problem, including data or real-life examples
- Existing solutions and their limitations, underscoring the need for a better approach
You have outlined the problem and the state-of-art. Make the transition to your winning solution smoothly. Take up the pain points of the previous slide and tackle each and every one, presenting a better approach covering all of them. You gain sophistication by finetuning and interlacing these slides on a visual level.
Clear the stage: Now it is time to present your product. Whether you are a SaaS, Fintech, HR tech, Proptech, or Cleantech startup, make sure to present the benefits and functionalities of your solution compellingly.
If you already have a working product, include screenshots or even videos; if not, you could draw on simplified UI screens to give an idea of the functionality.
Also, emphasize the scalability of your solutions, meaning that the problem is not too niche and that there is room for business growth.
Visualize your data to catch attention and avoid filling your slide with text. Define the total addressable market (TAM), the serviceable available market (SAM)—the portion of the market you can acquire based on your business model—and the serviceable obtainable market (SOM), which is the one you realistically will be able to reach. You can also predict how your target audience will evolve and how many users you will get.
One of the most common ways to communicate your key differentiator(s) is a comparative table with your competitors, including their features as well as yours. This is a concise but effective way to highlight your value proposition and should also be part of your brand strategy. If you lean towards a more visual approach, you could also include a positioning map with X- and Y-axes. Although this graphic will be easier to grasp, keep in mind that the information will be provided more superficially.
In case you are struggling with your brand strategy, maybe our Brand Strategy Toolkit will help you. It guides you through the process of developing a solid brand strategy, including your positioning map.
Together with the Solution slide, the Business model slide is the one that investors spend the most time looking at: namely between 45 and 50 seconds*. So, make full use of every second. You might also add an overview of any partnerships or strategic alliances.
Traction & roadmap
While early-stage startups might not have significant traction, they still need to present compelling metrics, whether it is user engagement, pilot results, or other KPIs. Include the milestones you have already achieved and the forthcoming ones. You could include significant points in your solution's lifecycle, such as alpha or beta launches, major feature releases, and more.
Marketing & sales strategy
Especially for SaaS startups targeting large enterprises, the sales cycle can be long and unpredictable. This can be a concern for investors who want to see quick growth.
Therefore, you need to promote a clear strategy, with actionable steps on the marketing and sales level.
Outline how you plan to tackle customer churn rates or other obstacles that might arise. Don't forget about your marketing and brand experience: communicate the changes you want to realize in your visual identity or marketing initiatives.
Investors don't just invest in ideas; they invest in people.
Highlight the key members of your team, their expertise, and why they're the right people to solve this problem to gain the trust of investors. While most slides of tech startup pitch decks vary, the Team slide is prominent in 100% of successful startup pitch decks.* You can also include logos of the companies your team members have worked for.
More numbers: Investors are interested in your company’s financial health for the last 3-5 years along with details of the business model and finances. Present the sales forecast, total expenses, income statement and cash flow forecast. Although for a SaaS service, for instance, it is difficult to predict its subscription rate, VCs love predictability. Hence, include a steady and growing Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) to gain investor confidence if possible.
Use of funding
Provide an overview of how you are planning to spend the funding. Make sure to cover all points, ranging from infrastructure to workforce and sales and marketing spending.
3 things that will make investors happy
Keep it short and sweet. VCs don't have time to lose, so a concise pitch deck shouldn't include unnecessary information. Try to narrow down the most important points on 10 to 12 slides. If a piece of information or page doesn't have a purpose, don't include it.
Be prepared to follow up. Have additional materials, references, or data on hand if potential investors or stakeholders want a deeper dive.
Remember that VCs probably read a bunch of pitch decks each week: Be sure to stand out. That doesn't mean going crazy in terms of layout and color.
Stick to a professional yet dynamic style by implementing your branding.
Be consistent in using your brand colors and add personality to your texts—describing headers like “The problem” won't spark your audience's interest.
A lot of information to digest, right? If you are looking to create a pitch desk with a clear structure that does not miss out on any relevant information, feel free to download our Pitch Deck Template. With an easily adjustable layout and useful pro tips, it helps you rock your next pitch.
* Source: docsend.com.
Other resources used for this article include: techcrunch.com, failory.com, saastitute.com.