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The killer pitch deck guide: part 1/2

Published about 2 months ago • 4 min read

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Hello, my friend,

This week's newsletter is actually written by my good friend Eva Dobrzanska

Eva Dobrzanska is an early-stage Capital Raising Expert working with Founders to help them fundraise more effectively and improve their investability. With insight into both non-dilutive & dilutive funding options, a vast investor network, and experience working with accelerators, incubators, and investment advisories, Eva continues to support founders to help them become more investible.


Despite the surge in AI-aided pitch deck design tools like Tome, Storydoc, PitchBob, and beautiful.ai, you still need to know what content actually goes on each slide.

An average VC reviews over 40 pitch decks in a day, dedicating around 3 minutes and 44 seconds to each. Suffice it to say that knowing what investors seek in each slide is crucial.

Intro Slide

Your first chance to make an impression.

Add a brief, product-focused sentence to describe your business - your Elevator Statement. It should communicate your industry, business model, target audience, and your main value proposition.

For example: StartupName is a B2B SaaS EdTech platform enabling young professionals to access diverse finance courses, track their learning progress, and earn rewards with our select partners.

Problem

The “Problem” slide is where you lay the foundations for your startup’s value proposition.

Frame the problem succinctly and vividly with statistics, numbers, figures, facts, anecdotes, news headlines, industry reports, quotes, published articles, and market research findings (whether secondary or primary) that illustrate the magnitude of the challenge, capture attention, and highlight your market awareness.

Demonstrate understanding of your customers’ needs and tie the problem back to market trends or shifts. You can illustrate how changes in tech, regulations, consumer behavior, or other relevant factors are exacerbating the problem, making your solution even more pertinent.

The Opportunity / Market

This slide is where investors want to see your understanding of the market landscape and gauge your potential growth opportunities (and assess their ROI potential).

Size of the market is often expressed in terms of TAM (Total Addressable Market), SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market), and SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market): Established and large markets typically harbor fierce competition.

While a substantial TAM can be enticing, it’s more critical to demonstrate how you’ll capture a meaningful portion of that market.

Investors will look for a robust Go-To-Market strategy and a well-thought-out differentiation strategy (the “moat”). Smaller markets might not attract many investors (particularly VCs, who target outsized returns). Your task is to convince them that the market is underserved or has unmet needs that your solution addresses effectively.

This is where your competitive advantage and innovation strategy (defensibility) take center stage. Show how you’re positioned to capture a significant share of this smaller market and how expansion plans could still lead to substantial growth. The market slide transcends mere numbers; it’s about storytelling.

Investors want to see your passion for solving a problem and a deep understanding of your customers.

Solution

The ‘Solution’ slide is your canvas to paint the picture of how you’re tackling the problem head-on.

Start with a succinct sentence describing your product/ service, then move on to describing characteristics that set your solution apart in a crowded landscape. Investors want to see that you’re not just creating another ‘me-too’ offering, but that you’re providing something that brings a new level of value, efficiency, or innovation to the market.

Discuss the specific features, functionalities, and benefits that make your solution compelling.

Business Model

The “Business Model” slide is your opportunity to demonstrate how your startup plans to turn its solution into revenue and sustainable growth. Investors want to understand how you will monetize your product or service.

You should provide clarity on:

  • The actual Business Model structure
    • The nature of the relationship between your business and customers: B2B/ B2C/ B2B2C/ B2B2B/ B2G/ D2C/ P2P?
  • Monetization (revenue streams)
    • Subscription-based models/ transaction fees/ licensing/one-off fees/ advertising revenue, etc.?
  • Pricing Structure
    • Outline your pricing tiers or options (e.g. annual, or monthly subscription? Freemium version? Any discounts? Usage plans? Tiered pricing?)

Competitive Landscape

This slide is your opportunity to show an understanding of your market’s players, dynamics, and your unique positioning. Investors want to see that you’ve analyzed your competition thoroughly and that you can articulate how your solution stands out.

NEVER say “We have no competition”.

VCs review hundreds of pitch decks each week. Chances are, someone is already building a solution for your market gap (and the VC spoke with them last week). You’re always competing against someone (direct competitors) or competing for your customer’s time and attention (direct + indirect competitors).

Reed Hastings (Netflix’s CEO) said on numerous occasions that Netflix’s biggest competition doesn’t come from its direct competitors (HBO, Disney Plus, and other subscription streaming services) as much as it does from other consumer pastimes to relax and unwind (indirect competitors), such as video gaming and even sleep.

Musings on the competition slide conclude Part 1 of this article.

Sign up for the Venturetrend newsletter to read Part 2 and access variety of other articles on capital raising strategies, fundraising trends, and understanding VC to your advantage: https://open.substack.com/pub/venturetrend/p/ult-pitch-deck-part2?r=12c9xi&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web


Latest from our Prodcircle Podcast

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I had the pleasure of hosting Alyona Mysko, the brain behind Fuelfinance, on my podcast. Alyona Mysko is on a mission to make dealing with money super simple and fun for startup folks. We talked about building a strong personal brand before building a company is the best way of starting in 2024, why they raised so little money and how they are growing so far, the first 5 hires, etc.

Watch the full episode here


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. If you have a podcast or a newsletter but you are unable to monetize and grow, book a Free call with me here
  2. If you want our team to help you grow your podcast and build your audience like we have done, visit our design studio here
  3. Promote yourself to ~15,000 VCs and Founders in the US by sponsoring this newsletter. (Booked 3 weeks in advanced)

Until next time,

M.

Prodcircle Insider

Mudassir Mustafa (Founder | Angel Investor | Podcast Host)

I'm a 4x founder and Angel investor. Building a private community of founders and an angel syndicate to invest between $30k to $100k in great founders.

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