Elevator Pitch and Pitch Deck
Knowing how to present a startup to investors is fundamental for your success. It doesn’t matter how innovative, well thought-out, or potentially profitable your idea is; if you fail to attract capital your startup will gradually face serious difficulties. Of course, the collection features a unique set of challenges that you will have to contend with; in fact, potential business angel, club deals or venture capitalists won’t believe only in your incurable optimism; on the contrary you will have to show them that investing in your idea will be a good return on investment; below you will find out what it is, what it is for, why it is important and above all who to turn to for the best startup pitch
Startup pitch: what it is
Imagine a situation: it’s one of your routine days and you walk into a building. In the elevator, you accidentally find yourself face to face with the investor you want to attract for your startup. What would you like to say?
It might sound too good to be true, but such situations do happen often. I know a lucky startup whose founder was waiting for an elevator and an investor overheard him discussing his next steps over the phone. After finishing the phone call, the investor simply asked: “What do you do?”. With his short answer, prompt and well made, the founder aroused his interest; they then decided to have a cup of coffee together and after a few weeks he had the money in his pocket to start.
Life is unpredictable and presents you with opportunities like this every day, but you have to be ready and prepared to seize them!
“The reason so many people never get anywhere in their life is that when opportunity knocks on their door, they are out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers”
So then, what is this mysterious pitch?
By pitch, we mean a speech with a short and persuasive effect that from a few seconds (the average time of a short trip in an elevator) to a few minutes, you explain your idea and, above all, you get people to perceive your value. It is aimed at intriguing your interlocutor, so that he may wish to get to know you better.
There are three types of pitch:
High Concept Pitch
This type of pitch summarizes your business idea in one sentence. That is why it is also called “Twitter-Pitch”. It is important to be short, but at the same time very specific, so that everyone understands the main idea.
The speaker has 30 seconds to present the business idea and offer a first impression on the startup. The name elevator pitch is derived from the idea of capturing the attention of a potential investor in a very short time. For the duration of the (imaginary) elevator trip with the investor, you have the option to convince him of your idea and invite him for a longer interview in a follow-up. Also, you don’t usually use any other presentation materials such as slides during the elevator pitch. Remember that the purpose of this pitch is to stimulate interest, not to close a deal.
During a common pitch, which is not as short as the elevator pitch, you have the opportunity to use some presentations to give emphasis to your speech. While you have more time, it’s important to keep your presentation as clean and short as possible, because audience attention spans are usually limited to around 15 minutes. The slides in your presentation are generally called a pitch deck. Your presentation should last no more than 20 minutes and should include all of the important information regarding your Startup. Use meaningful illustrations instead of using long texts. A successful pitch deck is fairly simple and minimalist but uses a lot of visual detail. The text must be spoken freely and be included not in the slides but in the pitch notes. This way, you can easily send your presentation in PDF format as well.
In order to attract capital, however, it is necessary to prepare a strong and persuasive proposal that convinces investors to support your startup rather than the others in the continuous and growing market competition.
Here are some key tips to follow on how to present a startup project in order to maximize your chances of winning over investors when presenting your startup:
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when introducing your startup is that investors are inundated with investment proposals. This means you need to clearly and quickly outline your business idea and your plan to offer investors a return on their investment.
Manage the right times
Optimizing the time you are given to present your company presentation is essential and remember:
“The more time you spend speaking, the less time they spend listening”.
Little else frustrates investors more than too long a speech! Regardless of whether you set the time frame for your presentation or your prospective investor does, stay within the allotted time and manage your presentation so that you are not cut off at the end.
Tell your story
Take the opportunity to tell your investors the story behind your startup. This method of storytelling will make your presentation much more memorable and engaging, and remember that if your investor needs concrete information, he can always ask you for it.
In telling your story, never lose sight of the focus of your speech. Respecting your investors’ precious time should always come first. When developing your pitch, make sure its core elements are clearly developed and emphasized in order to avoid getting lost in irrelevant details.
Convey the unique value of your startup’s product or service
A key component of winning investors over is showing them your Unique Selling Proposition – that is, why your product or service is unlike anything else on the market. It is not enough that your startup can solve a problem; it needs to be able to solve a specific problem in a way that no other business can, and you need to be able to demonstrate that in your presentation.
Allow potential investors to experience your product firsthand
Another effective way of showing investors the distinctive features of your product is to have them see it and experience it firsthand. Pictures and screenshots can help make it more tangible for investors, but if possible, let your interlocutor actually test the product or try a live demo of it.
Be clear about your target audience and why
As much as investors want to know what your product is, they also need to have a clear idea of who will be using it. Using information about your target market to paint a picture of your ideal customer will help convince investors that there is enough demand for your startup’s product to justify their involvement.
Know your numbers
In telling the story of your startup, you’ll still need to talk about the key information that investors are interested in: how much money your startup needs to raise, what your current overheads are, where it needs to get to in order to be profitable, and what your timetable for achieving profitability is.
Be prepared with demonstrable data
Always keep in mind that any statements you make in your presentation, regarding your target customers, financial projections marketing strategy or whatever, must have adequate support. Not being able to intelligently hold up your claims will undermine your attempts to convince investors.
Be passionate and enthusiastic
As precise and well prepared as the pitch is, remember that if you aren’t passionate and enthusiastic about your idea, neither will your investors be. Get out of your comfort zone and try to increase your energy level during the presentation, as the passion you show for your startup will be the lever that will convince investors that you will be capable of overcoming any setbacks as well.
Make sure you have a memorable ending
Remember to keep the ending in mind as you tell the story of your startup. The conclusion of your startup presentation should contain a short, clear and passionate summary of your argumentation as to why investors should invest their money in your startup by means of a video pitch as well.
Present a solid beginning pitch deck
Your startup’s pitch deck will serve as a visual reference during your presentation, helping you highlight the key points you want your potential investors to pay close attention to. Including graphical elements such as diagrams and graphs can help you present complex data in an easy and engaging way. Keep in mind, however, that your pitch deck is there to enhance your presentation, not to replace it. Avoid slides that contain too much text as they can distract from your message.
Build a strong team
Especially if your startup hasn’t had time to establish a clear track record of success yet, the strength of the team’s experience and background is a fundamental part of convincing investors that you’ll be able to achieve your business plan. Highlight the successes and how individual records will help reinforce the success of your business.
No matter how well you think you know your business, practicing your presentation and getting feedback from those you trust is an important step in making sure your presentation is as persuasive as possible.
Hire a professional to help you
You may be an expert in your particular area of business, but that doesn’t mean you’ll naturally know how to best present your startup to investors. In fact, hiring a professional to fine-tune your presentation can help you convey your business to others in the best of ways.
Examples of Pitch
Here is a list of the 6 most famous and legendary examples of pitch decks that we will examine; they were created by the best tech brands and keep in mind that at the time, they were all small startups trying to raise money to scale up
From giants like Facebook and YouTube to superstars like Buffer, together these startups have raised millions of dollars and are now worth billions! It’s time to see how they did it and hopefully they can inspire you.
Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin created Facebook as a social network for universities. When they first tried to pitch the idea to potential investors, they didn’t have a clear business plan, so they used a mix that contained the company’s value proposition, key metrics, and marketing services to sell ads to potential clients; the focus of the pitch deck was based on solid KPIs such as the user’s engagement, traffic and growth trajectory.
Airbnb’s pitch deck is also one of the most sought-after. Not only because from a startup it has become one of the largest companies available today, but also because it has created a new vertical niche in the tourism/hotel sector.
Looking at Airbnb’s pitch deck, you can learn a lot, but one of the principles that stands out is the use of the rule of three. You can see it in the way they present the problem, the solution, the facts, the business model, and more.
Uber’s pitch deck was far from impressive, but what captured the investor’s interest was the solution they provided to a concrete, real and deeply felt problem. They were able to solve it in a few short sentences using everyday words. Although Uber has found itself in troubled waters many times, the solution they provided the market at the time was nothing but unique and superlative.
In November 2005, YouTube got its first-ever funding round: a $3.5 million investment from Sequoia Capital. YouTube’s idea was to allow users to upload videos online and share their documents. For this, they represented a pitch deck to convince investors. Today YouTube is the platform for learning, entertainment and a source of income for many users.
Established in 2002, LinkedIn is the leading business-oriented social networking platform. The pitch deck puts a major focus on the company’s values, the power of the network and how it is different from other social networks. It also provides great analogies to show investors what LinkedIn is. For example, we talk about “Web 1.0” versus “Web 2.0”: Alta Vista was “Search 1.0” and Google was “Search 2.0”. The pitch deck explains how LinkedIn is “Networking for Businesses 2.0”.
Buffer is one of the best social media scheduling platforms. It allows you to schedule your content on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn. What makes this pitch deck popular is the presentation of solid facts and numbers. It also includes the milestones achieved, including the number of users they have, annual revenue, and app integrations.
Creating a pitch: B-PLANNOW® consultancy
We have seen what a pitch is, what it is for and how important it is; clearly if you intend to launch your startup and present it to an investor, the idea must be analyzed in a more detailed and professional way since, if this type of presentation is certainly less demanding than a business plan, it represents the sublimation of your business model and as such it must be addressed; in fact, remember that
“If you can’t describe your business model in ten words or fewer, you don’t have a business model”
Most startuppers find it difficult to identify what information they should present in a speech of this type, probably because they start from the pitch and not from the business model. This is why B-PLANNOW® makes its experience available to you to design, produce and propose the best pitch deck by means of the best management techniques, visual thinking, graphics and communication available today.
In order to help you in the initial phase we have concentrated the experience gained over the years with our customers and we have decided to share the result of our work with you, that is THE B-PLANNOW PITCH®: our shared visual language consisting of 12 elements, that will allow you to really imagine, describe, share and finally present the pitch for your startup.
Download THE B-PLANNOW PITCH® for free
Here is a brief presentation of the contents of the 12 blocks:
- Startup logo
- Startup name
- Contacts (speaker, role, title, master, email address, mobile phone, etc …)
- Introduce the context
- Define the problem your startup plans to solve
- Why is it a problem for people?
- Are people aware that they have this problem?
- How many people suffer from this problem?
- Prove it’s really a problem
- Explain why the solutions on the market are not enough
- What are you offering?
- How do you solve the problem?
- What are the advantages that make your idea unique?
- How will consumers’ lives change?
- Demonstrate the benefits
3. VALUE PROPOSITION
- Why is your solution the best possible?
- What is the real added value you are going to create?
- What is the uniqueness or distinctive feature of your project?
4. BUSINESS MODEL
- Summarize your business model
- How is your startup targetable?
- How is your startup replicable?
- But above all, in what way is your startup lucrative?
- What sales channels do you plan to use?
- How do you plan to generate revenue streams?
- How do you determine the selling price of your product/service?
- What is the lifetime value of your customers?
- What key alliances do you plan to build?
- What technology characterizes the solution your startup offers?
- What innovation distinguishes your startup from all the rest?
- TAM, SAM, SOM analysis
- What is the potential market for your product/service?
- What are the profit margins of the sector?
- What are the growth rates of the sector?
- What is the competitive structure?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are the macro-results of the analysis of your competitors?
- What are the competitive advantages of your solution?
- How do you plan to face the competitors in order to win the challenge?
- Are there barriers to entry?
- What are the main market dynamics?
8. THE TEAM
- Who are the team members and what do they do?
- Name, job title (photograph)
- Relevant experiences
- Organization chart of the startup
- Do they have the skills and experience to transform the idea into a profitable product/service?
- Talk about the growth of the team over time
9. THE FINANCIAL FORECAST
- Describe and display the financial forecasts with 3/5 year graphs
- Include: revenues, costs, overheads, EBIT, EBITDA, break-even point
- Indicate the investment plans
- Indicates the main KPIs needed to monitor your startup
- Demonstrate the achieved results
11. FUND RAISING
- Explain the investment you need
- Explain how you intend to allocate the funds to achieve the objectives you have set
- What are the scenarios for the exit?
12. ROAD MAP
- Indicate the milestones of the project
- How much development time does it take?
- When do you plan to go on the market?
- When do you plan to acquire your first customer?
Now that you know everything about what it is, what it is for and how important it is to have a pitch deck for your startup, all you have to do is contact us, talk to us about your idea and propose it together professionally to an investor!