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Key Elements of a Compelling Pitch Deck

August 6, 2019 | Bob Creeden

Pitching an idea or company is an intimidating experience for any entrepreneur. The challenge is convincing skeptical investors or others why they should put their money in your business idea rather than the 100 other great ideas piled on their desks. In the end, it's important to remember that the goal of the first presentation is to get a second meeting.

As licensing professionals and investors, we have seen our fair share of pitch presentations. We have compiled what we believe are key elements of a compelling pitch deck for you to consider as you gear up for your next big meeting and move forward to the second visit.

Introduction | 1 slide

The first slide of your pitch should be a concise introduction of the Company.  Who are you? What do you do? Why is that important? What, if any, key milestones have you achieved (beta sites, grants awarded, funding raised, product launch, sales, etc.) What funding do you seek?   It is critical that the audience understands your company and the stage of your development.  This will set up the balance of the presentation as investors will evaluate your story based on your current position, what needs to happen, can you do it and is it realistic?  

Problem | 1 slide

Define the problem you are solving.  Create the context in scope and scale of the problem and do not be afraid to use an example for clarity.  Using an example helps the audience “get it” connecting them to an experience.  

Market | 1 slide

What is your target market?  Speak to the size and growth and also clearly define your customer.  Why are they motivated to purchase your product?  

Technology | 1-2 slides

This portion of the presentation should get into the details about your technology/solution – your point of difference; your secret sauce.  

Key points: 

  • Current status of product development and any future plans and timeline;
  • Intellectual property status, whether or not it is owned or licensed and the key benefits; 
  • Description of technical features are important to some, but don’t get lost in technology; 
  • Focus on the benefits of your product as everyone will ask what is the customer ROI 

Competition | 1 slide

Now that you have presented your solution, take some time to explain who your competitors are in the market space. Are other companies trying to solve the same problem? What makes your solution unique compared to what is already on the market, or in development elsewhere?  Why will the customer choose you over any of the competition?  Know all you can about your competitors – it will help you and shows an investor that you do understand the market and your position in that market. 

Team | 1 slide

Explain the background of the company’s management team.  This is your opportunity to build credibility with your audience by highlighting relevant experience of the team including any previous commercialization activity.  Make sure you mention the details of the experiences, jobs and any successes of the team – do not just say “10 years of experience in sales and marketing”.  If your board and advisors augment the skills and experience of the team you can add them into the presentation, but remember that the investor is investing in the team and not the board or advisors.  You may put them in an Appendix so they are noticed but not take the time during the presentation.  Feel free to brush up on why every entrepreneur should have an advisory board.

Go to Market | 1-2 slides

Explain how you will reach the customer?  What strategies/tactics will you use to sell the product (direct, partners, distribution channels)?  What is the pricing strategy?  How do you make money? Who pays you? What are the gross margins?  What is the communications strategy? 

Financial Projections and Key Metrics | 1 slide

Simple financials in a table for the next 3-5 years - revenue, cost of goods sold, gross margins, sales & marketing, R&D and G&A expenses with net income. Some key metrics include number of customers, average selling price, cash at end of year and headcount.  Remember the assumptions behind the numbers are what is really important. Take time to outline and own them. You will be asked to justify the numbers.   

Use of Funds Strategy | 1 slide

Identify the amount of funding needed to achieve your goals and financials and then outline the use of those funds – how you will spend the money. 

Exit - 1 slide

Identify an exit strategy for your investors.  Who might buy the company and why?

Summary | 1 slide

This is the highlight reel of the presentation.  Remind me why I want to invest in your company.

Closing thoughts:

  • You are telling a story so make sure it flows from point A to point B by combining ideas, emotion and facts in a logical flow.
  • This story must tell the audience how and why life changes with your technology?  What is the benefit/return for an investor and/or customer?  
  • Remember it is about the BUSINESS, not the technology and most importantly,