Fundraising is hard. We know that first-hand and want to support early-stage founders with crafting a pitch deck that impresses potential investors to increase their chances of getting funded. Every quarter, General partner Jonah Midanik hosts a Pitch Deck Tear Down, where he provides live feedback on 3 pre-seed and Seed B2B SaaS investor decks. Below are the 20 of the most common questions we address and the answers to them.
What are the most common mistakes in pitch decks and how can they be avoided?
Common mistakes in pre-seed pitch decks that can risk your chances of getting funded include too much text, overcomplicating the problem and/or solution, lack of clarity, poor design, spelling mistakes, and using too much jargon. To avoid these, keep slides concise, visually appealing, and focus on the most compelling aspects of your business.
What’s the best way to simplify a complex or niche problem?
To simplify a complex or niche problem, break it down into smaller, more manageable components. Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon when possible. Use relatable analogies or examples to help investors understand the problem and why it's important. Focus on the core aspects of the problem and how your solution addresses them.
To be clear and concise, use visuals and bullet points, focus on key messages, and limit each slide to one main idea. Avoid industry jargon and use simple language.
What's the best process for determining market size?
Determine market size using a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches. Top-down analysis involves estimating the total market size based on industry reports, research, and trends. Bottom-up analysis involves estimating potential sales by multiplying the number of potential customers by the average revenue per customer. Use multiple data sources including industry reports and analyzing competitors, and be realistic and conservative in your estimates.
How do current market conditions affect the success of B2B SaaS startups?
Current market conditions may affect the success of B2B SaaS pre - seed startups by impacting customer budgets and willingness to invest in new solutions. Additionally, investors might be slower or more risk-averse when deploying capital. However, focusing on solving critical problems and demonstrating early proof points can help attract investors. Focus on communicating:
- The market opportunity
- The vision
- Why you're the right person or team to execute this vision
- Then use data and metrics to prove it.
How have investor mindset shifted in 2023, and what should startups consider when approaching funding rounds?
Investor mindset in 2023 may vary, but it's essential for startups to focus on resilience, adaptability, and addressing market needs. Consider these factors when approaching funding rounds.
In unfavorable fundraising conditions, create a successful pitch deck by emphasizing traction, strong unit economics, and a clear growth strategy. Demonstrate resilience and adaptability in your business model.
How should the opportunity be clearly communicated in the pitch deck?
To clearly communicate the opportunity, identify the problem, showcase your unique solution, and highlight the market size and potential growth. Focus on your target customers and the value you provide them.
How can early-stage or pre-revenue founders excite investors without strong MoM growth?
Early-stage and pre - seed startups can excite investors without strong MoM growth by emphasizing a strong team, unique technology, and a clear path to scale once the sales funnel is optimized. Engage pre-seed investors by showcasing your vision, initial traction, and a strong team with relevant expertise.
To excite investors, all founders should create an engaging narrative that outlines the problem their business is trying to solve and how it adds value to potential customers. This narrative should also explain why their approach is better or more efficient than existing solutions.
Is a GTM strategy necessary if the company already has customers?
A GTM strategy is necessary even with existing customers to showcase how you plan to scale the business, acquire new customers, and expand your market share.
How does building a global company with bootstrapped/angel funds compare to one with VC funds?
Building a global company with bootstrapped/angel funds may lead to slower growth and limited resources, but can provide more control and flexibility. With VC funds, growth may be faster, but there could be higher expectations and potential dilution of ownership.
What strategies can help a startup founder stand out from the competition in a pitch deck?
To stand out from the competition, startup founders should showcase their unique value proposition, provide customer testimonials, and demonstrate traction and growth potential.
How much information should be provided about pricing, product, business model, and financial forecasts in the pitch deck?
At the pre-seed stage for an initial deck, there is no need to include financial projections until your second meeting with potential investors or later. Remember, this is only a deck to get them interested to learn more, it's not a deck to close the deal or receive funding immediately. The pitch deck can provide some information on pricing, business model, and financial forecasts to give investors an understanding of your revenue streams and potential growth.
Should company valuation be included in the pitch deck slides?
Company valuation can be included, but it should be based on a realistic and defensible methodology. It might be better to focus on traction, market opportunity, and growth potential than funding dollars at the beginning.
Do you send the deck ahead of time or wait for the meeting to share it?
It depends on your preference, the founder's skillset, and the potential investor's request. If your deck can stand on its own, you can send it beforehand. If you as a founder are super engaging and charismatic in a meeting, it might be best to show the deck for the first time in person. Some founders prefer sending the deck ahead of time to allow investors to review it before the meeting, while others wait for the meeting to share it to maintain control over the presentation and address questions in real time.
Where in the deck should the team slide fall?
The team slide should generally be placed early in the presentation, after the problem and solution slides. This positioning helps establish credibility early on, showcasing the expertise and experience of the team members and their ability to execute the solution. Make sure to always link to your Linkedin profile on the team slide so potential investors can quickly validate your credibility and experience.
What do investors care about for the team slide?
Investors care about the experience, expertise, and complementary skill sets of the founder and/or team members. They want to see that the team has the necessary background, industry knowledge, and technical skills to execute the proposed solution. Highlighting relevant previous successes, domain expertise, and unique strengths of each team member can be helpful.
Should my presentation be animated?
Your presentation should be visually appealing and engaging, but animations should be used sparingly and purposefully. Overusing animations can be distracting and may detract from the core message. Focus on clear, concise, and visually appealing slides that effectively communicate your key points. Plus, if you are sending your deck beforehand, it's usually in a PDF format, which doesn’t enable animations
How often do you update your pitch deck?
Update your pitch deck as needed to reflect new product developments, progress, and learnings. This may include updates to your product, market data, team, financials, or traction. It's essential to keep the pitch deck current and relevant to your audience.
Do I need a professional designer to design my deck?
YES! A professional designer can enhance the visual appeal of your pitch deck, make it look clean, and check for spelling mistakes. When asking investors for money, it’s important to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression. Startup founders often lack the design expertise required to make their deck and products look amazing, so outsource the help you need. That being said, there is no need to pay thousands of dollars for one. It’s recommended to budget $100-$300 for a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork to make it look nice.
How detailed should the Market Analysis section be in a pitch deck?
The Market Analysis section should be detailed enough to show the market size, growth potential, target customer segments, product-market fit and key industry trends. Avoid excessive data and focus on insights relevant to your business. Try to avoid focusing on the Total Addressable Market (TAM), and focus instead on the Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM): The subset of your TAM who are likely to use a product like your current product.
What are the best and worst elements to include in a pitch deck?
The best elements to include in a pitch deck are a clear problem and product solution, market opportunity, traction, and a strong team. The worst elements include excessive text, irrelevant information, and a lack of focus on your unique value proposition.
If startup founders implement the following tactics into their pre-seed investor decks, they will be well-positioned to increase their chances of getting funded and closing their pre-seed rounds. Do you think your deck is ready? Pitch us today!
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