Sequoia Capital, the VC behind Airbnb, Uber, and WhatsApp, has backed over 300 startups. Their pitch deck framework has funded over $3.3 trillion dollars in market value.
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The single best trait of an entrepreneur is someone who can tell a story. Investors have a short attention span. They will give you the most attention at the start of your pitch. In the first 5 minutes be crystal clear about what you actually do.
Let's dive in:
What is your mission? Condense into a simple powerful sentence. Don't list features– communicate your purpose. Include a simple graphic that describes your business model. Nobody cares what you can do. Everybody cares what you can do for them.
What challenges do you address and solve?
- Describe the pain of your customer (bigger the better)
- Explain how this is currently addressed
- Show why the current market offerings are inadequate
Don't build a solution that's looking for a problem.
What key points will communicate the most value?
- What was your 'aha' moment?
- Why is your value proposition unique and compelling?
- Are you building a competitive moat such as network effects?
- How big can this market grow?
Timing is everything.
The best companies have a clear why now.
- Why hasn't your solution been built before?
- What industry trends make this the perfect time to act?
A famous example is Netflix: high-speed internet made streaming services possible.
Can this be a really big opportunity?
- Total addressable market (TAM) = total market demand
- Serviceable available market (SAM) = portion of TAM served by the company
- Serviceable obtainable market (SOM) = percentage of SAM which is realistically achieved
Thiel said: "All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition."
Who are your direct and indirect competitors? Know your market– map these out on an x/y axis. What's your plan to win & differentiate?
I recommend pre-recoding a demo with Loom. You get to record your screen and camera whilst giving a clear explanation. A picture is worth 1000 words, a movie is worth a million pictures. Bring the solution alive.
How do you make money? Typically it falls into a few buckets:
Include metrics around critical areas including:
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Life time value (LTV)
Your people are the most important factor that determine whether your startup succeeds or fails. People recruit talent, garner attention and win deals. Highlight special talents and experiences that make the individual suited to the business.
Don't get lost in the numbers– keep it simple. I recommend highlighting key metrics and growth charts. Show sources and uses (what you are raising and how you will spend it). What are the key milestones? Using a timeline will help demonstrate your runway.
- Company Purpose
- Why Now
- Market Size
- Business Model