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Early Stage Startups

pitch deck

You have made a decision for a venture, established the right partnerships, defined your vision, mission, and value proposition correctly, created your business plan, and have all your goals ready. Now, you need to prepare a successful investor presentation to impress investors. We asked Sena for recommendations on how to do it, and we covered 10 critical points for preparing an investor presentation. Enjoy reading!

How to create a successful pitch deck for early-stage startups?

For early-stage startups, a pitch deck is crucial in terms of impressing investors and determining the future of the venture. If you cannot clearly present yourself and provide answers to investors' questions, you may not progress as desired and may seem negligent about your business. A presentation that answers the right questions and effectively conveys your idea will help you make progress. So, what are these right questions? Let's list them below:

1. What problems do you want to solve? By listing these problems in a slide, you can position them as one of the most important slides that answer questions such as what topic your venture idea is based on, where this idea came from, who you are solving these problems for, and how big or critical the problem is. The better you can reflect the problems, the more attention you will attract initially. However, listing the problems paragraph by paragraph is not ideal; there should be no lengthy paragraphs in the presentation. By placing the right icons and keywords in the presentation, you can leave the explanations to yourself, thus keeping the attention you have attracted during the presentation.

2. What is your solution? The slide that defines your value proposition, i.e., how you will solve the problems, is another crucial slide that we keep at the beginning to prevent attention from being distracted and to continue to keep it focused on you. Here, too, it is important to proceed in a minimalist way. A short explanation under a heading and, if available, an example image would be sufficient, and you can create space to explain further.

3.  What is your product and its features? You have listed the problems you will solve and presented your solution proposition. Now, how will you present this solution proposition? What product will you use, and what will be the features of this product? How do these features cater to the value proposition you offer? All these questions should be answered in this slide. The critical point here is to show how focused your proposed product is. Having product features that are suitable for your proposed solution and applicable in terms of user experience provides important information about the sustainability of the venture. This slide is the most suitable for highlighting innovative features. Here, you begin to provide hints about how different you are from other ventures.

4.  What is your revenue model? I don't think I need to explain how important it is for both the entrepreneur and the investor to make money from this venture :) Based on the information you have provided so far about your target audience, the problem you will solve, and your product, stating the revenue sources and pricing strategies is an important detail that demonstrates how much you understand the business aspect. By creating a revenue model that takes into account the cost structure, showing the applicability of profit margins relative to the industry provides insight into the viability of your venture. You can also mention the pricing policies of competitor applications orally in this slide; it can be a good opportunity to talk about whether you plan to enter the market with a pricing strategy or with a product feature that surpasses competitors. In this slide, you can add icons, brief explanations, and pricing information.

5. What is the market size? In the previous slide, you mentioned the pricing that you will apply to how many people. Here, you provide an answer to the question. By using the classic representation of TAM-SAM-SOM (Total Addressable Market, Serviceable Addressable Market, Serviceable Obtainable Market), you create a clear answer in the investors' minds. TAM represents the total addressable market, SAM represents the market size for product sales related to the problem you mentioned, and SOM represents the market size you can reach. You can use this classic representation here, or if you want to be more creative, it is entirely up to you.

6. How are you different from your competitors? Of course, your idea may be something that no one has done before, or it may be something that everyone has done, but you will differentiate with a single feature. In the first scenario, if no one has done a similar product before, I would recommend conducting in-depth research. However, if you still can't find any competitors, you can present companies that have made similar products as competitors. In the second scenario, if you have many competitors, and you have found one or more features that will set you apart from these competitors, presenting a table comparing your competitors to your product in terms of features can provide investors with a clue about how much you will grow. In this slide, creating a comparison table where competitors are compared in terms of features of your product would be sufficient, and you can provide detailed information orally to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry.

7.  What is your Go-To-Market strategy? How will you make users use your product, what efforts will you make for user acquisition, and what actions will you take to stand out from your competitors? In this slide, talking about your marketing strategy is important not only from a product perspective but also from a market perspective.

8.  What are your roadmap milestones? Ultimately, it is not usually possible to reach your desired goal in a single step. So, what are the turning points for you to reach your goal? How long do you foresee reaching your target point? What will you need at these turning points, and how important will these achievements be for your next step? This slide is the perfect place to answer all these questions. By presenting the milestones on a timeline, you can create a fluid area here.

9.  Who is on your team? Here, you show the investors who you will partner with, who you will work with, and prove whether this team can really accomplish the mentioned project. Therefore, it is essential to briefly mention the experiences of your team while preparing this slide. Besides the name and photo of the team members, it will be very beneficial to add a few keywords about their past successes. After all, "talk is cheap, show me the code."

10. Finally, what is your funding need, and how will you use this investment? While discussing these issues, the most crucial aspect is to allocate your expenses based on your business model. For example, for a B2C project, it would make sense to allocate a high marketing budget. Additionally, being realistic while conducting the valuation is important when it comes to valuing your venture based on the projected value.

If you have prepared this 10-page presentation draft, now it's time to polish the presentation. The design and appearance of the presentation are a great opportunity to show how seriously you take this matter. Of course, if you don't have a designer on your team or don't seek design support, you don't need to create something too advanced, but having consistent fonts, alignments, smooth flow of the presentation in your chosen branding colors, and correct page numbering will contribute to the visual appeal of the presentation.

If you have prepared your presentation, now it's time to practice how to deliver this presentation most effectively within 15 minutes. You don't always have a lot of time in front of investors, and you need to deliver your idea in the best.

Another piece of advice is, if you have an idea and you have great confidence in it, it would be beneficial for you to get in touch with us. You can access our application form on our website, where you can find our draft presentation. In addition, if you have prepared a business plan and have progressed to the second stage in our program, we thoroughly enjoy providing one-on-one mentorship to our ventures and assisting them in preparing investor presentations. We find great pleasure in going through this process together.