The Ultimate Guide to Crushing Your Pitch: Advice for Founders from BADideas.fund

Raimonds Kulbergs
Date published
March 23, 2023

Hey there, founders! As the startup builders behind BADideas.fund, we've seen our fair share of startup pitches. Some are phenomenal, while others... well, let's just say they could use some work. To help you nail your next pitch, we've put together this ultimate guide, inspired by our experiences and the wisdom of renowned investors.

Craft Your Storyline

  • People hear statistics, but they feel and remember stories - start by creating one. (data storytelling)
  • Think about your target customers' problem and how your startup is the hero
  • Check out Simon Sinek's TED Talk on "Start with Why"
  • Learn from this blog post on storyboarding your pitch deck
  • Present your traction effectively - read this article

Pitch Deck Essentials

  1. Introduction & High-Level Pitch: Begin with your company purpose and mission, condensed into a single powerful sentence. Include a simple graphic that describes your business model.
  2. Problem: Describe the pain of your customer, explain how it's currently addressed, and show why existing market offerings are inadequate.
  3. Solution: Highlight your unique value proposition, showcase product features that address the pain, and provide evidence of traction (testimonials, customer numbers, etc.).
  4. Market Size: Communicate both the bottom-up (how many people you can sell to) and top-down (total market revenue) market size.
  5. Business Model: Explain your customer acquisition costs, delivery costs, and revenue (or lifetime value). Make sure your bottom-up market sizing multiplied by your business model equals your top-down market size.
  6. Proprietary Tech/Expertise: Highlight your unique advantages, whether it's IP, special access to customers, lower costs, higher prices, or something else.
  7. Competition: Explain why your customers choose you over others. Avoid feature comparison grids and focus on customer testimonials or visual representations.
  8. Marketing Plan: Demonstrate your knowledge of customers, channels, and success in utilizing those channels. Include evidence that your marketing plan is working.
  9. Team: Showcase the right skills for the current stage of the company, individual success in roles, and demonstrated execution and success as a team.
  10. Money / Milestones: Communicate the milestone you will achieve with the investment and how it will take risk out of the business. Never put valuation metrics on the slide.

Preparing Your Elevator Pitch

  • Create a 1-sentence pitch using this Madlibs template: https://fi.co/madlibs
  • Use your 1-sentence pitch for introductions and 30-second pitches to investors, partners, customers, or recruits
  • For investors, follow up with a crisp statement of your traction

Pitching Dos and Don'ts

āœ… DO iterate and practice your pitch āœ… DO keep animations simple or avoid them altogether āœ… DO think of your pitch as an advertisement āœ… DO use screenshots instead of live demos āœ… DO convey passion and excitement āœ… DO finish with a specific ask

ā›” DON'T use animated transitions between slides ā›” DON'T deep dive into the product during the pitch ā›” DON'T read your slides; use them as backup and provide context or stories

Extra Tips for Pitch Events

  • Leave "openings" in your presentation to prompt questions from judges, allowing you to explain intriguing aspects of your business
  • Practice, practice, practice ā€“ improve your pitch by giving it multiple times, getting feedback, and making adjustments

Additional tips on slide design

  • Keep your pitch deck basic and light on details to capture investor attention.
  • Follow the 1 slide=1 message rule and spell out the message in the headline.
  • Use minimal text, no more than 1 datapoint and/or sentence per slide.
  • Split content into Headline 1, Headline 2 and body text - each having a distinct font size from bigger to smaller. Ensure consistent font sizes throughout the deck.
  • Include your company website, ideally as a hyperlink, and contact information on every slide.

And there you have it.

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