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Demo Day: how to deliver a startup pitch deck

Demo Day: how to deliver a startup pitch deck


Demo days are oftentimes the first
chances startup gets at getting in front of investors. For most startup accelerators this is your graduation event, and a lot of work goes into preparing your slides and your pitches. In this video we’re gonna dig into what
investors are really looking for, how to stand out from the crowd, and the lessons learned when preparing a Demo Day Pitch Deck. A Demo Day Pitch Deck is not too
different from, let’s call it a regular pitch deck It’s a 10 to 15 slide introduction to your company that should paint a good picture of what you do and why you’re gonna get rich doing it. The core difference is regular pitch decks
get sent over email. This time you’re getting on stage and it’s your responsibility to carry the audience through the deck. To sell your company vision. This is in order, the slides that a Pitch Deck should have. A cover, a problem, a solution a product demo, a market size, a business model, competition, underlying magic, you “go to market” slide, a team slide, a traction or milestone slide, and a fundraising information slide. And this is how you should rearrange those slides for a Demo Day Pitch You have your cover, your traction or milestone slides come second. Then your problem, solution, product demo. Business model, market size, competition Underlying magic. Go to market and finally your team slide. Your fundraising information slide is often missing from Demo Day Pitch Decks because of certain regulations, it’s not always okay to share
your fundraising information and how much you’re raising publicly. Both of these templates are available on Slidebean, so feel free to download them on
the links below. First let’s talk about the opener. Demo days are long events. After the fifth pitch anyone will get bored and start blurring the memories
between one company and the other. Also investors are very busy people, they can easily divert to the laptops or Twitter if they aren’t interested in what you’re saying. When you get on stage you have five seconds to catch an investor’s attention. If you succeed you’ve earned an extra thirty seconds of their attention span. And finally, if you nail those 30 seconds, chances are they’ll want to pay attention through the end of your Pitch Deck. Using those first five seconds to say: “Good morning my name is what and I’m the CEO of what” is a terrible waste of time. they aren’t remembering your name or your company name, and it’s quite obvious that you are one of the co-founders. what you should do is use these five seconds to catch their attention in some other way. My favourite approach is starting with a question. A question that speaks about
your problem statement. How many presentations have you seen that look something like this? We all have to endure stuff like this and 30 million PowerPoint presentations are delivered every single day. When we pitched in 500 Startups I started with how much time do you waste creating slide presentations? We crafted this question after weeks of trial and error but it meets all the requirements. When you get asked a question you inevitably answer it in your head. So this is a way to catch their attention. We’re talking about a struggle that we know for a fact that every one of them has. so it’s not a condescending question, it hints about our product, the problem we’re trying to solve, and the dimensions of the problem. And finally, it creates empathy. It relates them to the problem we’re solving. Again my name is on the slide. The company name and logo is on the slide. So the point here is: :et’s get right to business. Chances are by the end of the presentation they’ll remember that pitch, that company, not Caya from Slidebean, and that’s fine, they know what you do. Now the traction slide Notice how it’s been moved to the second place. If you’ve nailed your opener, you’ve now earned an extra 30 seconds of attention. The absolute best way to stand out is bragging about what you’ve accomplished. A lot of accelerators focus too much on the pitch itself, and your focus at all times should be on growth. Use this opportunity to show a hockey stick chart of your revenue. If you have it, then this is the killer slide right here. Investors in the Bay Area for example want to see 30% month or month growth for seed stage companies. 20% should still be rather good. If you’re below this then your sole focus should be getting to 30%, not watching me talk about demo day pitches. Still, if you must pitch and you don’t have revenue then brag about your user growth which should also have a hockey stick chart. The point here is, this will give you credibility the reaction you need here is curiosity about what the hell this startup is doing to be growing so fast. This is the kind of thing that grabs someone’s attention for the three minutes you have left to pitch. Now speaking of credibility, we’ve recently launched a free platform called FounderHub. It’s a resource that we developed to help founders solve all the non sexy startup tasks, such as incorporating or human resources or payroll. We built everything into a single manageable interface. It’s been built out with recommendations of all the services that successful startups need to have to scale quickly. Now your Pitch Deck turns into a more traditional deck. We have a full video explaining how to solve each one of these slides, so check that on the link below. The difference here is that you’ll want to keep this short because you need to deliver it in three minutes or less. So, some basic tips for your slides. The slides are a guide for you to keep the story straight. There’s no need to transcribe what you’re gonna say. You could very well do with an image and the large number, rather than a whole paragraph on the slide. Remember! people can either read or listen but they can rarely do both at the same time. whatever you write on the slide, it pulls attention away from what you’re saying. Use big bold fonts and bold colors. Your branding should be visible on every single slide, and people are quite good
at remembering color palettes. Practice a lot. Practice with a chronometer and make sure that you nail your time limit on every single attempt. Also, don’t memorize your script. I’ve seen people write a script and spit it out on stage, and trust me people can tell. If you’re the CEO, you need to be able to deliver this
stuff effortlessly, or at least, pretend like it’s effortless for you. Also if you practice long enough, you’ll eventually memorize this story anyway. Now there’s another important point that we must discuss regarding Demo Days, and that’s the fact that no company gets funded on demo day. And let me say that again, Companies don’t get checks on Demo Day I interviewed Andrew Ackerman a few
months ago. He’s one of the managing partners of the Dreaming accelerator. and I do believe that if you’re
not one of the top 10 or top 5 even even accelerators, demo date doesn’t usually deliver. I may have talked about this, is like this virtuous cycle. The best founders go to the best accelerators, because that’s where the most active investors are. The most active investors only count the
best accelerators as a signal, because that’s where they know the best startups are.” So, are Demo Days useless? My answer here is, they’re less useful than what you’d expect. With all the hype and the prep you’d expect that you’d get a lot more out of it, but by 2019 Demo Days have become more of a press stunt, and a graduation deadline sort of event for accelerators, rather than a place to get funding. First, you can bet anything that a high-end VC will not be sitting in the
audience, they’ll send their interns to collect notes and business cards and brief them on the exciting company. Second, many companies coming to them in it with some progress on their investor relationships. If a company is truly ready to raise funding, It has probably been getting intros and doing meetings for weeks or even months leading up to Demo Day. Demo Day itself could be useful to meet a couple more investors or to close the last few thousand dollars of an already committed round. One valuable point is that startup press is often present on Demo Days, so this is an excellent opportunity to shine to them, meet some reporters, and get some exposure. If you do get interested investors coming to your booth or asking for your business card, by all means take those meetings, but know beforehand, that they will be the first of many and then you’ll need to reach out to a lot, a lot more investors if you want to close that round. We have another video on the reality of startup fundraising these days, so go and check that out, again, on the links below. Hit that subscribe button and we’ll see you next week!

  • Having gone through the various templates on the website (most of which are vector graphic, big fonts and photo based – like most info-communication norms these days) Question being – if everyone's demo or pitch deck looks and sounds the same, what's there to differentiate from one good idea amongst the thousands of lame ones ??

  • I am putting together information about pitching for a startup pitch competition in Australia and love a lot about this video but feel there are a few things said here that seem inflexible and should not be.

    Primarily, the order of slides should play to your strengths. A different flow, if done well, can help you stand out from other pitches. As just one example, if your team is made up of proven all-stars, you would not leave that for the end. I also think there are more fun ways to craft your narrative if you are a natural storyteller.

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