At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, economies were seen crashing down and the VC investment landscape was not spared from the uncertainties that dampened investor sentiments. VC funding globally has dropped by 20% since the onset of the coronavirus crisis in December 2019, and startups in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region have hardly rebounded since March 2020.
Despite talks of dwindling investors’ confidence and deferred funding rounds which caused startup founders to fear increased difficulties of obtaining funds, things are not as bad as they seem.
Investors are in fact open to startups approaching them to apply for funding. Temasek Holdings, Grab, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Tencent Holdings and more investment firms are receptive to companies seeking capital, especially in a time where new trends are taking over.
Recently, Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia secured $500 million from Temasek Holdings, and Singapore-based logistics startup Ninja Van bagged $279 million in fresh fundings from Monk’s Hill Ventures, Grab, and others. Found8 members ABTasty, Dropee, and Insider have also successfully raised funds in the last few months amidst the COVID-19 headwinds.
Here at Found8, we're curious to know what it takes to secure funding, what investors are looking out for, and most importantly, how you can build a successful pitch deck with this information. To obtain optimal advice from experts, we’ve included tips from a proven startup and Corporate Development leader with more than 6 years of experience in Corporate Development at Found8.
Why putting together your pitch deck the right way can make a world of difference
As innovative entrepreneurs and investors, we need to adapt and be flexible in capturing opportunities in crises. During these turbulent times for startups around the world, sourcing for funds and support from VCs might become a crucial determinant to how a business develops.
This is where your pitch deck comes in and becomes the answer to your fundraising woes.
If you’re planning your pitch deck while observing the markets, this is a good time to focus on sectors that have thrived during the pandemic, and will flourish further post-pandemic. It’s important to catch on trends that have emerged since the pandemic outbreak, such as developing technology in the fields of health, artificial intelligence (AI) systems, remote work and health services, and e-commerce business platforms.
With the intentions to make life easier for everyone coming out of lockdown and adjust to life with COVID-19, it would be ideal to attract investors with a pitch deck that brings out creativity and novel ideas with solutions to new problems and improve the ways in which we live our lives.
A pitch deck consists of all the crucial information of your business plan for potential investors to decide whether to invest. It’s an integral first step for startups to showcase their idea, gain credibility, and get funds.
Having a solid pitch deck is important as it introduces your startup and promotes that opportunity for others to be involved in its growth. Above all, you get your name and product embedded in people’s mind, letting them be curious enough to take the next step.
Your 7 Tips
1. Understanding the Problem
Without first identifying an existing problem, your solution probably won’t attract many customers and investors. Your introduction slide should hit the main point and address what pain points your idea is resolving.
Expert Tip: Ask yourself
What problem(s) are your customers struggling with?
How painful is this problem(s)? It is also important to quantify the extent of this problem - “90% of working adults suffer from chronic back ache” is more impactful than “many working adults suffer from chronic back ache”
Is it relevant and applicable to your target audience?
Now that you’ve found an issue, it’s time to fill the gap. Be clear cut and concise with your solution, keeping it to one slide that’s separate from the problem slide. The right timing to introduce your startup to the market also matters. A highlight right now to include in your business model is how efficiently you can contribute in the fight against coronavirus, and also continue to be of use in the post-COVID climate.
*Bonus tip: Angel investor Lucia Cerchlanova advises to present one idea per slide. This makes it easy to read and understand, and for investors to decide.
3. Product-Market Fit
It’s important to know the audience you’ll be serving inside out. Explain the relevant competitive landscape and point of differentiation in the market. You will be saving investors’ time and work by being transparent on the specific industry and where your ideal customer profile falls in.
As a startup, your product or service will probably satisfy a small segment of the market, but you should show how big the market size is to have investors understand the potential of your business. As you scale your business, your understanding of the problem you’re solving will grow along with your customer profile.
4. Business Model
The next few slides in your pitch deck should include the details on how you plan to make money. Here you go over technical information – cost structure, revenue stream, go-to market plans, and other vital information.
State how much money you are planning to raise and the use of funds, including a suggested runway to get to your next funding event. You should highlight the traction you would be able to achieve with this round of funding that will place you in a good position for the next round of funding.
Expert Tip: As SEA investors are more conservative, it is good to include any traction in your presentation to provide confidence in your plan.
6. Tell Your Story
Nobody can tell your story for you. Founder market fit is equally important and is something investors look out for. For startups seeking early stage funding, having a team slide is the most important slide you can present.
Expert Tip: It is also vital to know that investors have different preferences to the way pitches are presented. Some prefer having the team slide upfront, some prefer looking at traction slides and some prefer the traditional problem to solution slide. What is most important is that the flow tells a compelling story and it works for the founders.
7. Things to Avoid
Here are some important things you should definitely refrain from adding to your pitch deck.
Presenting on PDF
Rambling on the history of your idea
Exaggerating or mentioning inaccurate details
Trying to be funny with memes and jokes
Drive straight into the market opportunity for your business, what the problem is and how you wish to solve it. Backed up by solid research and market analysis, keep your slides relevant, streamlined, and simple. With that, present in your best confident self and ace that pitch!
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