I’d like to add one more tip: good design. I’ve seen and designed many decks for startups and some engineers pay zero attention to design. Sure if you have insane traction or other extraordinary data points it becomes less of an issue. But the investors, like yourself, are human beings who want things to look clean, neat and be clear. Nice design doesnt mean add nice colors. It means to make it a joy to go through with visuals of your product, clear font and font color selection, consistent branding etc. don’t waste too much time on the design but do treat your deck as a product of its own.
If you need any advice, feel free to ping me.
Fred Wilson’s perspective:
This made me snark loudly
> No money raised means companies are forced to surive on revenue
Other references for pitchdecks:
The statistically recommended pitch deck breakdown: https://docsend.com/view/p8jxsqr
The original FaceBook pitch deck, including a keg stand: https://slidebean.com/blog/startups/facebook-pitch-deck
I've seen a lot of seed decks and quite frankly while they may have many similar slides (summary, problem, solution, team, etc) I've noticed that the ones that get funded have one of the following:
1) Social proof
2) Significant Traction
That's it. In fact I'd go as far to say that without either of those, you won't get funded period, except through lucky angel connections. In fact I can't think of a case of something getting funded without one of these.
Social proof is typically something of the form of the founders being 3 PhDs in something hot from insert-top-school, or there's a co-founder with a previous successful exit, or there's a top notch advisory board of semi-famous or at least provably successful people. So when Mr. VC throws his money at this startup, hey it's in the hands of the best.
Traction is the other option, and is the typical desired hockey stick graph of users, revenue, deals, whatever. The traction metric often maps really well onto software startups specifically, because very limited labor and capital can lead to real results. Meanwhile for larger enterprises that require legitimate development and manpower to get traction - it's going to be tough to show traction before you have the resources to deliver something. So something like a "nuclear power startup" (which YC has funded for instance) would probably rely more on social proof.
It's a tad disheartening because it makes something like non-consumer hardware a very difficult spot to be in if you're a younger entrepreneur. Maybe an incubator/accelerator (plus personal savings) can get you on the order of $100K, but that's often not enough to prove real traction. And unless you have significant social proof (often not the case for a younger first time founder), then it seems you're going to be stuck in a vast fundraising chasm between $100K and $1M, e.g. between accelerator and seed financing.
In particular I'd be interested to hear people's take on hardware startups in this respect. Consumer hardware has the recently developed option of crowdfunding to bridge this gap. But what about industrial hardware, like a piece of smart machinery, or something in robotics that isn't a sub-$1K developer kit? Maybe then traction looks like a big deal or two that the crafty entrepreneurs are able to hustle.
Anyways, good overall deck template but I don't think people should be under the impression that a good deck is a huge piece of the puzzle. It's social proof and/or traction, plain and simple.
I'd like to add two more points - unit economics, and bottoms up market analysis. And these are helpful to founders, these 2 give an important insight into viability of business before you start the multi year grind in to make your business work -
Unit economics - what it'll take to make this work with healthy profit margins? This is crucial in case of online-offline startups, infra heavy products, or hardware products. May not be critical in consumer startups until they start monetizing.
Bottoms-up analysis of market - what will be your CAC (cost to acquire customers), ARPU/LTV (avg. rev per user/lifetime value) etc.
Both of these things are quantifiable and it'll answer an important Q - how much money will it take for the biz to reach whatever milestones that are decided.
"Forced to survive on revenue"
that's a bad thing?
Seed deck notes that complement the YC info: https://github.com/joelparkerhenderson/pitch_deck
I took the liberty of making it more presentable by remixing the 'wire-frame' template with some minimal color, typography, and images.
Dark Theme: https://goo.gl/tcLkWY
> No money raised means companies are forced to surive on revenue
The opposite seems more true: insufficient revenue means companies are forced to fundraise.
I like how simple that deck is. Why do people go overboard making it look fancy?
Are there any investors that will take a look at the plain deck and think it is highly unprofessional, turning them down?
I like that YC don't care about the fluff. But I do wonder how "other" investors feel about it.
ok this is freakier than that FB audio spying system...But I was JUST about to google for "Seed Deck Template"...and boom!
I think YC's stealthy AI is finally on to me..
my 2¢ addition: careful with your abstraction.
Our instincts tend to be all wrong. When making general statements about a business, most try to make the most general statement possible. Otherwise we feel like we're selling it short. It's like when people write resumes. All trees, no forest.
That's why "X of Y" is so common, it's a formula to get past your bad instincts to a better, less accurate abstraction.
People are bad at going to abstraction without passing through specifics. If you'd never heard of jobs, it'd be hard to explain without examples. Fireman would be easier. Policeman would be even easier after that. Once we have two, the concept of job gets easier. Starting from the abstract... we'd be talking about, wages, specializations, uniforms, sick days... hard.
Case in point here, can we see this deck for an actual startup or startupses? It'd be easier to grasp the good/bad points in context.
Now I'm wondering if there's a viable "seed-deck development" business model that can scale to IPO..
Totally off topic, but this thread shows that sarcasm and irony do not always translate that well over the internet. I had a chuckle at the deck and the comments it generated.
"VP of Eng who doesn't sleep".
Would be really great to remove that description, no one should lionize that behavior.
btw, for those who are design illiterate..you will find that Canva's free pitch-deck creator should solve your needs: https://www.canva.com/learn/pitch-decks/
"$50,000,000 in seed decks per month?" Prove it, said the VC.
If it were a real company, I wouldn't invest in the seed template making company based on the seed template shown. What does that say about the ability of the seed template making company to make templates? It proves they have an inferior product.
Now if a different template making company had a version that was exactly the same in every way but included machine learning, suddenly it's a no-brainer (literally: no thinking required.) The fact that I would invest just shows how effective that template would be.
The above is a very real thought process. If you want a real template, litter it with the buzzwords you need. In 2018 that is AI/machine learning, and for at least a few more months, ICO and blockchain.
Where can I find an investor that will give me 1.5 million so I can hire my insomniac friend as VP of engineering?