Behind the scenes #6 | 6 tips for seed-stage pitch decks
היLet us ask you a question to start with: do you think it is worth taking part in competitions at an early stage of a start-up’s development? We think so, but… you must carefully choose the places to apply to and, what is more important, prepare the application properly. Today’s edition of Behind the Scenes is for all those planning to take part in seed-stage competitions, especially our own TDJ Pitango Seed Competition 2.TDJ Pitango Ventures team
Do not be overlooked: 6 tips for seed-stage pitch decksEnough has already been written and published on the subject of pitch decks to go into a multi-volume encyclopedia, a small library all by itself. Yet, we would like to share with you our own perspective, not just as a VC fund, but also those of the aforementioned competition jurors. Let us start with the basics.Why does your pitch deck matter so much? Imagine you are one of many producers setting up a stall at a massive marketplace. Let’s assume there is 1000 stalls there, all accessible to potential clients who are choosy and will bet on quality, refusing to put money down on something which does not appear convincing. Most importantly, they only have a limited amount of funds and time, meaning they must get around the marketplace relatively quickly, pausing only by the stalls which catch their attention.In your case, the pitch deck is your stall, of course – showing that which is best in your idea, product and strategy-business plan. The pitch deck is meant to deliver clear information in a way which is visually attractive, something to please the eye and attract attention. Yet, at seed stage the pitch deck will take on a slightly different form and completely different elements will be of importance.Who with whom knowing what If you’ve read previous editions of Behind the Scenes, you will know that the team is what matters most to us – when it comes to seed-stage startups, this aspect matters more than ever. It’s best when the team members are compatible and complement each other with experience, knowledge and skills.Your expertise is also vital – knowing the domain you wish to base your success upon is essential. If the startup is established by someone with experience of working in a given field, someone who knows its problems and networks – this is a real advantage.In the first edition of TDJ Pitango Seed Competition we selected GGPredict, created by a team fascinated by CS:GO. The solution they came up with came from intimate knowledge of the game, its community, the competitions being run and all additional aspects. On the other hand, the founder is a great AI engineer, which in the case of GGP is an essential ingredient. Their passion and expertise charmed us all!What is on the horizon? You must know both the industry and the market you are attacking – and we do not mean just googling to see how many people around the world use AI-based tech. In order to measure it you have to answer the following questions: how many potential users will be interested in this solution? How much will they be willing to pay? What market share are you able to secure? Consider the competition also – what problems are they solving already today? Are you planning something better and will your solution stand a good chance in this fight? It is not enough to just run an online search for others in your sector and give us a list of what you come across. You must conduct thorough research, thinking about your competition in a broader sense. Everyone will join in your fight for clients if they can fix their problems and not only by using technology. Example: Uber are not only competing with taxi apps, but also public transport, bicycles, scooters, etc.Financials Your pitch deck should also tell us how you want to make use of this round, which means the financing received by the winners of our competition. What milestones do you want to reach before you seek more resources? And how do you plan to do this? We are keen to hear why you need 1 million PLN and how long this injection of cash will last you. What key things will you add to lift the value of your project in the next round? Tangible use case We admit we like good storytelling. We are not interested in pitches that are a million pages in length, but in the stories of those you are aiming your solutions at. How will this look in practice? Additional points will be awarded to those who do not get solutions mixed up with products. A small clue: products and their functions are supposed to solve a problem, by providing a solution.The last but not least In preparing their pitch decks, founders often forget who will be reading them. You tend to know the ins-and-outs of your trade so well that you are likely to use jargon and terminology which is well-known in your business community – yet you must remember that our jury members are not experts in all fields. This is why your proposals should be clear and easy to understand for any ordinary layperson.
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