You’ve managed to come this far. You have a compelling product in the market, a good sense of who wants to buy it and how to reach them. You’ve hit some impressive milestones and decided it’s time to press hard on the accelerator and raise the next round of capital. Time to refine your pitch deck!
This round size will undoubtedly be larger than the last, and hopefully, the valuation of your company will be too. The stakes are higher than before and investors will want to know more in order to justify investing greater sums of money. When you raised your last round, your pitch deck reflected what you knew at the time. You likely had some hypotheses and some early data around market need, value proposition, market size and target customer. For the next round, your pitch deck should reflect what you’ve learned, the proof-points behind those learnings, the value you’ve created and your plans to create even more.
Talk About What You’ve Learned
Think back to when you had some ideas about why your product would resonate with customers. Now think about why that truly is the case today. That’s what you want to convey in the next iteration of your pitch deck. Be specific. You now have a clearer view of your market and the opportunities that lie ahead. Speak to how your customers are using your solution and the product enhancements that will expand your sales even further. Or how customer feedback has helped evolve your business model. The point is to demonstrate to investors that continued learnings are translating into increased traction.
Data. And More Data
At this point, you have enough data to tell a more compelling story, and in any case, investors will demand it! What KPIs demonstrate product-market fit? What are the primary use cases for your product? What are the main personas your marketing team is targeting? How are you filling the pipeline and what is the sales cycle? Share with investors the data that support all your learnings. The more proof-points you have, the more compelling your story will be.
Where Are You Going?
Like before, a good pitch deck should include details on your fundraise, use of funds, how you will execute your plan, and the team you will need to build in order to do that. And last, the milestones, that if hit will unlock the next round of capital (yes, the typical start-up will need to raise several rounds). But whereas milestones before were likely focused on demonstrating the value prop and product-market fit, milestones now will typically reflect growing and scaling the business. In short, convey to investors how you will create value because ultimately, that is what they are buying.
Keep in mind, the pitch is always a blend of art and science. For later-stage companies, the tilt will be towards the latter as more and more data can be used to tell a convincing story. But the rule of thumb for any pitch deck is to keep it clean and simple. Don’t cram the page with data and words, which will force the listener to read the page instead of hearing what you have to say. Instead, a great pitch deck has just enough on the page to convey a simple talking point. Think of it as a tool that allows you to tell your great story.