By: Tricia Reinken, Partner Marketing, HubSpot for Startups (a GAN Corporate Partner)
A powerful pitch deck is critical for any startup, regardless of your goal. Whether you are raising a round of funding, acquiring your first customers, or hiring a skilled team, these seven components will help you build a captivating yet concise pitch deck.
To hone in on the most vital components of a pitch, I sat down with Brandon Greer, the leader of HubSpot Ventures, a $30M investment fund dedicated to startups that share HubSpot’s mission to help millions of organizations grow better. Having worked at OpenView Ventures prior to HubSpot Ventures, Brandon has reviewed thousands of pitches over the course of his career and knows firsthand how founders can deliver a successful pitch to get funding fast.
Below are the seven must-have components Brandon recommends for a powerful pitch deck. Before we dive in, remember that investors often spend less than two minutes looking at your pitch deck. The goal of these components is to ensure your pitch is optimized to answer all the questions an investor might have quickly and consistently—while leaving them wanting to learn more.
#1 Tell Your Story
This is your chance to illustrate your ethos —the ethics or credibility of the person making the argument. Did you leave a comfortable job to found your startup? Do you have a personal or professional experience that is fueling your passion for this pitch? Sharing your inception story begins to build credibility and sets the stage for the rest of your pitch deck.
#2 Outline The Problem
A commonly overlooked step: always make sure to walk investors through the problem before pitching the solution your startup delivers. This lays the groundwork for your pitch and helps to double down on the importance of your startup’s success. Not sure where to start? Think about the pain that you are trying to solve with your startup and give an example.
#3 Describe The Solution
A component that requires little explanation—this is where you lay out a clear value proposition for your startup. What value will you deliver to your customers? How do you solve the problem outlined above? Why is your solution better than the competition?
#4 Identify Your Target Market
This is your chance to orient the investor and show them where you are focusing your effort. Do you plan to go after B2C or B2B markets? Are you targeting enterprise companies or solo entrepreneurs? This helps the investor to size the market you are targeting and make a quicker decision to invest. Don’t forget that pitching your startup is a two-way street. This is also your chance to make sure the investor is equipped to support you in the market you are going after.
#5 Show Your Growth Plan
This is your chance to highlight the up-and-to-the-right growth your startup has already seen while showing a plan for continued growth. Don’t be afraid to illustrate how further investment will elevate your growth. Showing your plan for future growth helps the investor validate your work and gives them an assurance that they will see returns on their investment.
#6 Highlight Your Team
In this day and age, there are thousands of different ways to solve a problem. So what sets your startup and it’s solutions apart from the rest? Your team. In the early stages of investing, the background of the people on your team can go a long way. Show the investors why your team is the right group of people to start this business. You want to illustrate your team’s credibility and compatibility. To get yourself started, think about how your team’s unique backgrounds and skill sets will bring your startup success. Why are you the team that is best positioned to penetrate the market and achieve your growth goals?
#7 Make The Ask
Don’t leave your potential investors hanging. Always conclude your pitch with a clear ask. At a minimum, this should include the amount of money you are looking to raise and illustrate where that money will get your startup.
With these seven must-have components in mind, it’s time to start crafting or perfecting your pitch deck. Are you wondering how much information you can fit into these slides? The more information you share, the bigger the impression on the investor, right? Wrong.
Here’s how Brandon thinks about how much information to pack into your pitch:
“Keep the deck complete enough that the investor can grasp the point and the value proposition- how you’re growing, and how you’ll achieve future growth, but leave them wanting more. Excite the investor enough with your pitch deck that your voiceover—the color and texture you add as the entrepreneur—will increase their willingness and interest to invest even further.”
Simply said, make sure to include these components but don’t go so far that your interpersonal role as the pitching entrepreneur isn’t needed. Starting your pitch deck from scratch? Check out HubSpot’s Pitch Deck Template. Backed by learnings from other successful pitches, this template includes all the slides you’ll need laid out in a beautiful format so you can put your best foot forward.