Fundraising is a vital activity carried out by startups throughout their lifecycle, and one of the most important documents required is the pitch deck. The pitch deck is a brief presentation, that can be created with PowerPoint, Canva, Keynote, Prezi or any other software, to give the audience an outline of your business plan.

According to a 2015 Docsend study, investors spend 3 minutes 44 seconds looking at pitch decks. When creating a pitch deck, it is important to engage the audience (investors) with a story. They should know why you are tackling the problem, how you intend solving it, why you are the best for the job and what you aim to achieve. A picture-rich presentation is crucial to creating and sustaining interest throughout the pitch. Below are elements of a pitch deck that every entrepreneur should have:

Slide 1: Cover Page
This is the first slide of every pitch deck. It should contain your company’s name, logo and tagline/slogan. If MTN was creating their pitch deck, their tagline would read ‘Everywhere you go’. You don’t want your prospective investors wondering who you are. Affix high-resolution visuals to this page, or otherwise, keep it simple. According to Peter Thiel, you should also attach quotes from media outlets to this page, as it gives trust and adds social proof to the venture.

Slide 2: Company Purpose
This page summarizes what the company is doing for its customers. This is where you write your one-sentence value proposition- basically, it summarizes what benefit you provide to the customer and why they should use or purchase your product. For Paystack, this page would have something like, ‘A Nigerian company on a mission to deliver a safe and convenient payment experience for customers and merchants’. This simply tells what Paystack does for merchants and customers, and why they should use it- “safe and convenient payment experience”

Slide 3: Problem
You can’t create a solution if there was no problem in the first place. So, zero in on what your major pain point is and write on that. Specificity is important here. As Alex Chuang advised, you need to address the following questions as simple and concise as possible: What is the problem? How do you know it is a problem? Do you have primary and secondary research to back this up? Who are you solving this problem for?

Slide 4: Solution
Now that you have identified what exactly the problem is, you have to convince these investors on how you intend solving it. Here, you should show why your solution is better than the alternative that is presently out there and how it brings value to your customers. It is advisable that you include powerful imagery of your product or service (a diagrammatic illustration can be used). This slide should tell your investors all the benefits of using your product.

Slide 5: Why Now?
If you are an e-commerce startup launching in Nigeria, where there have been recent e-commerce failures like Gloo and DealDey, this should be important to you, because this is where you convince your investors that your solution is not just relevant but relevant NOW. Many solutions
have been said to be ahead of their time and not acceptable by the market, so, in this slide, you prove there is a product-market fit.

Slide 6: Market Size
This should give a pictorial representation (preferably) of the total addressable market of your startup. Investors care about this slide because it shows them how large their potential investment could be if it claims a larger market share. To calculate this, you could utilize a top-down approach (Your market opportunity= Total market size x Your market share) or a bottom-up approach (this incorporates multiple groups of customers and varying spend levels for each group).

Slide 7: Competition
A “Magic Quadrant” style is mostly used here to talk about the competitive landscape and position your startup relative to competitors. You also want to show your competitive advantage and why your startup will succeed. This could be through distribution channels, IP, etc.

Slide 8: Product
This slide is similar to the Solutions slide, but whilst the former focused on the benefits of your product/service, this slide talks about the product itself- features and how it works. Demo videos might be helpful here, but it is advisable to stick with a pictorial explanation to prevent unforeseen hiccups.

Slide 9: Business Model
Here, you want to outline how the company intends making money (revenue model), pricing strategy, operational plan, and average account size in an infographic format.

Slide 10: Team
This is the second most important slide on the deck. Execution is what differentiates a good team from a bad team. On this slide, having names, accomplishments, domain expertise are all necessary to list, next to a picture of the co-founders. Advisers and board members can be added here if the founding team does not have a strong portfolio.

Slide 11: Traction
This is where you show growth metrics, like daily active users (DAU), registrations, user engagement, sales, traffic, downloads, etc all in a bid to show product adoption level. The traction slide provides validation for your solution. Show all relevant milestones!

Slide 12: Financing
According to Docsend, investors spend the most time on this slide (23.2 seconds). This should showcase an overview of the firm’s current financial situation, cost of customer acquisition, runway, future burn rate and how much capital is needed to validate the business model.
Often times, African entrepreneurs struggle with obtaining investments, especially from foreign and large local VCs, and as such, it is important for these individuals to know how to properly write a pitch deck, which is one of the main instruments in fundraising. With this guide, entrepreneurs would be able to display their business in a pictorial-rich, content-sound manner that would guarantee any level of investment from pre-seed to Series D.

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