In THIS post, I outlined the high-level flow for an investor pitch deck that, in my opinion, covered the basic, necessary information required for a solid, introductory investor presentation. Here, we’ll get into the details of the next two slides with commentary and advice to go along with each. This is the beginning of the narrative of your company. (NOTE: i’m tend to use product/solution interchangeably; not a best practice…but ok for this discussion).
Slide 3: Market Context
When building the Market Context slide, you should feel comfortable with the nagging feeling that SURELY everyone on the planet knows at least this much information about the market your company operates within.
Perhaps they do; perhaps they don’t. In any case, you need to frame up why you market is interesting: it’s big and growing; it’s going through massive disruption; it’s suddenly ready to enjoy the leverage of technology for the first time; everyone else is thinking about the problem/solution/etc wrong. It’s important to describe the (hopefully growing) market in which your company will capture a small and growing portion.
This is also your opportunity to describe any compelling dynamics currently at play; perhaps something that gives your company an advantage. In a real sense, this slide should be the set-up for your “secret sauce” / “why we should win” slide that is coming right up.
Slide 4: THE SLIDE: Company / Solution Overview
For me, this next slide is the most imporant slide in the deck. This is the slide that, if necessary, you could use to tell the entire story (what you do, why (=value) you do it, and for who) of your company.
While this slide can look VERY different, I believe it contains the same basic information for any company. The concept of the past, present and future is key to this sort of slide because it allows you to talk not only about the product/solution you’re selling today but your vision of the future and the associated products. Your customers value your ability to see into your/their collective future and anticipate problems they don’t even have yet.
In this example, the left of the blue bar represents all of the past…where customers didn’t need to (or didn’t KNOW they need to) use your company’s solution. But now, here in the blue bar, “we all now know we have this problem.” We should name it! A perfect use of the header space. Here, it’s called “The Land Grab” – which referred to broadband service provider’s need to quickly and efficiently acquire new broadband customers before their competitor beat them to it. NewCo has products to help with this…and the effect is “Broadband Deployment Acceleration.” Investors should appreciate how well you understand the problem (so well, in fact, that you named it). It also shows that NewCo’s products map to the problem and have a clear value proposition.
The middle, green bar represents the near-future. Perhaps NewCo’s customers are already experiencing problems associated with this near future. In any event, this represents the next step in how NewCo would work with their customers…and forecasts the products they might sell to address the next phase of challenges. If it makes sense, name this one too! This helps investors understand that you’re thinking down the path of product/market evolution and that you’re less likely to be a one-trick pony. The more logical the linkage, the better. Here, it makes all the sense in the world that FIRST you have to initiate the service, THEN you have to manage and support effectively while minimizing the costs to do so.
Finally, the orange section represents your vision of the future. If your company could wave a magic wand, this would be the resulting condition or capability. In general, this phase should be predicated in some capacity on the earlier phases. It’s really important for investors to hear your vision of the future; everyone will understand that it will take great products, a willing market, superior execution and money to get there…but you have to have a sense of where “there” actually is. If your company vision is having your first / only product increasingly adopted – that’s not a company vision – that’s just execution. In this case, the vision was to eventually enable broadband service providers to sell value-added services (gaming, security, triple-play) to their subscribers in order to create some lock-in and differentiation for their service…instead of being relegated to providing only the increasingly commodotized broadband “pipe.”