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In an increasingly crowded startup world, it's important to stand out. Most founders know this, but how does a startup get noticed by investors? The answer: A well-crafted pitch deck. Pitch decks serve as a visual narrative that embodies the business idea and its potential. That's why it's important to create an eye-catching and memorable presentation. In this article, I will outline the eleven key points that should be included in your pitch deck.

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#1 The Problem and Solution

First things first. Every successful business starts with “the problem” and that needs to be reflected in your pitch deck. What problem are you solving and who are you solving it for? Define your target audience and dive into their "pain point". Find out why existing solutions leave them unsatisfied or even frustrated. If you don’t solve a problem, you don’t have a value proposition.

Once you have conveyed that the problem is substantial, show how you will solve it. You need to emphasize the benefits of your solution and demonstrate how it addresses the pain points you identified earlier.

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#2 The Product

The solution and the product often go hand in hand. However, one slide should address the product with a clear and simple description. Try to be an expert at explaining the complex issues and concepts surrounding your project in a short and simple way. You have spent a lot of time in developing your product – show it!

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#3 The Business Model

How does your business make money? What is your strategy? This is the place to describe this in detail. Explain your plans and demonstrate how your company provides value to your customers.

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#4 The Market Opportunity

Illustrate the potential market size and the opportunity for the investor. Try to find third party sources that support your assumptions. Share and visualize statistics, trends, and insights. Investors want to know how big your business can become. You can use a top-down approach, but more importantly, you should use a bottom-up approach to estimate your addressable market: How many people fit your ideal customer profile, how quickly can you reach them, and how much will they be willing to pay for your product?

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#5 The Competition

It is highly unlikely that your startup is the only one with a solution to your problem. Even if there are ostensibly no other companies offering your solution, customers who have this problem usually will have alternative ways of fixing this issue. Well-established workarounds can also be fierce competition! Be aware of this and acknowledge it. Only then can you identify and focus on what makes your product different.

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Marc is head of the investment team at ENV. He started in academia before becoming a corporate investor, with many published papers on M&A, leverage buyouts, and corporate finance. He was also a founder, designing and implementing IT infrastructures for small and medium-sized enterprises. He made the leap to investing in 2016 when he joined High-Tech Gründerfonds, a German private-public seed fund for high-tech startups.

Marc joined ENV in 2019 and became head of the investment team in 2023.

About Dr. Marc Umber

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#6 The Growth Strategy

You have defined the current state of your business. Now, it's time to look ahead. How will you attract and retain customers? How will you grow your business and your revenue? And last but not least, what about marketing?

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#7 The Traction

This part of the pitch deck is of particular interest to investors. If possible, you should provide evidence that your product or service is gaining market traction. Share testimonials, case studies, user statistics, and any other relevant data demonstrating positive customer response and validates the demand for your offering.

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#8 The Financial Projections

Three to five years is plenty of time to grow. That’s why you should give an idea of what to expect. These considerations should be realistic but still show the business's potential.

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#9 The Team

What faces are behind the startup? Showcase their talents and expertise. The people behind a startup are the key to its success. Investors should be able to see that, too.

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#10 The Funding

Last but not least. Outline your funding needs. Investors need to know if your startup is right for them. The clearer the funding, the better. Also, be transparent about how the investment will be used and how it will help your startup.

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In conclusion, effectively structuring your pitch deck is essential to communicating your business idea to potential investors. By following this basic 11-slide framework, you can create a compelling and concise pitch that captures attention, communicates your vision, and increases your chances of attracting the right investors and the funding your business needs to thrive.