startup pitch contest - Venture Madness - Invest Southwest

Differentiate Your Startup in 10 Minutes by Addressing These 6 Areas in Your Presentation

Get ready for Venture Madness! Learn from expert speakers and past Venture Madness contestants to gain crucial startup advice for preparing a compelling pitch.

After your Elevator Pitch, your presentation moves to critical detail. Remember, your speech and your slide visuals work in tandem. Supplement your speech with your slides and supplement your slides with your speech.

Don’t make slides content dense. Don’t read your slides like a script—don’t read everything on the slide.

Do add a tagline to your slides. This can be an element of your elevator pitch, or a mission statement, or brand promise. It is an “everywhere you look” slogan to repeat a core brand message on every slide. Then, carry on.

After your elevator pitch, it is important to mention your stage of development right away. Tell how far along you are. Answer what is your stage of evolution? Present the metrics: Headcount, number of employees. Revenue level, are you revenue positive? Customer base, are you customer positive?

From here, an effective method for organizing your presentation is to set up the problem and show the solution. What are you doing to help others?

What is it — define the problem.
Who has it — outline the largest market for this problem.
How acute is it— describe the pain point and how much pain there is.
Why does it persist — this is a subtle point, explain why no one has solved this before and how you have the answer.

Buyers are “pragmatists in pain,” stuck with a problem business process and willing to take a chance on something new, provided it is directly focused on solving their specific use case. — Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm

Deliverable — define the “thing” you sell.
Benefits — list a few key benefits.
Demo — briefly, in one minute or less, show screenshots or images to demonstrate your product (technology will crash, so back up your back up).

Now, what’s the plan? Tell the details of your company. For this section, your slides should show nouns.

Who is your management team? If it is structured, show it. Describe the area of expertise each player brings to the table. If not yet in place, outline the planned structure and the prospective positions. Outline the areas of expertise you require to fill (sales, marketing, CFO, etc.)? Also list key advisors and investors already working with you.

Boast about those in your company. Share your collaborative history—chemistry, unity, flow. Harmonious history is a great differentiator.

SLIDES SHOW NOUNS: Management Names, Titles, Education, Certifications, Prior Companies, Accomplishments. Elaborate wth speech.

How do you make money? This is often more clear when shown with graphic, a chart, or a flow diagram. Here you reveal your value chain—where your company sits in the process of making the product, delivering it to the customer, and collecting revenue. Remember to share unit economics—cost, sell price, profit on each unit.

Recommended reference book: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder 

There are four areas to address in discussing your market.

Segments — Focus on the specific segment or segments you are serving. Do not talk about the total market.
Dollar size of Target Addressable Market — Reveal the total market spending for products that solve the problem you solve.
Trends driving market growth — Outline macro factors driving change in your industry. Tell the story of what is emerging in the marketplace.
Competition — Consider a matrix or diagram (picture worth 1000 words) to show how you stack up in the the competitive set.

Investors want to see 5-year projections. Entrepreneurs should have an advisor or mentor who can review the financials and confirm that they are reasonable and not way off base. Finally, what is your exit strategy? Do you have a plan to become acquired or grow?

Remember, you get 10 minutes—spend only one of them on your product. Too many startups get obsessed with romancing their product. The pitch is about building credibility—making the investor believe in you and your possibility for success.

Don’t miss the October 25, 2016 Free Get Ready Seminar to learn how you can prepare an effective pitch for your startup and learn what it takes to apply for and compete in Venture Madness 2017.

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Save the dates: Venture Madness 2017 — March 8-10, 2017 in Scottsdale, AZ at Hotel Valley Ho.

Invest Southwest is a non-profit dedicated to educating and mentoring Arizona’s early-stage firms and connecting them with serious investors from around the region to help fuel scale and growth.