Just recently, Ratan Tata’s pitch deck template was released where he gives his views on how a startup should pitch to venture capitalists. Need I say, this is a treasure trove of information for all the startups out there looking to raise funds! It is always great to hear from the horse’s mouth on what should a startup include in the pitch deck while pitching.
Just in case you are wondering, “What is a Pitch Deck”? A Pitch Deck is a document that provides a short overview of your business idea. It is often used when presenting your business to investors or raising funds. A pitch deck can be designed using various types of software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or other presentation solutions.
While the template in itself is plain and simple and is quite easily available, what is more valuable are the lessons one can learn from it and implement while preparing a pitch deck for your own startup. Thus, in this post, we share a few key things or takeaways from Ratan Tata’s pitch deck template
1.) Pitch deck is really important
As some of you might be aware, a business presentation such as a pitch deck is really important for any business to succeed. Simply put – if you can’t share what your business does with other people, the likelihood of people knowing about you is significantly lower. Thus, even though there may be organisations looking for your product or service that your business deals in, they may never reach out to you as they simply are not aware of your existence. We wrote a detailed post on how organisations can benefit from a good business presentation (Read – https://owlscape.in/what-is-the-importance-of-a-good-business-presentation/)
The young debuting entrepreneurs among you are setting out on your exciting startup journeys, but you’ve often asked what the first step might be. I have, with the help of my office, put together a basic entry-level pitch deck, which if nothing else, might help you collect your thoughts and get started. I encourage you to research its elements, and create your own recipe, that helps you seek investments and take your stories further, stories that I cannot wait to see succeed. Wishing you all the very best!
In a similar context, a pitch deck is key for successful fundraising. Having a pitch deck doesn’t guarantee that you secure funding for your organisation, but it is an important first step! Ensuring that you begin your journey well is absolutely critical.
2.) Information should be clear and succinct
We have all heard this time and again – be it an Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Mr. Ratan Tata or any other investor! It is a fact that most of us today have a depreciating attention span. Thus, adding clutter to our already busy lives just acts as a deterrent.
“The best presentations are those which represent the most complex piece of information in the easiest and the simplest manner possible such that your audience spends the least amount of time understanding it!”
Clear and succinct startup pitch will ensure that your audience doesn’t get distracted or lose interest.
3.) Support your pitch deck with well-researched data
This is often a key issue we have seen with the clients that we provide our services to as well. Organisations often fail to validate their problem statement or business idea with hard data.
“It is usually not a great idea because you think it is a great idea, but it is almost always a great idea because the target market said so!” – Ratan Tata
It is important that you do a thorough research of your industry, target market, audience and the competitors. In some cases, you may not have any data for your business idea. This does not mean that your business will be unsuccessful. This may mean that you may be a pioneer in your industry. In such a scenario, you may want to reach out to your potential target audience, apprise them of your product or service, and capture their behaviour and comments. Such research itself can act as a great supporting data for your business.
4.) Ratan Tata’s pitch deck structure recommendation
Another key point to note for all the budding entrepreneurs is the structure in which you may want to frame your pitch deck. Structure of a pitch deck ensures lucid flow of information and helps maintain a tight storyline as well as hold your investors’ attention. Ratan Tata’s pitch deck recommends the following structure –
- Problem – what is the problem that you are trying to solve? Validate this problem statement with real life examples.
- Solution – what is your solution to the problem just expressed above?
- USP – what characteristics make your solution a “never-before” solution?
- Competition & barrier to entry – how do the current solutions compare to your solution? How easy is it to replicate your solution? What category of competitors do you belong to?
- Revenue Model – how do you make money off your solution? Eg. subscription model, direct sales, ad based etc. Mention 3 to 5 year projections and top cash burn reasons
- Target Market – the size of the market vs. the percentage you are targeting. A granular profiling of your customer. For eg. age, geography, purchase habits etc. What channels will you use to get to this market?
- Your product/service – explain how your product/service adds value. Try and explain in layman terms.
- Milestones – milestones you have reached thus far. For eg. prototypes, patents, pilots etc. Milestones for 1, 3, 5 years etc. Milestones for what you would do if you got funded.
- Funding so far – mention funds raised through other investments and soft commitments. Mention realistic numbers for expected funding.
- The Team – introduce your founding members along with credentials, why they are involved. Exhibit unity in thinking and in strategy
5.) Pitch less like a presentation, more like a story
This is another interesting learning that you get from Ratan Tata’s pitch deck. While having data and hard numbers are important for a pitch deck, what you are pitching to your investors is not a presentation but your business. You should be pitching the passion behind the business. The impact of your business on the world – how your product/service has the potential to revolutionize at least your industry if not the world.
You should keep in mind that people on the other side of the table are often investors from your industry and more often than not, they know the ins and outs of your industry. Touching the hearts of your investors can sometimes work in your favour. Needless to say, your pitch should have a check mark in all the other components as well.
6.) One size DOES NOT fit all
When preparing for your startup pitch presentation you should not only research the relevant data to validate your assumptions, you should also thoroughly research the investor! Having an understanding of the investor preferences can help you structure the tone of your pitch accordingly. Some investors prefer to make data driven decisions, while others may also look at a human connection. Some others may like to focus on other aspects of your business.
Tweaking the business pitch deck as per the investor can have an impact on your pitch. A well-researched and well prepared entrepreneur can easily navigate these hurdles on the pitch day.
7.) Don’t make the deck too long
Ratan Tata’s recommended pitch deck structure is a great starting point. Having said that, it is very easy for a passionate entrepreneur to throw as much information as possible at the investor. This is a double-edged sword. Less information can mean that you are not well-researched and don’t know about your target market as much as you should. More information can simply put an investor off and take the attention away from your pitch.
“Remember, attention span of your user or target audience is like gold. It is in high demand and is the most valuable asset of the 21st century!” – Shrot Katewa
We recommend that an ideal startup pitch deck should be anywhere from 15-20 slides. If you believe that you definitely need to share all the data and research in the pitch deck, we suggest that you create a separate annexure document which acts as a supporting document to the pitch deck but is not part of the pitch deck itself. Circulate both the documents to your investors while sharing the files.
8.) Don’t give up!
Even having a perfect startup pitch deck may not guarantee funding for your organisation. Don’t worry, if your business idea is good, you will definitely manage to find an investor who is willing to fund your business idea. Remember, getting funded does not necessarily mean success. It is only a start to your journey! In any event, if your business fails or you are unable to raise funds for your idea, don’t be afraid to recognise the failure. Change direction or drop the idea completely! For all you know, the right idea may be the next one. Whatever the course of action, don’t give up.
Need help? We are here for you…
If you are a startup struggling to create a pitch deck, reach out to us so that we can help create an awesome pitch deck for you and help you in your success. We have done this over and over again for many startups that we have worked with. Simply drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or message through our contact us section, and we will reach out to you to take our discussion further.