5 critical pitch deck slides most founders get it wrong – TechCrunch

My team and I review 250-300 investor decks every month. Although a small group of founders has started exploring Notion memos to replace pitch decks, the reality is that most investors will still expect a good old-fashioned slide presentation.

The following are slides that we constantly see Founders struggling to solve. The most common reasons why these slides don’t work?

  • The founders haven’t really figured out this aspect of their business.
  • The founder does not understand what the slide means or what it should answer for the investor.

Marketing slide

What he should answer: How will you triple your income from one year to the next?

A good go-to-market slide should show that the business understands why it is growing and what it needs to do to keep it going.

For most decks and most stages of the business, the go-to-market slide is the most important in the presentation. Most companies present investors when they have a bit of traction, so it’s safe to assume that most of the capital will go to accelerating growth.

Additionally, depending on the stage of the business, “Going to Market” should be viewed as a section rather than an individual slide. As a general rule, the more advanced the business, the longer and more detailed this section. We worked on the pitch deck that elevated UpKeep’s B-Series, and the go-to-market section had about seven slides.

If you structure your pitch deck consistently, going to market will likely be the first slide investors come across to detail how the company intends to use its funding. We typically place the go-to-market slides after the business model slide but before the market size slide; that way you can dive into expansion once the investor has already figured out how you make money (and before you tackle market potential).

One of my favorite slides on the market comes from Airbnb’s pitch deck in 2009 (the one they used for the YC Demo Day):

Airbnb’s go-to-market slide from its original 2009 deck, reimagined by Slidebean. Image credits: Slidebean

Notice how, at this point (start-up stage), Airbnb had identified three critical go-to-market tactics:

  • “Targeting festivals and events” shows a good understanding of the audience ready to “experiment” with their offering.
  • “Partnerships with existing reservation providers”, a source of growth still used today.
  • Its “double post feature” on Craigslist. At the time, Airbnb had developed a simple bot that automatically uploaded all new Airbnb listings to Craigslist. All of the posts had a link to their website.

Some of the most common mistakes I see on marketing slides:

  • Being too generic about growth tactics: The founders simply put together a list of five to six growth channels that they intend to experiment with without going into the details of what they do there and what they do differently from their competition.

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