04 – PITCH DECK SOLUTION SLIDE – 10 SLIDES TO VC FUNDING SUCCESS
4: Pitch Deck Solution Slide – 10 Slides to VC Funding Success
❏ Today, in Part 4 of my series on 10 Slides to VC Funding Success, I’ll speak on Pitch Deck Solution Slide: 10 Slides to VC Funding Success.
The solution slide is the fourth page of every successful VC pitch deck. After discussing the market slide, describe your excellent killer solution immediately. Your solution is your fundamental reason for being in front of an investor. Your company will never get funding if you don’t have a killer solution.
What is the solution? You’ll be able to learn in this article the answer to this question and what is essential to show on your pitch deck solution slide.
One of my responsibilities as an executive coach is to assist company founders with creating their investor pitch deck. Throughout my career, I have made and reviewed many investor pitch decks. Upon reflection, I realized that some of our team’s investor pitch decks, especially early in my startup career, were “horrible.”
Sometimes, our teams were successful in raising money from investors. Many times, they were not.
I never thought that the content and presentation style of the investor pitch deck might be hurting us. Boy, was I ever wrong? Working with many investors taught me what they want in an investor pitch deck. In my last company, we raised $87 million over rounds A, B, and C.
So, in this series and an upcoming book, I look to share my hard-learned lessons from 20+ years of being an entrepreneur.
The Investor Pitch Deck Series:
In this series, you will learn the order and importance of each of the following pitch deck slides:
- Cover Slide
- Problem Slide
- Market Slide
This 10-part series covers the ten investor pitch deck slides’ ideal content, order, and flow. You’ll have learned how to craft your story into a successful ten-page investor pitch deck that can get you funded!
When an entrepreneur is putting together their investor pitch deck, they usually assemble a hoard of information. Sadly, often what they construct is a “book” that is 20, 30, or even as much as 80 pages in length! Most of us humans have a very short attention span. Even ad networks know that most ads longer than 30 seconds in size don’t work with consumers. For investors, the successful length of an investor pitch deck is about ten pages and 7–15 minutes in presentation length.
Pitch Deck Solution Slide: Why Is It Important?
Last week in The Market Slide: 10 Slides to VC Funding Success, I spoke about the market slide and its importance. This week, I’m discussing the Pitch Deck Solution Slide, the fourth page of every presentation, and its significance. After discussing the market slide, describe your excellent killer solution immediately.
Why? First, you’ve whetted your audience’s appetite by understanding the market size for the problem you are going after. Their brain is now poised to hear your solution. It’s time to spring it upon them!
If you’ve followed this series and your investors are in your market space, they’ll be on the edge of their seats!
Pitch Deck Solution Slide – Content
What you present here will depend on whether what you have is “soft or “hard. Soft” “is” good; I’m referring to a “service” that you are providing. By “hard” good, I’m referring to a physical “product” that you will be selling. If you’re selling a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution, this is a “soft” good. If you’re selling a machine that converts $2 wine into $20-tasting wine, that is a “hard” good product. A “hard” good ideally has a “SaaS “soft” good service associated with it, but more on that later.
Your solution slide should convey a clear image of your “soft” goods service or “hard” goods product to your audience. For “soft” goods, like SaaS, a key screenshot of your app or web page will work. A high-resolution, full-color image must be used for “hard” products, like the $2 wine to $20 wine example. If you used a Kick Starter program to build it, use an image from that package that you created.
The text you should add to this killer image is simple. It should be bullets stating the Big Solution’s advantages (no sentences!). That’s it! See the picture associated with this article to see a great example.
Pitch Deck Solution Slide – What’s Your Story?
So, what do you think you could say while your solution slide is visible? Think back to the problem slide. Your “Solution” slide verbal points should address every problem point. If your investor audience asks a question again on your problem slide, you must also answer this question.
We should target spending about twice the amount of time on this slide compared to previous slides. If a product is a “hard” or “soft” product, the “look” will be critical to the “sell.” Do you have an Apple-like look? Does it have an Apple-like price? If you have a “hard” good, now is when you “unveil” it. If small enough to sit on the table, have a high-quality cloth covering it. I like royal blue, but you might want a forest green if it’s an “eco-theme” product. “Do not” pass the product around at this time. If you do, you’ve lost your audience. Once you’ve unveiled it, pause, then point out the fundamental problems your “solution” has solved.
Your words must tell the story if your solution is a “soft” good, such as a SaaS. Point out how elegantly your SaaS solution solves the problem that your competitor does not. Ideally, the background or embedded image on the page helps you tell this part of your story. “Do Not” fires up a web browser to give a “short demo.” Doing so is a sure recipe for failure. Networks fail. Doing this will blow your time budget. A delay of even a few seconds for a page load will allow your investor’s mind to wander. You’ve lost all your momentum! After slide 10, you can always give a demo if the investor is interested and conditions allow.
Presentation: We Can Read or Listen – Not Both!
Most humans can “read” or “listen,” but we cannot do both simultaneously. Your Pitch Deck slide presentation exists to support “the story” you will be telling your audience. Does your investor pitch deck have a lot of words, charts with numbers, or distracting images? Then, your audience will switch their brains into “reading mode” and out of “listening mode.” As soon as that happens, you’ve lost your audience and will struggle to get them back to listening to you! To avoid this, use primarily images and as few words as possible, usually in bullet form. So absolutely, positively, no sentences!
So, I suspect many of you were surprised by the solution slide. If you’re starting to create your first investor presentation, congratulations! You will start on the right foot if you follow my recommendations above. You can go back and look at your solution slide and apply what you’ve learned above. You should wait to read the remainder of the series before you present it again. I can promise you a better reaction from your audience.
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