10 Slides to Funding Success
The Competition Slide
Part 6 of 10
Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success – The Competition Slide
One of my responsibilities as an Executive Coach is helping company founders with the creation of their Investor Pitch Deck. Throughout my career, I have created and helped create many Investor Pitch Decks. Some of our team’s Investor Pitch decks, especially early in my startup career, upon reflection, were “horrible”. Sometimes our teams were successful in raising monies 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! By working with many investors, I’ve learned what they want in an Investor Pitch Deck. In my last company, we raised $87M over rounds A, B and C. Today I will discuss “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success – The Competition Slide – Part 6 of 10”.
When an Entrepreneur is putting together their Investor Pitch Deck, they usually assemble a hoard of information. Sadly, often what they assemble is a “book” that is 20, 30, 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 length 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.
This 10-part series covers the ideal content, order, and verbiage of the ten Investor Pitch Deck pages. You’ll have learned how to craft your story into a successful ten-page Investor Pitch Deck that can get you funded!
Competition Slide – Why Important?
Last week in Part 5 of “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success“, I spoke about the Traction slide and its importance. This week I’m speaking to the Competition Slide, the sixth page of every presentation and its importance. After having discussed the Traction slide, you should immediately launch into describing your “Competition”.
Why? First, you’ve walked your audience’s through your customer Traction, your Solution, the Market for the Problem. Their brain is now poised to hear who your Competition is and why they won’t stop you!
If you’ve followed this series, and your investor’s in your Market space, they’ll be on the edge of their seats!
Competition Slide – Content
Look at the example image for this post. What do you see? A table of rows and columns with a title. Each row is preceded by a Feature. Each column is headed with a logo, beginning with your own, then Competitors This slide is where you highlight the top 5-8 features that you have, that your competitors don’t. Your company column is leftmost and all green checkmarks. Your Competitors have some of your features, but not most. Where they don’t have a key feature, show a gray dash.
This slide is where you get to “shine” on your depth of understanding your Competition. Who they are? How big are they? What is their market share? Why do customers buy from them.? What are the key features Customers care about? Why are these features important to them? How difficult is this feature to manufacture or duplicate? Is the feature patentable? Which Competitors are startups? Which are divisions of multi-billion USD companies? Why won’t the competitors simply “clone” you in weeks or months? Is your Solution truly the makings of a Company or just a Product?
Competition Slide – What’s Your Story?
So, what do you say while your Competition Slide is visible? Pick 3 key features out of the list that highlight the Problem you described. Give each feature 15 seconds and describe why your Customers MUST have this feature.
So many Entrepreneurs say “We don’t have Competitors”. This is a fatal statement to make in raising money from experienced Investors. You’ve just told them that you’re inexperienced and really don’t know your Market. For every Problem, there is some Solution. Even if you invented Teleportation, that has Competition. The car, plane, bus – your own legs – can get you from A to B albeit less fast. Your Solution likely has existing brute force solutions, large corporate Competitors and other Startups. Know who they are, they’re market share, and for other startups, who’s funding them and how much. You won’t talk about all these things on this slide, but you could be interrupted and asked these questions. Here’s one example.
“There are 7 key features our Customers are desperately seeking. Here you see our Solution satisfy’s all seven while our closest two Competitors, only satisfies two. One competitor is a 3 year old startup who’s raised $12M USD. The other is a division of XYZ corporation. Unlike our competitors, we have both an online Customer and Channel portal. The competition makes customers and channel partners call them by phone. Our customers estimate annual savings on these two features alone are over $100K USD. Our key third feature is our single-click, Customer registration via a free branded iOS and Android app. At one customer, this has already increased product registrations by 2X allowing product up-sales of over $100K.”. Wow! As an investor, I’m getting even more excited by this startups story. Are you?
Presentation: We Can Read or Listen – Not Both!
Most of us humans can either “Read” or “Listen”, but cannot do both at the same time. Your Pitch Deck slide presentation exists to support “the story” you are going to be telling your audience. Does your Investor Pitch Deck has a lot of words, charts with numbers, or distracting images? Then your audience is going to switch their brain 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 mostly images and as few words as possible, usually in bullet form. So absolutely, positively NO SENTENCES!
So, I suspect many of you were surprised with respect to the importance of the Competition Slide. If you’re starting you create your first investor presentation, congratulations! You’re going to be starting off on the right foot if you follow my recommendations above. Go back and look at your Competition slide and apply what you’ve learned above. If possible, you should wait to read the remainder of the series before you present again. I can almost promise you a better reaction from your audience.
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If you subscribe to my FREE Business Coaching Newsletter, I’ll also offer you a discount coupon to my book “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success”. In the book, I do a more detailed dive into each of the ten slides. You’ll see both good and poor examples of each of the ten topic slides. I’ll also discuss good and poor examples of presentation techniques. You’ll learn how to identify “Lookie-Lou” investors from “serious investors” who will really write you a check. I’ll teach techniques for how to overcome nervousness, stuttering and “brain-freeze” during your presentation. You’ll learn appropriate attire and why showing up even a minute late can doom a presentation.
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Next time …
In the next blog post, I will write about “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success! The Revenue Model Slide – Part 7 of 10”.
Read a Previous Post: “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success! The Traction Slide – Part 5 of 10
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