How to build a startup pitch

How to build a startup pitch
Photo by Teemu Paananen / Unsplash

Time and again in the startup world you will encounter the topic of "pitching". This means presenting your startup to potential investors, partners or customers. Through your pitch, you try to convince them to invest in your startup, to partner with your company or to buy your product - so you always pitch with a goal.

How long is a startup pitch?

Depending on the purpose, a startup pitch can be anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes long. Most pitches fall into one of these categories:

  • 1-sentence pitch: Mostly as a conversation opener, you describe your company briefly and concisely in one sentence
  • Elevator pitch: 1-minute pitch in which you present your startup in the time equivalent to an elevator ride.
  • Startup pitch: In typically between 3 and 5 minutes you present your company with presentation slides, e.g. at pitch events.
  • Deeper talks: If it goes more in-depth, e.g. after an investor has shown interest, you go deeper into the matter and explain the details of your company in talks (up to 60 minutes).

If you are asked to prepare a pitch but don't know what to start with, prepare a 5 minute pitch with presentation slides.

What needs to be in a pitch?

Your pitch should give a good overview of your company and its environment. Since you are always pitching with a purpose, your pitch should always work towards your "call-to-action" - your request to the audience. This call-to-action can be the call to invest in your company or to buy your product.
Depending on what your purpose is, different things should be covered in your pitch.

However, I always recommend the following as a basis:

  • Problem: Describe what problem your startup solves and for whom.
  • Solution: Describe how you solve the product. What is your product?
  • Call-To-Action: Call to your audience or counterpart.

For foundersplash this can be e.g. the following:

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This simple pitch provides a good basis. However, if you are preparing, for example, an investor pitch (startup pitches are mostly investor pitches), then you need to provide your audience with more information so that they can better evaluate your startup and you can show that you are well prepared. The startup pitch includes the following topics:

  • Problem: What problem do you solve for whom with your startup?
  • Solution: What kind of product do you offer? What services does it include?
  • Target group: If not already mentioned in the problem/solution, explicitly state who the target group for your product is.
  • Market: How is the market in which you operate developing? How big is it and is it growing?
  • Competitors: You are almost never the only company that addresses a certain target group in a market. Describe briefly and simply who your competitors are and how you differentiate yourself from them.
  • USP & Secret Sauce: What is your advantage over your competitors? Why do potential customers choose you and why will your startup be successful as opposed to everyone else trying?
  • Traction: What have you achieved so far and what can you present as proof that your concept really works? How many customers/revenue/.. have you already made?
  • Team: Who is the team behind the idea and why do you combine all the skills it takes to build this business successfully. If applicable, what qualifications or references do you have?
  • Call-to-Action: In case of an investor pitch usually a call to invest in your startup: How much money do you need and what goals will you achieve with this investment?

What do I need to look for in presentation slides?

The most common mistake is that your slides (your "pitch deck") are too complex. Your slides should support what you are saying and not distract from it. Use as many images as possible, very large font, and keep slide decoration very low. You don't need completely perfectly designed slides: investors invest in teams, not in beautiful pitch decks.

I hope these tips will help you in presenting your startup. If you want to stay up to date on startup knowledge, development in the startup environment and how else foundersplash can support you, sign up for our newsletter.

Happy Pitching!