What belongs in a pitch deck? How much information is too much? How do I tell a compelling story about my business?
These are all questions we hear from founders looking to raise their Seed round.
In this video, Underscore VC Partner Chris Gardner shares best practices on how to prepare your pitch.
To take some of the guesswork out of early-stage fundraising, we pulled together an editable Seed pitch deck template. In the notes section of each slide are best practices and guidelines to help you customize the deck for your business.
Simply make a copy and make it your own. While it can be a good idea to hire a designer to clean up your deck, this design is intentionally simple so you can swap out colors and images to fit with your brand.
To make your own editable copy, click the link below and go to File > Make a copy > Entire presentation.
Seed Pitch Deck Template
The key elements included in this Seed pitch deck template are outlined below.
The business overview should summarize what you do uniquely well for whom and how. Keep it short and sweet. Provide context and orient your audience to what is about to follow—get your audience wanting to learn more.
Next, dive into the most important question that investors have in mind when they sit down to hear a pitch: Can I invest in these people? You should share your relevant experience, and if you’re lucky enough to have already created value and driven great outcomes in other ventures, tell us about it.
But what if you haven’t had that experience yet? If you’re not already a proven entrepreneur, explain the experiences that have led to your business insight and convinced you to invest your time and career in your new company.
Key Problem & Opportunity
Clearly state the business pain that you’re going to tackle, connect that to a technology that can address the pain, and explain why customers will see this as an urgent need.
Make sure your audience fully understands the significance of the opportunity before you move on. Ideally, they should literally be visualizing the unbearable nature of the pain. Or if they are representative of the target customer, they should confirm they are feeling the pain. Ideally, you want people dying to hear how you address the pain before you unveil your solution.
- Why is this an immense problem?
- What is the big opportunity here?
- What are the consequences of not solving it?
With the investors you’re pitching feeling the pain, you can present your solution and wow them with the technology and insights that drive your approach to meet your customers’ real and pressing needs.
However you describe your value proposition, ensure your audience really “gets it” before proceeding. Check in with them and ask them if they do. Be careful not to make assumptions that may come out of your familiarity with the opportunity. Instead, be explicit about what could simply not be done without the solution you are proposing and why that is so compelling.
- What is unique about your approach?
- Why are you uniquely qualified to solve this problem?
- How are you solving it?
Vision: Why Now?
The description of the value proposition and solution should lead to describing your vision for how the market will evolve and how you plan to lead it.
Vision matters. Early opportunities evolve and change over many years, so we always look for entrepreneurs who have the vision to see how the market will unfold and grow down the road.
- How will the market evolve?
- How will you lead it?
- Why should an investor believe you?
Traction & Proof Points
No matter what you claim, examples and case studies will prove that you can deliver. They are more credible than anything else you could say.
See the full milestone framework here. When targeting a Seed round, think about ways to prove that you’ve reached:
- Problem/opportunity validation
- Conviction in $100M
- Customer engagement
- Ease of adoption
- Roadmap to capture customer $
- Early indications of repeatability (prepayment, decreasing CAC)
Your business model is also potentially a whole subject unto itself, but you should at least cover the basics of how you create, deliver, and capture value.
In the end, investors need to know that you understand the methods and costs associated with building your product, selling it, and supporting customers in a profitable manner.
- Sample pricing
- Product packaging and delivery
A good analysis involves careful segmentation of the truly addressable market and thoughtful descriptions of how customer segments will pay for the solution over time to build up a picture of realistic market size.
Bottom-up Market Size = [# of Customers] * [Price They’ll Pay]
- Who is your specific customer?
- How many of them are there?
- How many of them can you realistically reach?
- At what price will they buy?
- Then, perhaps the most challenging: How many will buy from you?
For more information, see the full framework.
Key here is to use compelling axes to show a whitespace in the market. To avoid useless axes, think through:
- What aspect of your product is the stickiest?
- Can these competitors compete on this axis?
- Can this competitor cross this axis? What would that take?
- Why do your customers need this differentiator?
- What are you intentionally not?
- Are there other competitors in your quadrant? If so, how else are you different?
- Is your product better for a certain segment than another competitor?
For more information, see the full framework.
Fundraising Needs & Milestones
At Underscore, we typically finance about 18 months at a time because we’ve learned that’s long enough to allow the team to get focused on things like building and validating a product.
Determine how much you need to raise and test the assumptions you have about when you’ll need to raise money. This analysis requires figuring out what milestones you need to achieve in order to justify a higher valuation at each round of funding. See the full framework on financial planning and forecasting.
- Why do you need this specific amount of funding?
- What will you do with this funding? People, systems, processes
- What milestones will that enable you to do?
If you can capture these key sections in your pitch deck, you’ll be ready to start practicing your pitch, get feedback, and iterate on your draft. Good luck!