If you have a strong grip, nothing else in your pitch deck matters
This is common received wisdom that you need 10 to 20 slides to tell your startup story. However, many founders don’t seem to realize that not all slides are created equal. Some slides carry more weight than others – and three of them are absolutely essential. Today I’m going to tell you why these three slides are so important.
The way to use this article is to think about which of these attributes you have in your startup to help organize your pitch. For example, number 1 on this list is the deadlift. If you have incredible grip, this should probably be the first slide in your deck. If your grip is flat (i.e. not growing or even shrinking), poor, or nonexistent—maybe don’t stress that and think instead about how else you can tell your story.
1 — Traction is the most important thing
Up and right. Which makes sense. Up and to the left will be time travel, and if you can do it, you have even more valuable company than you realized.
Your traction slider is, to some extent, your trump card. If you show a huge amount of revenue and rapid growth, all other sins are forgiven.
It doesn’t matter if you have an inexperienced team, a terrible product, or a questionable market. If you can show that you have money coming in and growing at 9% or more week after week, you will raise money.
There is a hierarchy in terms of what type of traction helps:
- profit. If you’re cash positive and growing fast, you probably don’t even need venture capital — but if raising money helps you grow even faster, you’re in a great place.
- ARR. If your annual recurring income is growing quickly, you’re in luck. The recurring revenue and dynamics of SaaS mean you’re on your way.
- Active users. If you’re growing your users exponentially without necessarily knowing how to monetize them, that’s still an impressive feat. If you can show that you can build a huge, sticky audience, you can probably find a way to monetize it down the line.
- Registrations. If you’re seeing a huge uptick in signups for your product or service, but they’re not generating revenue or sticking, there’s still value in that — although your swipe for traction should be paired with a solid “How is this going to make money?” ?” rink.