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And, as I have said before, network effects help on the way up and hurt on the way down. If I get great single person utility from your service, it is less likely that I will follow my friends out of it when your service ends its stay on the hype cycle and the iTunes leaderboard.
So I encourage the product teams in our portfolio to think hard about building single person utility into their products. Its a paradox of sorts but by making sure its useful to just one person you are insuring its useful to tens of millions of people
10 Things to Include in Your Startup Pitch Presentation
1. Cover Page
The cover page should have your logo, business name and a tagline. Your tagline should give insight into your company and be easy to remember, for example, “We are the Groupon for X.” Remember to include your contact information — you would be surprised how many people forget it. Especially if your deck was forwarded, it should be easy for a person to track you down.
Summarize all of the information before you present it, and use this opportunity to get your audience interested in your company. Talk up the most interesting facts about your business, as well as any huge milestones you may have hit.
Investors are not only putting money toward your idea, they’re investing in your team. It’s important they know the people who are going to make the concept successful. Make sure to include your background too, and how it relates to your new company. Highlight any of your team’s successful exits. Investors like to see that you can take a company to acquisition.
If applicable, emphasize that your team has worked together in the past or for a long period of time. It shows you can and like to work together. If you have any important advisors, list them, but make sure they know you’re using their name.
You need to be able to explain the problem your concept is going to solve. Further, you need to prove why investors should care about solving it with your product or service.
This is the value proposition you are bringing to the table. It should solve the problem you just mentioned. If you have a demo of your product, this is the time to show it. Include any case studies to show that your product has worked for existing customers.
You’ll want to show the market size for your product. This can include profiles of target customers, but be prepared to answer questions about the cost of acquiring these customers. Not knowing this information is a red flag to investors. If you already have sales, you can discuss your growth and forecast future revenue.
7. Projections or Milestones
It is difficult to create financial projections for a startup. If you don’t have a long financial history, your forecast is really just an educated guess. Instead, you should present the milestones that you’ve already reached. For instance, include that you acquired 1,000 customers by X date, that you have a partnership with company Y, that you signed a major customer or that you will be cash flow positive by Q3.
Every business has competition even if you think you’re offering something new and unique. List your competition and why your product/service is different from their model. If your competitors have been acquired, list acquisition prices and who acquired them.
9. Business Model
Every investor wants to get his money back, so it’s important to tell them how you plan on generating revenue. Show a list of the various revenue streams for your model and the timeline for each of them. How will you price your product and what does your competition charge? You should also discuss the lifetime value of your customer and how you will keep him engaged.
If you have already raised money, you will want to talk about how much, who invested and what you did with it. If you have not raised money yet, talk about what you have accomplished with minimal funding. If you have personally funded your startup, make it known. Investors like to see entrepreneurs who have invested their own money. If you’re pitching to raise capital, list how much you’re looking to raise and how you intend to use the funds.
The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real.
“I quit my job as an Emmy-winning actress to do this because…” or “Our company is profitable and has grown 10% per week, every week, since July,” or “The King of Spain called me last week about the new project we just launched.”
Investors always tell you to pursue big ideas, find your passion and iterate rapidly.That’s valuable advice, but there are some other important considerations that you don’t hear very often: tackle a small market, look for bizarre behavior, don’t make waves, and be unwilling to do anything else. Paul Graham also has some helpful suggestions here and here .
1. Tackle a small market. Most people tell you to address a large market. But what you really want is a small market today that will be big tomorrow. If it’s too big now the incumbents will come in too early and crush you; if it’s too small tomorrow then you’ll never build anything of enduring value. So go for a small market today where something is changing to make it a big market tomorrow. Like GitHub, which is serving the software development market, but is well positioned to expand into other large markets like developer recruiting, PaaS, analytics, content management and more.Make sure you’re very clear in your own mind what the change is — it’s the only thing that keeps you warm at night when things look grim.