I get a lot. For this TechCrunch Pitch Deck Teardown series, pitch deck submissions from people who raise friend and family rounds, and I’ll mostly go through them. Usually these decks are not very good, but it is important to remember that they don’t have to be.
For a small round (say $200,000 or less), well-connected entrepreneurs can find a group of people who believe in them and are willing to invest in them. It’s not about the product (usually there isn’t one) and it’s not about the solution (the company is still iterating).
Such investors usually gamble on two things.
- Menstruation Market It is big, and the problem is big or relevant enough to give this company Chance Success?
- they are Founders The right people to solve this problem? Do they have connections, skills, or experience that give them an unfair advantage?
Here’s the truth: When considering very early stage companies, if you can’t say “yes” to both questions with 100% certainty, you shouldn’t invest. Don’t invest if the market is not good enough. If the founders are smart, friendly, and amazing, but don’t have anything special to offer the startup, don’t invest.
It was against that background that I received the pitch deck for the Palau project. Its founder, Jerome Cluttons, is a professional kite surfer with an economics degree and an MBA (!) and is taking on climate change.
Let’s take a closer look at how all these components come together in a pitch deck.
We’re looking for more unique pitches to break down, so if you’d like to submit your own, here’s how to do that.
Slides on this floor
This pre-seed deck has 22 slides, but maybe 10 slides or more. That said, it looks good, and although it jumps a bit from topic to topic, I can see how the presentation will shape up. The slide deck has been updated slightly since Klotens started fundraising, and “isn’t quite as pitched;” he said. Some design and minor content changes (such as our track metrics) have been updated.
- Cover slide
- Problem impact slide
- Problem slide
- The solution slider
- Product slide
- Product slide
- Product slide
- Challenging slide
- Value proposition slide
- Business model slide
- Market size slide
- Market slide
- Drag slide
- Parameters slide
- Critical steps slide
- Group slide
- Founders slide
- “Round Round” center slide
- mission slide
- Question slide
- Critical steps slide
- “Justice for the Punishers” closing slide
Three things to love
As I mentioned in the introduction, this is a pre-seed plate. According to slide #20, the founders were trying to raise $500,000, and they closed on $125,000. In the early stages, this is not completely normal. After all, your plan should match the funds, which should match the major milestones you’re trying to hit.
At this stage, “I just need some money to prove what we’re trying to do” works, and if the angel investors think it makes sense, you raise money.
Simple product, testable now
If you can, make product demos this simple – easy to understand, visual and impactful.
I said earlier that the only thing that matters is the size of the market and the team, and I’ll get to that in a minute. For now, I’m impressed with how simple the idea is and how easy it is to put this to use. Scan barcodes, find product information and lean towards products that have less impact on the climate.
As an investor, I immediately have three questions:
- How good is the database and how many products are there?
- People Really Use this when traveling, shopping?
- This use case looks physical, but the business model implies commission. How do manufacturers know if a user has changed their behavior as a result of using an app?
You can learn two things from this slide: If you can, make product demos this simple – easy to understand, visual and impactful. The second step is to tie it to your value proposition: What’s in it for the user? What is there for product manufacturers? What’s in it for your company (ie how does this help you get or keep customers, and how does it help generate value)?
When a company raises its first round, it’s unlikely that it has any product, never mind a product with real traction. If you experience a product like this, you will be shouting about it from the rooftops. 30 downloads per day is impressive, and 10,000 scans shows that the app is working and getting some user engagement. The timing of the engagement is also cool – there are plenty of early indicators here that the founders may be on to something. Going from 0 to 700 weekly active users in a new market (Portugal) is also impressive.
Again, the slide raises questions for me:
- Scans are great, but I want to know what percentage of those scans were successful (ie products in the database). If users browse 10,000 items and end up with 600 hits and 9,400 “we don’t know this product” it will cause many users to back away immediately.
- 25-30 new users per day is amazing, but show us a graph and the total number of subscribers.
- Tik Tok videos are cool, but unless it moves the needle commercially, it’s a meaningless metric. Did the video result in downloads? More scans? More questions?
As a beginner, one thing you can learn from this slide is to think about the story you’re telling with your metrics, because you could be telling the wrong story or raising more questions than it answers.
Pretend to be a VC for a moment and ask yourself: If a company told me these numbers, what caused the numbers and what do they tell me about where the company is going?
A beautiful value proposition
The graphic on the left makes a point: corporations clearly use greenwashing to appear sustainable, tree-hugging hippies are real (and Coca-Cola wraps itself in green pretzels, especially for those who want to know how much it cares about the environment), and as consumers, big corporations do. You can’t trust them to really represent you.
So what’s a poor consumer to do? The Palau Project’s take on this is a masterful way to set the tone and open the door to history.
This slide is a great opening example to help move the discussion forward. Have a clear value proposition for you or paint a picture Purpose It’s a great way to engage your audience.
Remember that “group” and “market” are the two most important parts of the pre-seed slide deck? You’ll notice the absence of both in this “Things I Like” section. There’s a reason for that, so let’s take a closer look at what could be improved with Palau Project Range.