It’s a commonly accepted wisdom that you need between 10 and 20 slides to tell the story of your startup. A lot of founders don’t seem to realize that not all slides are the same, however. Some slides carry more weight than others — and three of them are absolutely crucial. Today, I’m taking you through why those 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 deck. For example, No. 1 in this list is traction. If you have amazing traction, that should probably be the first slide in your deck. If your traction is flat (i.e., not growing, or even shrinking), poor or non-existent — maybe don’t highlight that and think instead about how else you can tell your story.
1 — Traction is king
Up and to the right. Which makes sense. Up and to the left would be time travel, and if you can do that, you have an even more valuable company than you thought.
Your traction slide is, by some considerable margin, your trump card. If you are showing 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 dubious market. If you can show that you have money coming in and growing at 9% or more week over week, you will raise money.
There’s a hierarchy in terms of what type of traction helps:
- Profit. If you are cash-positive and growing rapidly, you probably don’t even need venture capital — but if raising cash helps you grow even faster, you’re in a great place.
- ARR. If your annual recurring revenue is growing rapidly, you’re in luck. Recurring revenues and SaaS dynamics mean that you are onto something.
- Active users. If you’re growing your number of 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 make money off that down the line.
- Sign-ups. If you’re seeing huge growth in the number of sign-ups to your product or service, but they aren’t generating revenue or sticking around, there’s still value in that — although your traction slide should be paired with a solid “How is this going to make money?” slide.