As the world is gearing up for Christmas and New Year’s, startup enthusiasts in India got a present weeks before the rest of the world. The chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, took to Instagram to talk about first-time entrepreneurs pitching to investors and even uploaded pitch deck – a basic template to help startups impress investors.
On Tuesday (December 3), the 81-year-old investor conducted a poll on Instagram and asked his social media followers if they would like him to put together a basic pitch deck template.
24 hours later, 97% of people said yes and within minutes Ratan Tata uploaded a 16-slide presentation, which spoke about the most important things any pitch by a first-time entrepreneur should have. For starters, a pitch deck is a brief presentation that entrepreneurs compile and present during meetings and while seeking a round of financing from investors.
Along with the link to the pitch deck, the Tata group patriarch shared a message that said: “The young debuting entrepreneurs among you are setting out on your exciting startup journeys, but you’ve often asked what the first step might be. I have, with the help of my office, put together a basic entry-level pitch deck, which if nothing else, might help you collect your thoughts and get started. I encourage you to research its elements, and create your own recipe, that helps you seek investments and take your stories further, stories that I cannot wait to see succeed. Wishing you all the very best!”
The 16-page document explains the basics, which is the definition of a pitch deck. Tata says, “It is a short overview of your business idea often used when presenting to investors and raising funds.”
Since his retirement in 2012, Tata has been encouraging young entrepreneurs across sectors and has invested in startups like Ola, Paytm, Lenskart, and Urban Ladder, during their early stages.
In the deck, he goes on to explain the ten most important points that should be present in any pitch deck
- Problem: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Validate the problem with real-life examples.
- Solution: What is your solution to the problem?
- Unique Selling Proposition: What characteristics make your solution a “never before” solution.
- Competition and Barrier to Entry: How do the current solutions compare with your solution? How easy is it to replicate your solution? What category of competitors do you belong to?
- Revenue Model: How do you make money off your solution? Such as subscription model, direct sales, ad-based revenues. What are your 3-5-year projections? What are your top cash burn reasons?
- Target Market: Focus on the size of the market versus the percentage you are targeting. Do granular profiling of your customer such as age, geography, purchase habits, personal traits. What channels will you use to get to this market?
- Your Product or Service: Explain how your product or service adds value. Try and explain in layman terms. Ideally, anyone reading the slide should understand it.
- Milestones: List out the milestones you have reached so far such as prototypes, patents, pilots etc. Write about the milestones for the next 1, 3 and 5 years if possible. Mention the milestones for what you would do if you got funded.
- Funding So Far: Mention funds raised through other investors and soft commitments. It helps to build credibility and validation. Mention realistic numbers for expected funding.
- The Team: Introduce your founding members. Along with credentials, you can mention why they are involved. Exhibit unity in thinking and strategy.
It doesn’t end there. He also adds a few notes that might help entrepreneurs.
- Validate every possible slide with data. Numbers don’t lie.
- It is usually not a great idea because you think so, but because your target market said so.
- Don’t be afraid to recognize that it won’t work and change direction or drop it completely. The right idea might be the next one.
- Getting funded does not mean success!
- Pitch less like a presentation, more like a story!
- THIS DECK IS NOT EVERYTHING. It is a good starting point, but might not cover everything
- Don’t make the deck too long
- Google all the terms anyway to know more about each one
Tata ended the presentation with a parting note, “As long as there is that fire in your heart, you will find a way.”