Crafting a clear and convincing pitch is hard – something we briefly discussed in our Guide to Pitching Tech Startups. To demonstrate how a pitch deck can look like, this post goes over the pitch deck of one of our ventures, Weeve and analyses their rights and wrongs to look at concrete elements you can work on.
There is no one-size-fits-all kind of pitch
Remember that there is no pitch that does it all. Your pitch deck always depends upon the stage your project is currently in and who the deck is intended for ie. the target audience, the stakeholders involved, etc.
It is also important to take into consideration that how a pitch will be used also impacts on its content. A pitch deck sent by itself needs to be self explanatory so it will probably have more text, while a pitch presented by an outspoken presenter might have more visual elements and be less reliant on text.
The pitch deck featured below belongs to Weeve, one of our later stage ventures that already reached a number of milestones. It is intended for an “industrial” audience and thus it is fair to assume that it is targeted as an introduction either for investors or corporate partners. Take a look below and dive into the analysis:
Diving into the pitch deck of NBT's venture, Weeve
Already from the beginning, the emphasis is drawn upon an industrial trend: the “Machine Economy”. Weeve chooses to give this “buzzword” a lot of weight as they dedicated one entire slide to it. They do so in order to highlight a term that is very relevant to their proposition.
It may not be something that everyone knows about, therefore it is good to give a definition to set the tone of the whole presentation and build a common ground for all. Moreover, it allows to close the knowledge gap between the audience and the presenter.
Discussing an essential term for the future of the industry allows for a smooth transition onto the third slide, the main challenge faced by the industry (and mostly likely the companies of audience members); most companies agree that “IoT should be embedded in the company strategy” (left) in order to harness the “Machine Economy” (right).
Here, Weeve displays the challenge as an industrial “demand.” Doing so allows to put the audience on the same page as the speaker and allows for a transition to the solution Weeve offers.
Moving on to the fourth slide, in a clear response to the challenge slide, Weeve now confidently shares the company's mission, “to enable pioneering companies to securely extract new value from an increasingly connected Machine Economy.” This lets them clearly state what they have to offer.
Throughout the first slides – in fact the most important ones of a pitch deck – Weeve follows a clear structure in order to draw the audience in: introduction, trend (technological forecast), industry challenge (problem) and company mission (solution).
Also, purely from a visual perspective, after the first four slides, the personality of Weeve as a company becomes clear (one of the key tips given in our Guide): they operate in the industrial “space” and offer a technical solution to help companies transition into the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The heart of the pitch deck
The fifth slide emphasises three key points and makes for a clean slide on the technologies of the future. Just like with the machine economy, these technologies are what creates the Industry 4.0 (that is mentioned in the mission slide). It is bringing a buzzword to real concrete terms of what it actually is and doing so brings people back from the theoretical to the practical.
The sixth slide gets down to business: it looks at the value proposition of Weeve. They clearly disclose their value through the benefits for the user and not the features. Remember, you always want to emphasize benefits over features first. Features also have their moment to shine (as we will find out later) but, as a way to convince people, benefits are more persuasive.
In Weeve’s case this is particularly necessary: the solution they are offering is highly technical, and thus convincing through benefits is key. Just as they did, make your benefits crystal clear to the audience.
Unlike on the other slides, they chose not to use a picture as they seek to draw emphasis on four specific points, here the value propositions. Similarly to the fifth slide, doing so allows for much more clarity. A minor critique though is the colour choice of the text on the right box, using white as a typo color on a light blue background is visually hard to see.
Structurally, the seventh slide of the pitch deck is quite loaded with 8 different elements distributed across the slide. Slide 7 is at the core of the pitch deck as it explains the six features of the Weeve platform in formal terms. Even though these are quite technical, a short paragraph allows for a brief explanation as to what these entail and allow to do.
Visually, on the first notice the slide feels “full.” In general, try to avoid overloading slides with information as it draws away from the attention of the speaker (or it overloads the reader with information and causes him/her to lose attention).
For more clarity in such an important part of the pitch, a recommendation would be dividing this slide into two: (1) an overview of the platform and its description, and (2) the 6 features of the platform.
Slide 8 serves as a demonstrative slide to briefly explain use cases of the Weeve solution. It is fair to assume that the choice to not disclose a specific use case is so that the presenter can flexibly change what he/she will say, targeted to appeal to the desired audience. This is a very smart decision as it provides some leeway to improvise and adapt according to the moment’s needs.
Slide 9 of Weeve’s pitch deck briefly looks at their ecosystem partners – a smart technique to show how connected your business is to key players, such as in this case, Fraunhofer FOKUS and Ocean Protocol. Why is showcasing your partners important? It builds a reputation, and signals validation from other respected entities other than yourself.
Before closing, Weeve adds a very powerful slide where they go in depth with one of their active use-cases. By showcasing a concrete example, they also prove that they have more than just an “idea” but instead have a tangible and functioning product used by a legitimate enterprise.
This slide also allows them to close the loop of the story they sought to tell: Weeve enables pioneering companies to securely extract new value from an increasingly connected “Machine Economy” (their mission).
If in your case you don’t have an actual functional use case, you could still replace this by showcasing an actual possible implementation in detail, to show the feasibility of your idea or project. The idea is to show whatever you are pitching in the most concrete terms you possibly can.
Finally, the pitch deck ends with a closing slide were contact information is given and a potential Q&A can take place. One can also consider putting the name of one specific person than an info email, which would allow for personal proximity.
There is no final pitch deck
Based on a clearly defined target audience, Weeve’s pitch conveys a clear message wrapped into a visually appealing deck. As we’ve stated before, keep in mind though that there is no one-size-fits-all kind of pitch. Your pitch deck is never done, and will evolve with your company, its developments and achievements, so be ready to keep working on it, and make sure to always collect feedback from your audience.
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