How do you describe a technology platform in a pitch deck? What’s the best way to describe your tech startup when fundraising?
Technology platforms have been among some of the biggest startup successes. They have raised huge amounts of capital. They can also be more complex to explain and to raise funding for.
Understanding the steps in capitalizing and financing a technology platform is crucial to the success of a venture like this. As is being able to clearly and simply convey your message, and to sell great investors on partnering with you.
So, how do you best describe a technology platform in a pitch deck when raising funding for your startup?
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Fundraising For Technology Platforms
True startups that aim to grow fast and scale big require financing. It is a critical need that never really goes away.
From launching to scaling to expanding, to positioning and finding an exit, funding needs never seem to fade.
This can be even more pressing for founders who are working on building technology platforms.
Technology platforms can require a lot of infrastructure to be built in order to work. That can require a lot of people, direct capital investment, and time, before it works, and can produce revenues and profits.
It can help to have partner customers, as well as to build in stages, with a minimum viable product or MVP. Something to build on, and raise money on, as you prove what you can do, and its value.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Plan these milestones as you work through your pre-seed, Seed, Series A, B, C, later rounds, and exit.
You may start with self-funding or friends and family, then angels, VCs, and more.
Keep in mind that in fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Pitching Technology Platforms
You are unlikely to raise hundreds of millions of dollars right out of the gate to carry your development all the way through completion, scaling, and to turning a profit.
While some have raised huge amounts even before they start, it is more likely you will run the gamut through a variety of rounds of fundraising.
Start small, and go big as you build on your milestones, validation, and proof of concept, de-risk it for investors, find product market fit, and nail the unit economics and systems which will enable you to scale.
There are also more and more technology platforms being pitched that are being worked on. It’s best to find and have a lot of clarity on your niche. What’s different about yours? You may have a long product roadmap and a large vision, but what’s your MVP? Where will you laser focus on starting out?
It is also vital to find and hone in on pitching the right investors for your particular startup. Who are the best positioned to help you get to the next level? Who will add the most value to the company now and throughout the journey? Which investors is this most likely to resonate with? Some investors like technology platforms, while others may have different preferences. Which individuals do you think you can actually work with for the next 10 years until you find an exit?
Once you’ve got real clarity on these factors and have a short list of the investors you plan to pitch to; you can begin creating your presentation. Next, you’ll work on how to describe a technology platform in a pitch deck to your investors.
Describing Your Technology Platform In A Pitch Deck
Each slide offers the opportunity to present, position, and describe your technology platform. As well as to add value, and convert investors.
Here’s how to do that through this 16-slide pitch deck template.
1. Cover Slide
This is your first impression. It will make all the difference in positioning your deck and pitch in the minds of potential investors.
Remember that, on average, you’ll have less than three minutes of an investor’s attention on your pitch deck. They get so many bad ones that they are looking for a reason to justify tossing yours into the trash folder with the others. So, you must use each slide to secure their attention, prove you are worth listening to, and keep their interest up, as you move them through to your closing.
You can’t make this slide complicated. Though you can hook them with your company name and tagline. As well as having a design that is professional and psychologically aligns your startup with other successful companies and investments in their minds.
2. Problem Slide
One of the drawbacks of technology platforms, when it comes to pitching and pitch decks, in particular, is that they can be complex, and multifaceted. That is the opposite of what you want in a pitch deck. They are at odds.
To be effective, a pitch deck must be clean, simple, and narrowly focused.
Platforms and marketplaces are complex by nature. They often have a chicken and egg issue of needing multiple sides to work, as well as to reach a certain level of scale in order to function for everyone.
On this slide, stay focused on the one main problem that you are focused on. All the rest can be explained in the Q&A portion of your presentation, and in other materials on your website or virtual data room, as well as in investor meetings.
Try to sum up your problem in one sentence, or a few bullet points. Be crystal clear on this. Be ready to explain how you discovered it, explored it, and proved it.
3. Solution Slide
Here you will provide the big-picture idea of your solution.
What is the overarching idea of your technology platform? Describe it in one short paragraph of three sentences or less. Or one headline, and three to five bullet points at the most.
4. Market Slide
The market slide is one of the most important to investors. Be sure that you are clear about which market you are in.
As a platform, this enables you to zoom out to incorporate the size of all the different apps or technologies, and products that may branch out of your core solution.
At the same time, you need to prove to investors that you can laser focus too. They also want to be sure that you can really make the most of their money by honing in on a segment of the market to start with. Versus spreading yourself too thin.
5. Competition Slide
Technology platforms can be a little unique when it comes to competition. This can give you more leeway to leverage the optimal competitors to position your company as a great investment. Again, it may be best to zoom out and go big.
You may include direct and indirect competitors. Those that have also raised large rounds at your stage of business, and those that may end up being natural acquirers of your startup.
Stick to using a visual here. Utilize logos of competitors and yours in order to strengthen your brand.
6. Advantage Slide
Now highlight your competitive advantage in this space.
Use a few bullet points or a graphic to show your unique, valuable, and protectable advantage over incumbents, similar competitors, and future competitors.
When you’re ready for more information about how to create a pitch deck, check out this video I have created. You’re sure to find it helpful.
7. Product Slide
Here is where you describe a technology platform in a pitch deck.
Utilize the best image you can to explain your platform, and how it is used. You may add a few bullet points on one side to break it down further.
Only if you have already spawned several successful products of note, with sales or significant user figures to back them up, will you want to dive into these subsectors of your business. Otherwise, you may just overcomplicate things and lose investors instead of carrying them through to the close.
8. Traction Slide
How much progress have you already made with your technology platform?
If you are seeking VC investment, or even to get into a credible startup accelerator, you will need to be able to show that you are growing fast.
While success isn’t a straight line, investors want to see rapid, compounding, and consistent traction.
9. Customers Slide
Who exactly are your customers?
What is your customer avatar? Are they individual developers? Or other businesses of a certain size, in a certain sector?
You can go even further by adding the interaction and engagement you’ve had with these customers so far. Have you signed highly valuable contracts with long-term customers? Have your customers enjoyed substantial success of their own by using your platform and technology?
What is your customer retention versus churn rates?
10. Business Model Slide
This may be one of your most important slides as a technology platform.
Use a few bullet points or a visual graphic to explain how your company works. How do you sell, make money, and complete the cycle?
Remember to keep it simple.
11. Financials Slides
If you have already been doing business, have been selling, and have existing financials to show, then you will use two slides here.
One is to show your current and historical financials. Then a second to show your financial projections and forecasts for the next one to three years.
If you are just starting out, then be sure to keep your forecasts simple. You do not want to be forecasting for many different apps and future technologies and products or services you plan to build, and their individual revenue streams.
You do not want to puzzle investors, bog them down in the math, or raise more questions and objections than necessary. The point of a pitch deck is to speed them through to taking the next step with excitement. They can always ask more questions and get into the specifics during the Q&Q portion of your presentation, in a follow-up meeting, or through your virtual data room.
12. The Ask Slide
Here is where you can display your ask. If you choose to, you may also include the terms you are offering. Though this can have its pros and cons.
You may include the logos of other investors already on your cap table or lead this round to add credibility and FOMO.
13. Use Of Funds Slide
How will you use the funds from this round to continue to build out your technology platform, grow your user base, increase sales and revenues, or become more profitable?
Just list the main categories you will apply these funds to.
14. Team Slide
Successful technology platforms that really scale and last are not easy to build. It is not just about the technology either. It is about being able to build a real business around it.
How is your team not only capable of building this and growing it, but the best team to bet their money on winning this space?
15. Advisors Slide
Who are the advisors that you’ve brought on board to help you build this company into an incredible success in the most efficient way?
16. Back Cover Slide
Use a strong call to action, and reiterate your contact information so that investors can take the next step in funding your technology platform.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.