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Neil Patel

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How to position the solution in a pitch deck for startup fundraising?

Every slide matters in your pitch deck. This is even truer as decks get shorter and more concise. Each slide can be worth millions of dollars. So, how do you get the solution right when pitching and presenting to potential investors in your startup?

Whether you are on your pre-seed round or Series C, the solution is clearly a very important part of your fundraising efforts. It’s really what you feel you are raising on and for. It’s often a large part of why you sacrificed to make the leap, started this company, and is now one of your main purposes in life. 

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    Getting this right is critical. Even if you are raising a tiny $1M angel round, the solution slide alone can be worth $100,000. $1M if you are raising $10M with a 10 slide deck, and so on. 

    So, how do you address the solution in a pitch deck well? How do you avoid the most common and costly?

    It’s All About The Solution

    Your startup and pitch deck outline is really all about your solution, right?

    While there are many other things that investors will look at, evaluate you on, and want to know. This business and fundraising campaign is really all about bringing your solution to life and scaling it. It’s your product that you want to put out into the world.

    The truth is (and experienced investors know this) that your product is probably going to change over time. It will probably change a lot. You have a lot of iterating to do to secure product-market fit and make it scalable. 

    You may have to completely pivot in response to the market. Your solution will have to evolve significantly over time as things change, if your business is going to last for the long term too. 

    Plus, you’ll probably be adding on more new solutions and features or upgrades and stand-alone products as well. 

    Still, if your solution doesn’t seem solid and attractive, then you aren’t going to get far with fundraising or customers. 

    Much of it relies on positioning your solution well. So, how do you do it? And, how to position the solution in a pitch deck for startup fundraising?

    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.

    One of, if not the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make is focusing so much time and effort on the solution. You want to have a good solution, but the problem is actually far more important.

    If you don’t have the problem right, the solution is irrelevant. The truth is that the odds of you significantly changing, pivoting and evolving your solution in the near future are very high. Investors know this. Even if you can’t see it.

    So, it is far more important to them that you are targeting the right problem. If you do that everything else can be managed. 

    In terms of the problem slide in your pitch deck, you need to keep it simple. A crystal clear problem that can be summed up in one sentence.

    You also want to show that you’ve proven the problem. That isn’t just a problem for you. That it is really a pain point for many people. Something that they are already trying to fix or are spending money to try to solve. Also that you have verified and have data to back that up. 

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    When it comes to presenting and pitching you can and should talk around this slide with your story. Explain how you encountered this problem, explored it, how big and painful it is. As well as why it is the perfect time to solve now, and how you and your audience are the right people to tackle it.  

    Positioning Starts With Your Cover Slide

    Your company name says what you do. That first impression will say a lot about your brand and value of your solution. The logo and design will tell them whether this is trying to be a luxury solution, discount solution or the hip and trendy option, and so on. 

    There may be many problems that your solution could solve. There may be many benefits and features. This isn’t the place for that. 

    Leave out all the tech speak and engineering details. You can always put more info on that together for your data room and to show in follow up meetings for those who are really interested. The last thing you want to do is to kill a great pitch and presentation by boring your investors to death or burning time until they have to take the next pitch instead of deciding to fund you. 

    It doesn’t matter how exciting and ground breaking this technology is to you as a high IQ technical founder. Most investors don’t need to know or want to know the deep specs. They want to be excited about the overall opportunity, while leaving those finer details to you.

    The Problem Slide

    The right solution has to match the problem. This slide is used to establish the what and the need, as well as the pain level, urgency, eagerness, and ability to take action to get their hands on a solution. It is your one chance, in just a few words to demonstrate your clarity on the problem and that you’ve verified it.

    It is vital that you just pick one problem.

    Your solution may have many positive side effects. After your MVP, your solution may solve several things at once, with additional benefits and cool features. Just, recognize that these are points to make another day, in another setting.

    What is the one simple problem that you are going to solve?

    Market Size

    Your market size slide is used to show how big and widespread this problem is. How many people are going to want this solution that you are creating and you are asking these investors to bet on funding? How much will this pool of customers grow over the next 1-10 years, and beyond?

    Competition Slides

    Between your competition slide, SWOT analysis, and competitive advantage slides, how many others are trying to solve this same problem? Show who they are, which can help verify the problem and demonstrate the commercial potential and risks and opportunities. 

    How are these others doing it? What are they doing well or not? Which may subconsciously hint at potential future exit plans. 

    What are your competitive advantages over them? What is unique about your solution in comparison? Most importantly, how to position the solution in a pitch deck for startup fundraising?

    What Is The Solution In A Pitch Deck?

    On your solution slide, very simply layout what is your solution to this problem exactly, in just a few words. What is this product that specifically solves this one problem and pain point? 

    When presenting your pitch deck online or in person, you can tell a story around this. One that personally resonates with your audience and that they can relate to.  Also, include images of how people will use it. 

    What has been the timeline of your startup and solution. You can cover everything from the time you invested in exploring the problem with customers upfront to building prototypes, to winning awards, previous fundraising rounds or grants received, initial prototypes and MVPs created, and how you’ve gone to market and have expanded.

    How Are You Positioning It For Sale?

    How are you pitching this solution to potential customers? Note that this may change over time with the world, economy, and marketplace. 

    Does it offer business cost savings they need to survive? Does it offer gains and better ROI so they can grow? Is it a must-have or luxury that will appeal to their ego? What does the pricing say about the positioning? 

    Looking for some additional tips on how to share information with investors? Take a look at this detailed video I have put together that you might find interesting.

    Show your traction. What progress have you made to proving your solution and product is the right one? One that is in demand, that people will pay real money for, and for which the unit economics can actually work.

    How much have you sold? How fast are you growing?

    Go Easy On The Features

    Your pitch deck and presentation is just as much a test of your ability to focus and keep it simple as it is about anything else. If you lose them with too many features and bullet points, they are going to be seriously worried about your ability to run a company, go to market, and get this done. 

    Remember, one problem, one solution. Features are frills, and this is a no-frills zone. Remember that when figuring how to position the solution in a pitch deck for startup fundraising?

    Business Model

    How will you sell your solution? The method of marketing and selling has a big impact on positioning. Is it congruent with your stated positioning? 

    You can imagine the creator of the Birkin bag would cringe and freak out and see the end of the world coming if their bags were being resold on Craigslist. 

    What does it cost to make and sell this solution? What is the profit and potential return for investors? Do the unit economics make sense? 

    The Team

    Does the team slide in your pitch deck show that you really have what it takes to develop and sell this solution? Do they impress with the confidence they can make the best solution of this type in the industry? 

    The team and team slide can be even more important than your solution. If you have the problem and team right, the solution will take care of itself over time. This is key when thinking about how to position the solution in a pitch deck.

    To get funded you have to convince investors that you have a founding team that is experienced in and is capable of solving this problem, and creating this proposed product and solution, as well as marketing it and building a truly profitable business of great scale around it. 

    Consider augmenting your founding team with additional cofounders or advisors to round this out if you are weak in this area.

    When presenting, even via Zoom, investors will like having more of this key team present as well. 

    The Fundraising Ask

    Here you reveal what stage your solution, product and company is at. What will the money be used for? Is it creating and building a solution and product that you haven’t proven yet? Or is it scaling something that you’ve already proven?

    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.

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    Neil Patel

    I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

    If you want me to help you with your fundraising, just book a call.

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