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Are you wondering how to present financials for a startup with no revenue?

Financials can be one of the most important parts of the pitch and presentation when out there fundraising for a startup. Though what if you don’t have any revenues yet? Can you still get funded? What numbers should you be showing? 

The Place Of Financials In A Pitch Deck

What place do financials have in a startup pitch deck? What are early stage startup investors expecting to see in your pitch? 

While early stage startups have been able to pitch and fundraising even without financials slides in the past, these are important pages. In fact, when you do include them, the financials slide is one of the top three most important slides in a pitch deck. It is the one that investors will by far spend the most time viewing. 

When you are trying to address how to present financials for a startup with no revenue, keep in mind the financials slide is also going to attract the most critique from investors. It is where they are likely to have the most questions. 

This slide reveals a lot about you and this ask. Firstly, it shows whether you really have a handle on your space and business in general. Does your financials slide show you get what customer acquisition costs are and what reasonable profit margins and growth rates are in this space.

Secondly, it shows what type of ROI potential investors can expect on their investment and whether it is a match for the timeline that they are working on.

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.

What Financials To Show In Your Startup Pitch Deck

As part of tackling how to present financials for a startup with no revenue the main purpose of financials is two fold. Firstly, to show financial health and condition for current startups that have already been operating. This shows your ability to use money wisely and profitably or not, and how desperate you are, as well as what your company is worth. 

The second purpose is to show what they can expect to achieve in ROI on this investment if they decide to fund you. 

Key to this second factor are financial data points for:

  • Gross revenues
  • Net income and cash flow
  • Profit margins
  • Rate of growth

This data shows investors how much money the company is making right now and is worth on a traditional valuation basis. 

It gives them a tool for benchmarking against other businesses in this space. Are you way off base and lying or dreaming? Or is there room for improvement and adding value? Or is your startup already outperforming big incumbents and other startups in your space?

These numbers should also give them a rough equation to calculate how much you can multiply their investment over a certain period of time. Between your profit margins and growth rate, they should be able to calculate their percentage and value of their investment over the next few years based on how much they invest and the percent of your company that they take as equity. 

Financials For Pre-Revenue Startups

It isn’t uncommon for early stage startups to have no revenues and this is important to consider when thinking about how to present financials for a startup with no revenue. Especially if you are still at the idea stage and are raising to build your prototype. It is still possible to raise capital. Though no-revenue startups can find fundraising more challenging during economic crises and downturns when investors are being more cautious. 

The financials you can still show may include:

  • Unit economics
  • User count
  • Profit margins

Most of your financials will all be forecasts and projections. You can provide a monthly forecast for each of the next 12 months. Then a three to five year annual forecast. Keep this simple, with just a few line items. Such as, sales volume in units, new customers, gross revenues and profit margins. Including a cash flow projection for the next 12 months also shows you have a good handle on your finances and can justify your ask. 

Other Metrics To Rely On

If you have no meaningful revenues and incoming cash, then you can weight your pitch to ride on other verifiable financial metrics. 

Market Size

As part of the market size, show just how big this opportunity is, and how much it is growing. If it is a multi-trillion dollar industry and you have a strong product market fit and marketing, then you don’t have to grab a ton of market share to make some good money and build a large business.

Customer Acquisition

Even if they aren’t paying yet, showing a large and growing number of users will say a lot about the potential of this business. How many users do you have already? What is their feedback? How strong are your user retention rates? How fast is your user count multiplying every week?

Your team can also be used to strengthen your pitch. What previous metrics have your founding team and advisors achieved in other ventures? What level of revenues or exits have they achieved in the past? This can be a great indicator of the future success and results of this business. 

Summary

Financials are incredibly important in startup fundraising. Your financials slide will be one of the most important in your pitch deck. Expect it to get the most attention from potential investors. Even with no revenues yet, you should be demonstrating your mastery of unit economics in your business, your market, and financial modeling to layout your cash flow and capital needs, as well as growth and return potential for you investors. Know the metrics you need to include and how to leverage authoritative data points to give investors confidence in your venture. 

Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are looking into how to present financials for a startup with no revenue.

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.

I cover how to present financials for a startup with no revenue in detail in the video below.

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS VIDEO:

Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to present financials for a startup with no revenue. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that Subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.

The financials are supercritical. When you’re raising money, it is without a doubt one of the things that the investor is going to zoom in on the most. In today’s video, we’re going to be walking you step-by-step to how to address it, how to tackle it and really do it on a positive note and come out strong. So with that being said, let’s get into it.

The financials always have a very important place in the pitch deck. Typically, you’re going to be putting them toward the end of the presentation. But, remember, there are studies that have determined that investors, on average, spend 2:41 reviewing a pitch deck.  

By the way, you can use the pitch deck template below, which founders are using all over the world to raise millions. But here’s the thing, out of those 2 minutes and 41 seconds that investors spend on every presentation, the one slide where they spend the most amount of time is the financials page. 

Here’s the thing: we don’t know where we’re going to be tomorrow because things change rapidly, and, obviously, you may not have revenue – your company does not have revenue today. But the investor wants to know how you’re going to be able to monetize tomorrow, in the future? That’s why it is very important to really give them an understanding that you’ve done your homework, that you have a good grasp on the numbers, and that you know when money would come in and money would go out. Having those numbers in place really makes a difference. 

Again, on the pitch deck, the last thing that you want is to just take a screenshot and just copy/paste it in your presentation. Be more diligent. Create a nice summarized version of that with a beautiful graph and very nicely designed, so that it is easier for them to digest because the investors don’t want to read; they don’t want to spend time; they want to skim through the presentation. For that reason, you want to make it stupid simple for them so that they’re able to get it right away.

When we’re talking about what financials to show, ultimately, this is like everything. There are going to be some investors that are going to expect that you show them up to three-year projections or maybe historicals. Then other people may want up to five years. Now, some of the things where you’re going to be putting an emphasis on are the following.

  • Gross revenues
  • Net income
  • Cash flow
  • Profit margins
  • Rate of growth

Those types of numbers are going to give them an understanding of how to benchmark you against other players in the market. Then, also, how they can potentially multiple the outcome with a potential investment either on the business or ultimately on their investment because they’re going to be doing their numbers to estimate what potential returns they can make out of investing in your business. For this, ultimately, you want to make it easier for them. You want to give it in a way in which they can digest it easily.

This is not unnormal or the type of thing that doesn’t happen. It happens all the time, startups that don’t have revenue during the early stages. Obviously, you’re not going to be focusing as much on the way that you would engineer those numbers if you were a little bit farther along on the execution of your business.

Some of the things that you can talk about are the following:

  • Unit economics
  • User count
  • Profit margins
  • Retention rates

Most of your numbers are going to be projections, so just keep it simple and go straight to the point.

There are other metrics that you can rely on when you are pitching investors, and perhaps you don’t have those revenue numbers. One of them is the market size – if the market is big enough, and investors want the market to be $1 billion-plus so that it justifies the risk that they’re encountering by investing in your business, and that needs to be big enough. And as they say, investors would prefer investing in a mediocre team or average team that is executing in a super-big market versus an amazing team that is executing in a very short market because the market is really going to be determining their returns that they get on the investments that they placed on you.

Now, the other thing that you could also talk about is the customer acquisition. You can talk about the cost. You can talk about the channels that you’re using, the distribution that you have access to. But this is another incentive to showcase to the investor that you know what you’re doing, that there is clear growth, and that there is a great future and a lot of possibilities if they were to invest in your business.

Financials are incredibly important. You ultimately want to nail it on the financials. Keep it simple and straight to the point. And always remember, if the investor is asking you for anything related to the financials, maybe in a meeting, and you’re not sure as to how to respond, don’t make it up. Just thank them for the question, and say, “If it’s okay, I will follow-up via email with that answer. And that’s pretty much it.

So, hit a Like on this video. Subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on any of the videos that we’re rolling out every week, and leave a comment and let me know what you’re up to nowadays. If you’re raising money, as well, shoot me an email at alejandro@pantheraadvisors.com. We love to help out. Thank you so much for watching.

 

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