4 Essential Elements a 10-slide Southeast Asian Pitch Deck Must Have

These are the building blocks of your presentation

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 07 Mar 2017

pitch deck

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Most start-up founders can agree that a winning pitch deck can be done in just 10 slides. Well-known investors like Guy Kawasaki and Dave McClure swear by this minimalist approach.

“Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal,” Kawasaki says in his blog.

In his talk at Presentation Camp SF, McClure advised that the first slide of the pitch deck must instantly catch the investor’s attention because they often don’t have much time. Therefore, the first slide must set a “Short, Simple, and Memorable” tone for the whole presentation.

Southeast Asian investors and start-up founders also agree with this minimalist approach. When asked about the four essential things a 10-slide pitch deck should contain, their answers are remarkably the same. Regardless of which stage the business is at, here are the things you shouldn’t miss in your next pitch:


1. The problem you are trying to solve

You have no business if you don’t have a problem you’re solving. And this is what investors will be looking at. Paul Rivera, founder of Kalibrr and one of the mentors at Kickstart Ventures has this advice for every budding entrepreneur out there:

“Don't start a start-up just to have a start-up — it is probably the most difficult thing you can choose to do. Start a start-up only if you deeply care and understand the problem you want to solve because when it gets tough, and it will, caring deeply about the problem you want to solve will allow you to persevere as you struggle to get your initial partners, customers, and investors.”


2. The solution you are proposing

Now that you have identified a real problem that needs to be solved, it’s time to show that your start-up has what it takes to be the solution everyone (or your niche) needs. Take your audience through the process. And since this is all about your product or service, having a demo ready or presenting your prototype will come in handy.

Says Diane Eustaquio, executive director of IdeaSpace, “If a live demo of a functional product is not available, a demo of the working prototype is acceptable.”

She adds, “Personally, I don’t think an idea should be pitched unless the team has done some validation runs.   There are millions of start-up ideas being pitched, but the number scales down when we talk about who can really execute the idea. Start-ups who are successful in marrying their demo seamlessly into their pitch inspire confidence on their ability to deliver the technology and solution. Audience also generally responds positively when they see and are able to tinker with an actual product or prototype.”


3. Market size and traction

Market size is the size of your opportunity. Describe your niche and its potential for your start-up’s growth. Why is it the best target for your product? Discuss how current solutions are doing with the target market. How can your product positively disrupt and innovate with this market?

If you already have numbers on how your product or service is doing —sales or number of active users — that is even better because you can present your traction together with your market size.

“Traction shows that the company has actually built something, brought it to market, and has, to some extent, proven the thesis underlying their value proposition. They've executed on their vision, which separates entrepreneurs from people who just have an idea,” says Justin Hall, principal at Golden Gate Ventures.

For Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, COO and co-founder of Malaysia-based CatchThatBus, the numbers in the slide must always speak for themselves. “As long as the numbers speak for themselves, and I can confidently defend them, I'm always reassured when presenting my deck. The numbers must be honest, and the logic and rationale behind them clear, and you, as the presenter, must know the backstory behind each figure presented on your slides. The easiest thing to derail a presentation or the idea is to poke holes in the numbers, but I believe they are also the single greatest asset to giving credibility to your deck, your business, and yourself, in a pitch,” he says.


4. The team behind it

A brilliant idea will remain just an idea if there’s no one who can execute it well. A start-up with a promising product will not thrive if not for a great team.

As Hall puts it, “An A-team can fix a B-grade idea; a B-team will not execute well even with an A-grade idea.”

For Eustaquio, it is essential to show proof of your high executional capability through previous relevant work experiences, strong network affiliations, and past successes or failures as entrepreneurs when describing your team. “You want to affirm your audience that you’re the best team to execute your big idea,” she says.

For these Southeast Asian entrepreneurs and investors, the four essential things every pitch deck should contain are problem, solution, market size and traction, and the team.

“If all four of those slides are stellar, you don't even have to go beyond that,” Hall says.

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