One of the tools most needed in the very early stages of developing an idea or invention is a “pitch” deck. The pitch deck is a brief presentation that explains your business plan and helps to sell your idea to your audience. It is created for business people that want to learn more about your idea so it is important to keep it to layman’s term and not get overly technical. The pitch deck can be used to explain your business model and potential for success to investors, customers and partners. Here at the University, the pitch deck is essential when participating in funding opportunities such as competitions and requests for proposals. The key sections of a pitch deck include:
- Explaining the problem you are solving
- Who you are solving a problem for – your target audience
- The size of the potential market
- How your solution solves the problem
- How your solution is better than the competition (and showing you understand the competition)
- The stage of development and intellectual property potential
- Your financial model (how will you make money)
- Your next steps and timeline
Building a Financial Model
If you have a potential investor’s interest, one important next step is building a financial model with well documented assumptions and the flexibility to support sensitivity analysis on those assumptions. So if the investor doesn’t agree with your assumptions you are in a position to modify them easily and show the impact on your business model. If it has very little effect, then the investor’s uneasiness is quickly dispelled. If not, the inconsistency between their assumptions and yours may develop into an end to their interest in learning more.
Templates and software for building financial models of varying complexity abound. A good place to start is with one of our entrepreneur’s in residence. Also, by going through one of the Innovation Institute programs such as First Gear or the Pitt Ventures Student Challenge or other competitions, your business mentor will help guide you through the development of your financial model.