March 2022 - Concrete Ventures

Month: March 2022

Month: March 2022

Pitch deck

A pitch deck is akin to a resume, but for your business. Your ultimate goal is not to get hired on the spot but rather to get an interview. Your goal with fundraising is similar – you won’t get funded based on your pitch deck alone, but it does get you that first meeting. 

As investors, we have seen all sorts of pitch decks, ranging from basic PowerPoints to professionally designed presentations. We’ve seen embedded videos, interactive presentations, and more. In this post and accompanying resource set, we want to break down what makes an effective pitch deck and help you get started on yours. 

“If you can’t tell the story of the company in five minutes then you’re either overthinking it or you haven’t simplified it down enough.” – Mike Vernal, Sequoia Capital

Pitch Deck Format for Early Stage Startups

Generally speaking, your early-stage pitch deck might have the following slides:

  • Logo & slogan
  • Problem + examples:
    • Using a story is a good way to explain the problem. See this example by Tinder.
    • You want to paint the picture that shows why you started the business in the first place. 
  • Solution + examples:
    • Walk through your product and the key features. 
    • Don’t be afraid to actually show readers your product. In fact, including screenshots or a link to a demo is one of the best ways to help readers to understand your solution. 
    • Unless your presenting to a technical audience – don’t spend too much time on the technical details. Those conversations are best reserved for meetings and product demos. 
  • Customer: 
    • Who exactly are you selling to? 
  • Market size
    • It’s important to be thoughtful here. Realistically, how much revenue is out there for you to capture?
    • Headline numbers from the big market research firms won’t cut it.
    • Jared Sleeper has a great article on how you can explain your TAM to investors.
  • Competition:
    • There is always competition. Be open and honest about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 
    • Then, showcase your competitive advantage and why you win. 
  • Traction:
    • Who have you already sold to?
    • What are the metrics around product usage? 
    • Are there any financial metrics worth mentioning?
    • Depending on what stage you are at, even major developmental milestones are good to include here. 
  • Business model:
  • Product Roadmap:
    • What are you looking to achieve in the next 12-18 months? 
  • Team:
    • Highlight the management team or key employees.
    • Answer the question: If there was an identical business somewhere in the world, why is this team the one that will make it work?
  • Funding ask & milestones:
    • If you don’t include this, it will probably be one of the first things an investor asks. 
    • Having your ask laid out openly helps investors understand if they are the right fit for your business. For example, you could be trying to raise too much money, or not enough money for them to be interested. It’s better to find out over email vs at the end of a meeting. 
    • Lastly, highlight the main milestones your looking to achieve with the funding round.
  • Thank you

DocSend has done the job of analyzing pitch decks and highlighting what investors tend to zero in on:

Pitch deck slide order and focus areas for successful pitches

Source: DocSend

Tips for Creating Your Pitch Deck

Some additional tips when creating your pitch deck:

  • Follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 PowerPoint rule. In other words, use no more than 10 slides, 20 minutes of talking, and no font smaller than 30 pts. Template based on Guy Kawasaki
  • If your pitch deck is a bit longer, make sure to switch up the design elements. After all, no one wants to see the same slide with different metrics 20 times in a row. See example by Uber. Template based on Uber.
  • Design is important! Above all, use colors and fonts that align with your brand. In addition, make sure fonts are legible, and don’t use clashing colors. Use the psychology behind colors to evoke certain emotions.
  • Choose background images carefully. Make sure they have a similar color palette, for instance. See example by Crema
  • If you want to keep your background simple but representative of your brand, you can use textures to accomplish that. See example template for an eco-friendly startup.
  • Show how your product will benefit all the stakeholders involved, instead of just one type of user. In other words, focus on the end user, investors, community as a whole, etc. See example by Foursquare
  • Create FOMO for your fundraise. 
  • Use data to support your claims. For example, use infographics and charts to give an easy overview of things like the market size, any product claims your making, or how much the problem is costing users.
  • If your product is technical in nature, explain what it is and how it works first, before talking about traction.
  • Last but not least, be realistic. If there are known challenges, name them and show that you’ve thought about how to tackle them.

Pitch Deck Examples

Below we included some different examples of pitch decks from companies you’ll likely recognize:

  • AirBnB
    • Cover or title slide
    • Problem
    • Solution
    • Market Validation
    • Market Size
    • Product
    • Business Model <<< KILLER SLIDE!
    • Market Adoption
    • Competition
    • Competitive Advantages
    • Team Slide
    • Press
    • Users Testimonials
  • Uber
    • Cover or title slide
    • Problem
    • Solution
    • How it Works
    • Key Differentiators
    • Operating Principles
    • Product
    • Use-cases
    • User Benefits
    • Initial Service Area
    • Technology
    • Demand Forecasting
    • Overall Market
    • Composition of Market
    • Target Cities
    • Looking Forward
    • Smartphone Sales Info
    • Future Optimizations
    • Go-To Market: Marketing Ideas
    • Traction: Progress to Date
  • Tesla
    • Introduction
    • Team
    • Growth
    • Collaborations
    • Specificity on a model
    • Model S Slide
    • Strategic assets
    • Final Slide
  • Canva
    • Publishing Era’s
    • Gap in the market
    • Why Canva?
    • Market Segments
    • User-Cases
    • Syndication
    • Funding
    • Experience
    • Milestones

Slide Deck Resources

How to Maximize Revenue Through Prospecting Leads

When we spoke with Jose Martins from HubSpot about prospecting, he emphasized that maximizing revenue through prospecting leads is all about having an effective process and doing your research upfront. 

So in this post, we will look at the key takeaways from that webinar by focusing on the four stages of a B2B sales process.

Utilizing the Four Stages of B2B Sales Processes in Prospecting Leads

Inbound Sales methodology - prospecting leads

Step 1: Identify your target audience.

In order to generate quality leads, you need to know precisely who your target audience is. Having this clarity will help you spend time and money wisely in connecting with the people that care about your product and your business.

Start by crafting your ideal buyer profile. Who is your ideal buyer? The more specific your picture is, the better. In order to create the most accurate picture possible of that ideal customer, utilize any data that you have collected via social media, questionnaires, or cold calls. What are their goals and what are the challenges that stand in the way of those goals?

After that, you want to create a positioning statement that incorporates all this data. In a few short sentences, you should be able to answer the questions. 

Try framing it something like this: “We help (who) that are (usual goals) but are frustrated because (usual challenges)… Does this happen to you?” Remember, your positioning statement is not about you, it’s about your leads. In other words, now is not the time to dive into your product, company, or current promotions. 

Step 2: Connect with your target audience.

Once you have your ideal buyer profile and your positioning statement, you can start connecting with your target audience to transform leads into qualified leads. Connect in authentic ways by matching your values with their values. In addition, create avenues for communication that allow you to get to know more about your leads.

Some great places to look for leads include:

  • Existing relationships
  • Company verticals
  • Social media
  • Target accounts
  • Current/past clients
  • Your community network and alumni

When you connect with leads, make sure you keep your goal in mind and make a call or send an email to establish an initial relationship. Schedule an exploratory call and understand the high-level challenges that they face.

When making those prospecting connections, there are a few common errors to avoid. Most important, drop the elevator pitch completely. Keep the conversation about the potential customer and don’t deep dive into how you can help them just yet. Remember, your goal is to qualify the lead and set a meeting; not close the deal.

The hardest part of the connect call is reaching out to strangers.

Therefore, you need to be prepared to be uncomfortable, or there will be no growth. As time goes on reaching out gets easier and better. Remember that the fear of connecting with prospects is all in your head and be prepared to override that fear. The most important thing to do is to put time on your calendar for prospecting. Make it part of your daily routine. Once it is routine, your fears will be gone and your communication will be more natural and authentic. However, this doesn’t happen overnight – only through practice. 

Be prepared to reach out more than once, you can be persistent without being annoying. For example, use a two-day follow-up technique and set a maximum of six to 10 calls or emails. Your CRM can help you keep an efficient prospecting cadence. Make use of task queues, filters, templates, and sequences to keep you organized and on schedule with prospecting. 

Step 3: Explore the needs of potential customers by asking “how can I help?”

This is a critical step where data and information about the real-life problems that your potential customers are facing come into serious play. By reaching out and asking “how can I help?” you position yourself as a business that might provide the solutions they are looking for.

Step 4: Be prepared to offer advice in the form of your product or service.

A lead becomes a customer when they see a clear match between their problem or their need and the solution that your business provides.

Research Is Vital for Successfully Prospecting Leads

Do your research, not only on your leads but on your industry and market. Look for signals a business is looking to solve the problem you solve. Likewise, find ways to differentiate your approach from cold callers. Transcend the solution, focus on the problem, and start with urgency from the get-go.

Prospecting checklist:

  • Define ideal buyer profile
  • Define sources of leads
  • Develop your connect call positioning statement
  • Establish a prospecting sequence
  • Define your research and start reaching out

Key takeaways

  1. It’s NEVER about you
  2. Focus on the problem
  3. Do your homework (research)
  4. Define a process
  5. Put it in your calendar!

For more details, watch the webinar here:

Mastering Your SaaS Pricing & Billing Strategy in 2022

You have built your product, found some customers, and now it’s time to make a sale. Product pricing is often something overlooked in SaaS, but pricing can have the biggest impact on your overall business.

The state of SaaS pricing – Some Quick Facts

Before we dive in, lets take a quick look at the state of SaaS pricing in general:

  1. 39% of SaaS companies spend 10 hours or less on their pricing strategy per year. 
  2. 80% of companies change their pricing at least once a year, with most changing it multiple times. 
  3. 98% of Saas companies earned positive results from making core changes to their pricing strategy. 

Let the first and last point really sink in – almost 100% of SaaS companies do better by making core changes to their pricing – but less than 39% spend more than 10 hours per year on their pricing strategy!

If you want to get the most out of your pricing strategy, it’s important to a) spend more time on it, and b) review it frequently. Reviewing your pricing strategy at least twice a year is a good start. It’s important to ensure you are optimizing your pricing, but also not annoying customers with constant changes. 

Different Types of pricing models

There are 5 different pricing models common among Saas startups: Flat rate, Usage based, Prepaid, Hybrid and Event-based. Let’s take a look at each one:

Flat Rate Pricing 

The Flat Rate model is the most common. It’s easy to set up, since you only need to define the recurring price and billing frequency. 

Flat rate pricing

Usage Based Pricing 

Usage-based pricing aligns monetization with how customers actually consume your products and services. You’re probably familiar with how cloud service providers charge, or even how your monthly utility providers bill you – all based on how much of the service you consume.

Usage based pricing

Nearly 39% of SaaS startups bill based on usage – and that number is growing. 

The Prepaid Model

The Prepaid pricing model gives the you revenue upfront, whether the customer uses the service or not. This provides more security for the merchant, since the consumer has already paid for the service, and it’s easier to use.

The prepaid model allows you to have a predictable revenue stream going forward and is about the closest thing you will get to billing customers for exactly what they use. 

Prepaid model

The Hybrid Pricing Model

The Hybrid model combines multiple billing models to create hybrid pricing to maximize revenue growth. For example, you can have a base rate plus a per transaction fee.

We are all farimlar with the 2.9% + $0.30 that payment providers charge us – this is a perfect example of two-part tariff pricing hybrid pricing.

Hybrid pricing model

Events-Based Billing

Last but not least, event-based billing is thought to be the next generation of billing for SaaS companies; and is all about linking value to price. In this model, a company only charges customers for specific actions taken, for example the number of videos watched, miles driven, messages sent, etc. This requires more work on the seller’s side, including advanced metered usage and billing.

Events based billing

Building blocks for your pricing model

There are several different building blocks that will determine which pricing model works best for your business. For example:

  1. Business model
  2. Your value proposition
  3. The total cost of your product
  4. Revenue optimization
  5. The competitive landscape

SaaS companies can have different business models; some are more low-touch (self-service purchases, and a low learning curve), while others are more high-touch (direct sales approach, usually B2B SaaS. These different models will affect your pricing model. Low-touch businesses usually offer a free trial and a lower price point, while high-touch businesses can start at a higher price point.

Customers care more about the value they receive as opposed to the price they pay, so your overall value proposition is central to how you determine the actual product price.

Another building block for your pricing model is the total cost of your product. This includes any fixed costs, variable costs and your profit margin. 

You can use optimization to seek your ultimate revenue and profit goals for different pricing segments and distributed levels of granularity. The goal is to have certain revenue and margin targets, which will influence your pricing strategy.

When deciding on a pricing model, it’s important to keep an eye on your competition. That doesn’t mean you should use competition-based pricing, which can be dangerous in the long run. Instead, differentiate yourself with value-based pricing.

Executing your pricing strategy through your billing ecosystem

It’s important to understand the difference between pricing and billing, and how the two can work together. Pricing is the monetization of your products, the market and customers’ perception for value. Billing is how you’re going to collect revenue. The engine of barter from your customers to your product.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred pricing strategy it’s time to find a billing ecosystem that lets you execute it. Make sure the billing system to choose has all capabilities that you might need for your pricing system, for example freemiums and trials, ease of setup and maintenance, billing frequencies, targeted promotions, integrations and efficient invoices.

Your billing suite should act as your Revenue Operations Generator

Your billing ecosystem should guide you and your customers through the funnel from beginning to end, starting at Customer Sign up and Consumption of product catalog, to Billing Dates, Line items generated, Invoice generated, Payments, and Dunning. All of these functions should support your ideal pricing strategy.


Don’t be like the 60% of SaaS companies that leave money on the table; take a value-based approach to your pricing strategy. Making your pricing and billing customer-centric will provide you a competitive edge in the bloated SaaS market. Fine tuning your pricing model and implementing a strong billing ecosystem is key to hyper-growth SaaS companies. 

Remember to start with your pricing model – which makes the most sense for your business? And more importantly, which pricing model makes the most sense for your customers?

Thinking about the building blocks for your pricing strategy ensures that you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. 

The tools that make up your billing ecosystem are critical to successfully monetizing your product. Make sure your tools are aligned with 1) Your pricing strategy, and 2) Your overall goals for monetization. 

Watch the full webinar presented by Chargify below for more details and Q&A