Pitch Deck Pointers Part 6: The Competition Slide

Hugh Bickerstaff of Investible helps us tackle what investors want to see on the competition slide of your pitch deck.

About Pitch Deck Pointers

The pitch deck is an essential fundraising tool for startup founders trying to raise capital. That’s why the Innovation Bay Team is partnering with top Aussie VCs on the Pitch Deck Pointers series, a slide-by-slide analysis of what investors want to see in a pitch deck. If you’ve missed our previous slides see:

  1. The Intro Slide featuring Sian Priest of Innovation Bay
  2. The Problem Slide featuring Emily Close of AirTree Ventures
  3. The Solution Slide featuring Hannah Field of Tempus Partners
  4. The Market Slide featuring Alon Greenspan of Jelix Ventures
  5. The Unfair Advantage Slide featuring Benjamin Chong of Right Click Capital

Taking on the Competition Slide is Hugh Bickerstaff, Chief Investment Officer at Investible, an early-stage, founder-focused investment firm based in Sydney. Hugh will reveal the purpose of the competition slide, common mistakes he sees, and his top pitch tips for founders. Let’s get to know Hugh.

Meet the VC: Hugh Bickerstaff of Investible

I’m Hugh Bickerstaff, the Global Chief Investment Officer for Investible. I spend my days meeting Early Stage Investors, VCs, ecosystem partners and the best founders across the world. We are building the most active seed to series A investor on a global basis.

The Competition Slide

The purpose of the competition slide and why it’s important to an investor

The competition slide is important to investors as typically, they want to determine whether the market is too crowded and that you can sufficiently differentiate your company. They also might be looking to identify whether there are better-funded companies that are in a position to gain a significant share of the market.

Your competition slide also allows investors to better understand how you are positioning yourself in the market and your awareness of where you sit in relation to your competition. It may give investors some additional insight into potential M&A / trade sale opportunities or targets as well as precedents on the fundraising or exit valuations that may be achievable. More mature competitors may also provide a sanity check on key metrics in your assumptions, financial models etc. –HB

Common mistakes made on this slide

The most common mistake is doing insufficient research on your competitors. Often, founders say to me that they have no competitors or fail to show a good understanding of how they will protect and differentiate their business from the competition.

Another mistake is when founders are only aware of a few local competitors and fail to show they have thought about additional competitors that may come into play if you scale the business internationally or into adjacent product areas. Researching and knowing about any large overseas competitors is crucial. If you’re copying their model, it’s known as a ‘fast follow’. You can likely talk about their traction and/or amounts they have raised or their latest valuations to help spark comparisons to your company. You also need to understand if they are likely to expand into your country and take the early momentum from under you.

Lastly, solid, up-to-date research and industry knowledge creates opportunities to answer investor questions with confidence, demonstrating your grasp of the industry, technology or domain which you are operating. –HB

Top pitch tips for founders

  1. You are effectively telling a story and also matching that story to the goals and aspirations of your investors.
  2. Be prepared: Take some time to research who you are pitching to (individuals and organisations). What has been their personal journeys? What other investments have they made? Why did they invest? What did they like about those businesses or founders?
  3. Make sure you understand the logistics of the venue and meeting. What tech /cables are available? What do you need to bring? What is your backup plan? How long do you have to speak? How long is available for questions? Have you prepared some great questions for them?
  4. You need to save some time to utilise the meeting to understand if they are the right investor for you and what value they can add above capital. Ask them to give some examples of where they have added significant value to one of their investee companies. Ask for an introduction to a couple of their portfolio companies so that you can speak to the founders.
  5. Be clear about your fundraising goals and timeframes and make sure their process can align with your timetable. Also, ask to fully understand all the steps in their investment process as these can vary significantly between investors. –HB

Next up:

For more fundraising insights, follow along with our podcast Open the Pod Bay Doors. We regularly interview investors and founders from the Aussie tech landscape.

DisclaimerAt the end of the day, this series is just a guide and should not be taken as gospel. Just as every business is different, every slide deck should be different. While the general order and number of slides we’ll use in the series is a good jumping-off point, perhaps a few more or fewer slides or a completely different sequence would better fit your company’s story.