I was asked to mentor startups at DTAC Accelerate in Bangkok, to guide startups to successfully get on the path to raising their seed round. I put this presentation together in a few hours, presented it and then spent half an hour with each startup going through their decks in preparation for demo day.
I was told one team applied learnings to their deck immediately, pitched later the same day and won 2nd place at a global seed competition.
I have to say the quality was very high and the DTAC-A team (Krating!) supporting them have done a great job. The Thai have great visual capabilities and all the decks for demo day were quite beautiful.
My key takeaways of misconceptions spending time with each team preparing for demo day were:
- If you are doing a business model similar to one others have heard of, mention it! It is a lot easier to say “we are Google for Thailand” than it is to say “We are a search…..bs bs bs”.
- If you have a deep understanding on why foreign competitors have failed in Asian markets, and you understand the Thai consumer in depth, and are making specific localisations (Such as anime gamification) to make things work then share that! Your local knowledge is a USP
- Realise your 8 minute pitch at demo day is to get a meeting, if you run over time you have failed. You do NOT have to use your 8 minutes, if you can do it in 5 minutes great!
- The pitch needs to emphasis communicating high level information, covering the key points, to get investors to think ‘this is for me, I want to learn more’, not to give enough to get investment immediately
- Cut the number of details. You do not need to explain a complex process, investors assume you know how it works and will get into how it does, if they are actually interested. Complexity only complicates your pitch
- The ‘why’ is more important than ‘how’. The fact your product works doesn’t matter if there is not a real reason for users to love it. Ensure there is a deep ‘why’ your startup needs to exist
- The investment you are looking for needs to be linked to getting to the key milestones to raise the next round of funding, not an arbitrary time period. Work backwards from where you want to exit, back to your first round (Blog to come on this topic)
- For founders with poor English, they have to ensure the audience understands. Do whatever to ensure that happens. The CEO does not have to pitch (Though that is preferable)
- Steal from good pitch decks. There is nothing new under the sun. If someone has done a a pitch and you can find it (PitchEnvy.com) steal the good bits they have done! Look at the peers in your batch, see what they do well and copy and apply it
- Be clear about how you are going to get big! What marketing channels? Can you get your ‘suppliers’ to do marketing for you (Where they are major corporations for example)