Joseph Flaherty, Director of Content & Community
There’s a tendency for startups to reuse a lot of their seed pitch deck when raising a Series A.
This is logical. The market, product, and team probably aren’t *that* different.
However, this strategy fails to showcase the startup’s most valuable asset:
The most attractive aspect of a startup raising a Series A typically isn’t a clever product concept or the brilliant discovery of an untapped market in and of themselves — it is the speed at which those things drive user/revenue growth.
The momentum is *the* message.
Most startups don’t have much momentum at the seed stage.
So when it arrives, this critically important information often gets tacked onto the end of an otherwise well-rehearsed pitch.
This is a big mistake.
Consider adding a “momentum” slide at the start of your pitch.
Think of a momentum slide like the “previously on…” recap montages that play at the beginning of serialized dramas.
The goal should be to set the stage for your startup by recapping the progress to date in an evocative, compelling, and succinct manner.
“When we started out two years ago, we saw a huge problem in [Market X] and believed [Product Y] could solve it. After relentless iteration and overcoming [Obstacle Z], we have $5M in net revenue. Now, let’s talk about our plan to 10X that, with your help…”
Ideally, you’ll be able to pepper this pitch with emotional hooks — maybe you started the business for some deeply personal reason?
The point is not to obfuscate the old news, but to avoid getting into debates about solved problems.
Focusing on momentum at the start of a pitch establishes 3 key facts:
🍍 The market is real, and bearing fruit
🎯 Your instincts are demonstrably good
🩹 You can handle adversity like a pro
This baseline puts the rest of the presentation in the best possible light.
Hopefully, by the time you are raising a Series A, the questions that consumed you at seed are answered. The team is executing, the product is shipping, the revenue is starting to flow.
Use a momentum slide to recap this success and direct the conversation forward.
In the rest of the pitch, you should still talk about the market, product, team, and other traditional topics, but they can now be framed as forward-looking opportunities:
🐳 How big can the company get?
🔥 By what means?
🏎️ And how fast?
By all means, keep the old slides in the appendix.
Be prepared to walk investors through the finer points of your market research or a deep dive on the product roadmap, if requested.
But ideally, your demonstrated progress diminishes the need for extensive review.
This advice might seem blindingly obvious, but I have the great fortune of seeing many decks where the company is “crushing it,” but they don’t disclose that fact until slide 12!
Assume the sale, squeeze the hero’s journey into 1.5 slides, and keep the momentum going!
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