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  • Writer's pictureJarratt Ong

#2 Your Pitch and Deck Structure

Updated: May 30, 2022

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck structure tips

In order to capture the attention of the inventors following your investment story, your deck needs to be able to guide them along through an easy to follow structure. Here is what we feel could be a good starting point for you to structure a pitch deck that works for you and is able to help you clinch that perfect opportunity to build the sustainable cities and communities and achieve your SDGs goals.

This is a three part series that will help you achieve your best for Demo Day. After learning about your investment story, we invite you to fine tune your pitch and deck structure, and ultimately answer what your business growth stage is. Our supplementary posts are the Theory of Change helps you convince investors on the essence of your startup's existence, and a look at some examples with our 2020 Virtual Demo Day!

Make no hitches with your pitches:
SDG sustainability startup pitch deck structure tips

This is basically the rough outline of the pitch structure.

Even though there are quite a lot to go through, if you're able to bring these points across in a clear and concise manner,

it shows people that you have synthesized and you really understand what the essence of what your start-up is, that you're able to put it across confidently.

While you're designing your pitch deck, try to avoid adding more and more details to show how complex or how great your product is or your business model is.

  • Everyone knows that doing a startup is difficult and everyone knows that there are a lot of complexities to implementing for example a business model.

That is not the point of the pitch. The pitch is to basically show them clearly what exactly your solution can do.

What is the value and also how you want to generate your revenue and impact?

A tip is to write all these features on a piece of paper first and then condense them in a clear and concise manner, and then put them into the pitch deck.

PS. Even though the points are listed down in this fashion, feel free to mix up according to your own startup and your own narrative. (If you feel that you want to talk about the problem first. Feel free to do so)

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck overview structure tips

Overview of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

The overview needs to be short, clear, and concise.

These three are some of the possible angles you can take.

  • What problem does it disrupt and why? This is especially true for the innovation. What is the market, what is the problem that you're disrupting and why is it an important one to disrupt?

  • For those looking at the marketplace: What do you sell and to whom? (product and who is the target audience)

  • For underserved or impact market: What is the impact and what is the mission?

For your overview,

  • Try to keep it to one line. It is just the tagline on your slide.

  • And you shouldn't spend more than 30 seconds explaining what you're doing, because the longer you spend, the more unsure you could look to the investors and the more they could start to switch off since it is the first thing that basically you're telling the investors.

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck problem structure tips

Problem areas of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

You need to demonstrate what is the pain point like.

The following are to inspire you to choose a certain angle, you do not need list down everything.

The problem is not a paragraph and should be a sentence.

The problem can also be constructed as a need to someone:

  • Let's say that a particular customer needs this because this service is currently lacking.

  • The need itself is a problem, and you can elaborate a bit further on that, on why your solution solves that need.

If you are able to do so, provide some statistics. Or if you're going with the story angle, provide some pictures to really help people empathize with this problem:

  • It is important to do especially if you're talking to investors, they might not be on the ground.

  • They might not have an understanding of what exactly is the issue.

  • If you have a personal story that relates to what you're doing, that is also very useful because it convinces the investor that "hey, this person has experienced this problem" so there is a motivation for where the solution is coming from.

It is important to be extremely clear with this.

  • If you're not able to convince the investors and make them look up and say that

  • "okay, what this person is doing is addressing an important need, addressing something that others have not addressed or is doing something, or is looking at basically pain point that a lot of others are trying to do, in my opinion, they may not be doing it quite well"

  • These are things you need to get across to the investor, and you only can do that if you really understand your problem that you are solving. And also actually putting it across during the pitch itself.

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck market and demand structure tips

Market and Demand of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

You will also need to go through the market and the demand and you need to demonstrate what is the market potential for growth.

Our recommendation would be for you to focus on the total addressable market and also your serviceable addressable market, if it is applicable, you don't have to include this in your slides, but most often investors like to ask what is your customer acquisition costs? This is something you need to have at the back of your mind.

This is an important slide because you're showing that "hey, the problem that I'm addressing, it is not for one or two people in the world." We are not solving problems for Rihanna who feels like like she's the only girl in the world.

There are actually millions of people who lack this. And that is why my solution will be a great thing. And there is a potential for my solution.
SDG sustainability startup pitch deck solution structure tips

Solution aspect of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

Give a brief description of your solution. This has to be very simple.

We would rather you focus on why this solution is exciting and what the value created from this solution is rather than how exactly does your solution work:

  • Maybe engineers or more technical people will be more interested in how it works

  • But investors don't really care the specifics of how your innovation works during the pitch, if they do, they will ask you in person, so save it for that.

  • Use your limited time to focus on what is the essence of your solution and what makes it so special that they should get excited about!

And for those looking at the investment stories for impact at scale, and unaddressed needs:

  • Focus on the impact created by the solution rather than focusing on how much money you're generating and so on.

  • The only exception to when you should focus on how the solution works is when talking about how it works is your Unique Selling Point (USP).

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck traction structure tips

Showing traction in your Sustainability Pitch Deck

If you're not able to show traction, people won't have confidence in you.

Show them the evidence that you can grow and what you have done to prove that it works.

This can be either through specific partnerships you have gotten or ones you are currently in discussion with.

Choose the ones that would convey that you have been working on this for quite a while and there is a potential for growth in your area.

It is important to be as comprehensive as possible when highlighting these tractions.

For those focusing on the third and fourth impact story:

  • Focus on the business and impact metrics

  • What is your theory of change in your impact?

  • What are some outcomes that you have achieved?

  • What are some business KPIs?

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck financials business model structure tips

Financials / Business Model of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

How do you make money?

Basically, this is your business model, and this is why we have done your business model canvas, and so on.

Investors will focus on the bottom-line.

SDG sustainability startup pitch investment story

For the first and second impact stories, you have to focus on competitors.

For the third and fourth, you have to focus on your impact model and you have to basically show how does the solution drive impact and what are the KPIs?

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck competitors structure tips

For 1 and 2 Investment stories: Competitors analysis in your Sustainability Pitch Deck

Competitors is a slide that perhaps not all of you might need to have, depending on which investment story you are going for.

However, those in the first two areas, you do need to have this side because you're saying that you're doing an innovation play, you're disrupting an industry, or you have a very large market.

And if there's a very large market, there are probably people who are already in this market.

You need to understand who your competitors are and how are you doing things better or how is your approach different that will help you capture the market?

PS. Please do not put down your competition, just put yourself up or just differentiate yourself.

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck impact model structure tips

For 3 and 4 Investment stories: Impact Model of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

How to determine these KPIs is covered in your Theory of Change Knowledge Huddle, do check it out!

This is optional for investment stories 1 and 2 (High Growth and Innovation Play).

While it is optional, if you have a convincing enough impact model or impact angle, you should put it there as it is something that is a bonus that investors can look out for.

If your team started this believing in the impact and, somehow turned into a High Growth and Innovation Play then you should keep to your team's belief and also put the impact front and center.

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck team structure tips

Team page of your Sustainability Pitch Deck

The team page is very simple.

Put your faces, logos, and some skills that basically help answer the question of: do I trust these people to continue this if I invest in them?

  • If you're able to achieve that then great.

  • If you think your team is lacking, put some advisers with experience or mentors who are well-known to help establish credibility and reliability.

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck call to action structure tips

Ask / Call to Action to end off your Sustainability Pitch Deck

Communicate how much capital you're raising and what will they be use for.

There are different areas that the capital can be used, for example:

  • For growth, it could be for marketing knowledge to understand your metrics, understanding your expansion etc.

  • Or it could be for basic things such as equipment etc. for testing

Put a pie chart or something that gives a percentage breakdown of what is your expected spending from the funds you're getting.

You do not have to be super accurate, just give a reasonable and educated number.


Don't forget!

SDG sustainability startup pitch deck passion structure tips

The most important thing here is to demonstrate your passion.

  • You need to convey to people why are you so motivated to solve this.

  • Do you have a personal story?

  • Have you experienced this problem yourself or are you skilled in a certain way that you really want to employ your skills in this area?

  • And why should investors trust you?



SDG sustainability startup pitch deck checklist structure tips

Keep your slides simple, keep them visual, and provide evidences of traction wherever possible!

Inaugural Microsoft Singapore's GreenTech Challenge (2021):

In partnership with Creitive, the Microsoft Innovation Center for Sustainability Solutions (MICSS) program harnesses the power of technology to enable corporate clients and solution providers to work together on creating a more sustainable future.

Microsoft and Creitive are teaming up to provide their support, Microsoft Cloud Platform services, and business connections to early to mid-stage startups that are solving environmental or social challenges within the SG Green environmental areas.

Pitch your sustainability solution and grow your business with up to $350,000 in benefits and with amazing partners

We also have a community huddle happening on November 18 featuring ecosystem players from Tarun Shiroley from Microsoft, Stanislav Borisov from EcoLabs, and Rachel Fleishman from Carbonless Asia who are ready to walk you through the program.

Here are some links that may just help give you an extra edge based on our three years of incubating impact-making sustainability startups in Southeast Asia.

Sustainable cities and communities collaboration a click away.

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