05 July 2024

+1000 pitch decks reviewed; here are nine things to include

Since DTU Science Park launched the first season of the Danish Tech Challenge in 2014, we have reviewed numerous startups’ pitch decks. We understand the appeal of our growth programs and want to help you succeed. This article is designed to guide you through the application process and increase your chances of being selected for one of our esteemed growth programs.

A pitch deck is something that you must include in all our programs. A pitch deck might be the first glance that our team gets of you. And that is why it can be crucial that you have a well-put-together pitch deck.  

However, the first step is to find the program that suits you! We have a few; hopefully, one will fit your startup. Read more about the programs below:  

When you have found the program that suits your startup, the next step is to write your application and the pitch deck that comes with it. Here is some advice from two of our most experienced program managers, Thomas Hebo Sparring and Mads Rømer Svendsen, on what they look for when reviewing the applications for our different programs. They are both experienced program managers and have selected startups for GreenUP Accelerator, Danish Tech Challenge, MedTech Growth and Dual-use Growth.

Here are nine topics that our two most experienced program managers think you should include in your pitch deck:

1) Define the Problem You Are Solving  

A successful business starts with a clear problem. Identifying a problem also reveals a valuable opportunity. The problem/opportunity slide is crucial and should be featured at the beginning of your presentation.  

Begin by clearly outlining the problem you aim to solve. If your technology has multiple applications, highlight the most promising ones. Specifically, address the following points:  

  • The pain point you are addressing  
  • Who experiences this problem  
  • Why this problem is significant and worth solving 

When you frame the problem in a relatable way, you engage your audience’s empathy and make them understand its importance and the necessity of a solution—your solution.   

2) Present Your Solution and Technology  

Following the problem/opportunity slide, you want to transition seamlessly to presenting your solution. Explain why your solution is unique and how it effectively addresses your target customers’ problems, surpassing existing products.  

Be specific and use storytelling to highlight your solution’s benefits. Ensure a clear connection between the problem and your solution.  

Highlight the unique technology or “secret sauce” that sets your solution apart from the competition.  

If you have intellectual property (IP), this is the time to showcase it. If you don’t yet have IP, outline your plans and the steps you intend to take to secure it – if that is your plan.  

Make this slide visually engaging by, for example, including a photo of your product, preferably in context. This slide is also the perfect opportunity to share your vision and value proposition, further emphasizing your solution’s uniqueness and potential impact.  

3) Demonstrate Market Potential for Your Product  

After outlining the problem and presenting your solution, it’s essential to show that there is a viable market for your product. This slide should highlight the market opportunity by addressing the following:  

Who is your ideal customer?  

  • Clearly define your target market, including its characteristics, behaviours, and pain points.  
  • Mention how many customers you have engaged with so far. Consider including 2-3 testimonials demonstrating the benefits of your solution.  

What is your beachhead market?  

  • Define the market segment that includes your ideal customer.  
  • Explain why becoming the dominant player in this segment will enable you to scale and expand to other markets. 

What is the total market size?  

  • Specify the countries where you plan to sell your product and estimate the market share you expect to capture.  
  • Use factual data to support your estimates and avoid overestimating the reachable market share.  
  • Include metrics such as Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM).  
  • Identify any market trends that could enhance your market size in the coming years. Include these trends to show the growth potential. 

By clearly defining your market and supporting your claims with data and testimonials, you show us your product’s potential and opportunities.  

4) Analyze the Competitive Landscape  

In this slide, identify your main competitors and explain how your product or service is different – and better. In other words, define the key parameters that you compete on.  

Map out your competition in relation to the parameters you just defined. Regardless of the market you’re entering, every business faces competition in some shape or form. Even if you’re pioneering an entirely new market, potential customers will likely utilize alternative methods to address their needs. Therefore, be honest. If you are a lot better than your competition, you might be focusing on the wrong parameters or not being realistic.   

Use this slide to outline your place in the competitive landscape and highlight what sets you apart from your rivals and alternatives. Identify your critical advantages over the competition, or perhaps you have a unique factor that others lack.  
You could create a comparison chart or matrix that visually maps out your position in relation to your competitors on key parameters.  

5) Describe Your Business Model  

Next, you want to include a slide that explains your business or revenue model -essentially, how you plan to make money. This will show that you understand your market and have a clear path to profitability. Focus on the following critical elements:  

Revenue Streams  
Describe the different sources of revenue your company generates from its products or services. Use this slide to identify and explain each revenue stream, such as product sales, subscription fees, commissions, or other relevant sources. Explain how each revenue stream contributes to your business goals and long-term growth.  

Pricing Strategy  
Clearly define your pricing strategy, including the different pricing tiers and any discounts or promotions you plan to offer.  

We want to know how your business generates revenue and the path to profitability. A well-crafted business model slide demonstrates that you understand your market and have thought deeply about your company’s long-term growth potential.

6) Go-to-Market Strategy  

A solid go-to-market strategy outlines how you will introduce your product or service to your target audience and generate initial market traction.  

A sales and distribution model is essential, as it outlines how a company plans to reach its target audience and generate revenue. It demonstrates that you have a clear plan for driving customer adoption and revenue growth.  

In this slide, you outline how to sell your products to customers. It includes the channels where you plan to sell your products, such as direct sales, social media, search engine marketing, or perhaps through third-party distributors, as well as the pricing and promotion strategies used to drive sales. Be specific about your plan for each channel and how you will measure success.  

Specific Plans and Milestones  
List the specific milestones you aim to achieve and the timelines for reaching them. Also, include any partnerships or collaborations you plan to leverage to enhance your market entry and growth. And provide a detailed timeline for implementing your go-to-market strategy, highlighting the key phases and objectives.  


7) Demonstrate Traction and Timeline  

Use this slide to showcase your progress and outline your plans, clearly showing your business’s growth and potential. Highlight any customers, partnerships, or key milestones that you have achieved.  
Describe the milestones you have achieved. (funding, building prototype, building MVP, first sales, multiple sales etc.)  

Depending on your type of business, this slide could mention:  

  • Revenue: Show current revenue figures and growth trends.  
  • Margins: Include information about profit margins if available.  
  • Growth Rate: Display your growth percentage over time.  
  • Active Users/Customers: Provide numbers for active users or customers.  
  • Partnerships: Highlight any significant partnerships that add value to your business.  
  • Traffic: Show website or platform traffic if applicable. 

Future plans 
Also, we need to see a plan for your company. Include a timeline of your plan 2-3 years ahead. What relevant partnerships are you going to enter? When will you need to have more people on your team? When will you need to make investments, and so on?  


8) Financial Projections and Key Metrics (KPIs)  

We want to know how you plan to fund the next 2-3 years from this slide.   

Financial projections and key metrics are critical for any pitch deck for tech startups. These metrics demonstrate your understanding of the market, growth potential, and ability to manage finances effectively. A well-crafted financial projection and KPI slide show us and investors that you have a solid understanding of your financial position and how you plan to achieve your growth objectives.   

If you have sales – when will you reach breakeven?  

If you don’t have sales – will you bootstrap or raise investment? When and how much will you raise?  

When creating this slide, consider these elements:   

  • Revenue Projections: Clearly outline the revenue projections for the following years, including the assumptions and growth rates you are using. Explain how you plan to achieve your revenue goals and what factors may impact your projections. Explain your growth projections based on existing traction (if possible). 
  • Key Metrics (KPIs): Identify the key metrics you will track to measure your success. These may include customer acquisition costs, lifetime value, and gross margins. Be specific about what metrics you will track and how you plan to use them to drive growth. 
  • Risks and Assumptions: Be transparent about the risks and assumptions that underlie your financial projections. Explain what factors may impact your forecasts and how you plan to mitigate these risks. 

9) Present The Dream Team  

A brilliant idea requires the right team to bring it to life.  

This is the slide where you introduce the team! 

Introduce each team member, including their roles and relevant experience.  

Highlight how the team members complement each other with their skills and expertise, demonstrating a well-rounded team capable of driving the business forward.  

Indicate if team members are working part-time and explain their contributions.   

Show advisors and board members with relevant experience.  

Outline the competencies and profiles you want to add to the team. Explain why these additional skills are necessary for your business’s growth.