Over the past four years, I have been working with many Startup Accelerators and incubators mostly helping entrepreneurs and startup founders with their pitchdeck.

Most of these entrepreneurs have smart ideas, solutions, and good experience in their sector. Many are tackling serious problems, offering innovative solutions that leave you thinking why hasn’t this been done before? Many of them are university graduates with years of experience in the industry. Others simply have worked in the industry for so long that they know more than all the other theoretical experts in the field.

Yet most of these early-stage startups will fail to see the light of day. They will struggle to get their message across, let alone get any meaningful seed or series A funding.

If you search the internet there are plenty of reasons why startups fail. I am not including those startups here.

I am tackling startups that have a good product-market fit, plausible metrics, motivated teams, revenue, and… … and yet they fail to close their funding round.

Are you one of them? Do you have a good product-market fit, a motivated team, plausible metrics, a big enough market, etc, etc? And yet, you are failing to attract investors.

Here are some of the top problems I come across time after time, pitch deck after pitch deck.

Number 1. The missing prince.

> Often the team gets a tiny mention and sometimes they are even missed out. The team is the first and foremost important part of your pitchdeck. Yet in most pitchdecks, I fail to see the: Why this team, Why this Founder, What makes him/her/them so special and the right people for this project.

Number 2. Cinderella, her sisters, and all the girls in the village.

> What I often see next is the product page is a plethora of services. You offer everything all the competitors do and everything you still haven’t built but wish to build. You have nothing unique per se, but the only thing you think that makes you unique is that you have put all the services together.

Number 3. No dragons and witches to fight!

> Well this goes hand in hand with your product description. You have already given me your big vision. Your list of everything it does. You basically do everything. You have every tick in every box, while the competitors out there only have one or two tick boxes here and there.

The competitors meanwhile are making millions and you haven’t even got two paying clients.

Number 4. What about the king’s coffers

> You have explained everything about the product in minute detail, but the investor is not necessarily a client. Of course, they may become a client, and of course, they have to understand your product, but the investor is more interested in seeing how the product will earn him more money. Talk more about how you will sell it, the marketing, the product price, early growth, sales channel, your contacts, go to market strategy. I am not here to fill your pockets, I am here to earn a good Return on my Investment from your startup.

Number 5. The Wizzard of fizz & oz.

> Probably the most difficult part. We all need a good mentor and we all need good advisors. People who can help us along this path, open doors, help with product development, and above all sales. Sales, sales, and sales. While product development is important and having a good advisor for product development is good, having a good sales advisor is much better. I very often see advisors’ names from Google, Facebook, and big companies (Sometimes friends and sometimes just contacts fished out of Linkedin), and when I ask what their involvement has been in the company, the answer falls flat on its face.

Don’t pick advisors just because of their name, pick them because of what they can really do.

Number 6. And they lived happily ever after

> I know you are wondering. Well, that’s what I have to do half the time. Not only that but in particular when I see the growth curves for income projection. Of course, there is no way we can predict all the troubles and obstacles we will come across, so the only thing we can do is extrapolate. Yet we underestimate these problems and often overestimate how much we can sell. If only sales projections were as linear and exponential as we estimate them to be. If only.

Number 7. The pink elephant in the room.

Are you guessing what the hell the above has to do with your pitchdeck? Well, half the time that is what the investors think about your pitchdeck. What investors are missing is sometimes some very simple information. The basic numbers for doing some basic calculations, yet you have added so much irrelevant TEXT, FACTS, and IMAGES that there is no room for those simple numbers. All this extra information gives rise to the Pink Elephant in the room. The diamond, (aka) your product is somewhere underneath one of its toes.

The above are some of the common issues in almost all startups, in pre-seed, seed / early stage, all the way to startups looking to raise Series A.

These are simple enough problems to fix, but first, you need to know what it is the Business Angel wants to hear and then how to go about fixing it.

Once you have gone past that stage the story changes but until then you are in this conundrum of fundraising blues and the only way out is removing the pink elephant from your pitchdeck.

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