AI is pervasive, and unsurprisingly, sales teams are among the early adopters. Thus, it came as no surprise to witness Scalestack secure a $1 million investment to simplify the lives of sales teams.
As we’ve been doing for the past 18 months (hard to believe this marks our 75th pitch deck teardown!), we will scrutinize the deck that Scalestack used to secure funding. Let’s dive in!
We are actively seeking unique pitch decks to dissect, so if you’d like to submit your own, here’s how you can do so.
Slides within this presentation: Scalestack successfully closed its $1 million funding round with an 18-slide deck. While the company retained all the slides, it did redact certain revenue figures and MongoDB’s ROI from its product:
- Cover slide
- Team slide
- Summary/traction slide
- Problem slide
- Problem impact slide 1
- Problem impact slide 2
- Problem impact slide 3
- Solution slide
- Traction slide
- Customer story slide 1
- Customer story slide 2
- How it works slide
- Product slide
- Market slide
- Competition slide
- Positioning slide
- Why now slide
- Closing slide
Three Key Highlights Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with creating an AI-powered deck review tool. This tool assigned only a 67% chance of success to this deck (you can view the full report here). However, Scalestack managed to secure funding, showcasing that AI still has room for improvement.
Upon closer examination of Scalestack’s deck, it becomes evident why the company succeeded in raising capital. Three pivotal elements worked in their favor: a stellar team, impressive traction, and a compelling customer testimonial.
- A Strong Team The team of a company serves as its backbone, especially in the early stages when there may not be an extensive track record or substantial financial data. Demonstrating your team’s qualifications and why they are the right individuals to drive the business toward success is essential. Scalestack excelled in this aspect, commencing their pitch with a team slide that highlights well-connected founders with operational experience.
While the founders’ LinkedIn profiles could have been a valuable addition, the existing slide effectively conveys the team’s credibility.
- Impressive Traction Traction often compensates for various shortcomings. Following an impressive team introduction, Scalestack further solidified its pitch with a traction-focused slide, despite redacting specific numbers. This slide paints a compelling picture of marquee customers, increasing ARR, and a robust pipeline. These two slides alone could have been sufficient to secure funding, emphasizing the significance of traction in fundraising.
Entrepreneurs seeking capital should closely examine these two slides, as they set a high bar, even for a $1 million raise. Does your company measure up? If not, can you craft a narrative with a similar impact?
- A Compelling Customer Testimonial While customer testimonials are often seen as vanity metrics, they can enhance the narrative. In Scalestack’s case, an endorsement from Mr. Underhill would be invaluable in convincing potential investors. If his enthusiasm matches the testimonial, it would significantly boost investor confidence.
However, it’s important to note that despite these strengths, the pitch deck is not without its flaws. In the following sections, we will delve into three areas where Scalestack could have improved its presentation.”
Three Areas for Improvement Scalestack’s pitch deck omitted some crucial elements:
- Lack of “Ask” or “Use of Funds” Slides One glaring omission is the absence of a price tag or product description, which is especially surprising for a sales tech company. While this approach is unconventional and not recommended for most pitch coaching clients, it worked for Scalestack. It suggests that the founders possessed the trust of their investors, who had confidence in their ability to allocate funds effectively.
- Missing Business Basics Scalestack reported ARR, but it failed to address its pricing model or go-to-market strategy, a significant oversight for a sales-focused tool. Investors typically expect insights into these areas, as they reflect a startup’s market understanding, business acumen, and growth potential. A well-structured pricing model and a clear go-to-market strategy are crucial for assuring investors of your startup’s financial viability and operational competence.
- Undefined Customer Profile Scalestack’s pitch deck lacks a clear customer profile, leaving investors uncertain about the target market. A well-defined customer profile demonstrates a deep understanding of the audience you intend to serve. Providing demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics of your ideal customers shows that your startup aims to solve specific problems for a particular group of people. Clarifying your target market enhances your sales process and assures investors that you know where to find your customers.