Fake Pitch Fun: Dumm Glasses
In our free time, we like to come up with fun, fake pitch ideas – to provide engaging and constructive examples of high-level startup pitch decks. Dumm Glasses is our first foray into this. We are going to deconstruct this deck slide-by-slide, providing a few anecdotal examples of intentional design and content.
We are Dumm – look at these glasses! On this slide, note that we do not put a specific date (e.g., month) for the fundraise in case the timeline slips a few months. We could have put a quarterly or first half / second half of the year target and that would be fine. Visually, this isn’t our favorite cover slide, but you get the idea. On to the next.
Look at us with our noble mission – we help people look dumber! On this slide, everything is high-level. We don’t go into the minutia of the ‘how.’ We also don’t plaster this slide with stats, or include both a mission and a vision statement (one will suffice). In voiceover, this slide may be used to tell the founding story – background that led to pursuance of such a noble mission.
What a frustrating problem! We all suffer when we unduly trust the glassed – myself included. On this slide, we raise a problem statement and include context on the implications. Many good problem slides have direct stats or anecdotes that tie to aspects of the problem – we do this in other examples, just not here.
That’s where Dumm can help – with our glasses for people who need them, but don’t want to seem smart! This is a very high-level solution slide. The solution slide is set up by the preceding ‘Problem’ slide, implying correlation in the deck and/or via voiceover. Because Dumm is a consumer brand with a simple premise (these are just dumb-looking glasses that will hopefully accentuate similar cues about their owners), we wanted to keep this slide straightforward and feature a few designs. Again, this isn’t our favorite slide visually, but this also isn’t a real product (yet) and we didn’t have enough money for the 3D render.
Market Size Slide
Ok, wait this is a huge market! People with glasses are everywhere, and so are Dumm people. We put the Market slide directly after the Solution slide to properly set the market context of this brand. The framing of what this company is – an eyeglasses brand that really represents fun and intelligence/unintelligence – helps the investor understand the management team’s impression of the near-term market opportunity (or beachhead) and conceptualize the longer-term expansion potential. This slide is also placed early in this deck because of the early commercial nature of the business and the large TAM. If nothing else, this slide tells the investor this is a huge market and one that continues to grow.
But Dumm’s not just another brand in the eyewear market – we are Dummer! Ok this is a big market, but why does Dumm have a right to win in this space? I got my last pair of glasses from Warby Parker (because I wanted to seem smart and hip at the time), but it may not be the brand for everyone. This slide lays out the major differentiating factors on one axis (customized a bit to Dumm’s value drivers) and major competitive offerings on the other. While the takeaways are in jest, it is important to be both confident in your own value prop and also give credit to your competitors where it’s due. There’s a chance the investor you are speaking with has seen Warby Parker’s deck years ago or understands the eyeglasses market well (and that’s what you want in a VC partner) – so lead with intellectual honesty as much as confidence and vision for category evolution.
Revenue Model Slide
Dumm is also designed to make smart money! Once we’ve laid out what the product is and who it serves, it becomes helpful to elaborate on how Dumm makes money. This slide also shares more about Dumm’s go-to-market channels alongside unit economics – boasting strong CLTV and gross margins. The minutia can be in the financial model, but it is helpful for the investor to quickly understand that this a business with high margin potential and that the management team has a view of workable channel economics.
Dumm has established brand value proposition and has some willing customers! Placed here, the Traction slide serves to validate the Differentiation and Revenue model slides via real company anecdotes (market tests, pre-orders, distribution agreements). Where possible, this slide (as shown below) should have data points that correlate to market validation. Signaling a pipeline of demand (e.g., pre-orders) certainly doesn’t hurt, as many of the pieces appear to be in place for Dumm to start selling product upon receipt of working capital.
But we aren’t as Dumm as you think! We actually have some special sauce behind our look. Investors will appreciate market traction signals, but also need to consider defensibility of the business. What’s to stop another eyecare company from making a line of silly-looking and ill-fitting glasses? Fortunately, Dumm has underlying IP that the company can highlight – patents issued or pending, trade secrets, trademarks, and D2C data – that might create a moat as the company gains brand recognition and a loyal customer base. Notice this slide doesn’t list specific patent numbers and names – if investors want to dig into those in greater detail (many will), they’ll let you know and you can share the specifics separately or include in your data room.
We have a brilliantly Dumm team! We kept this team slide higher-level than most given the larger number of core team members and key advisors we wanted to highlight. Yes, many of the team members look similar and they should probably all be wearing Dumm glasses in unity. We could have included a bit more about the experience of the core team (e.g., logos) and eliminated the advisors, but we felt that Rick Shaw and Ivy Leage were notable enough to include on the slide and would carry favor with investors.
Growth Plan Slide
So what now? Dumm is expecting a bright future upon planned growth! The preceding slides are building blocks – demonstrating desirability of the solution and hinting at the feasibility of growth. But what does growth actually look like? What are the inflows and outflows of capital based on this? This growth plan slide is transitionary, moving the discussion more concretely from the now to the future. Other examples we provide have more explicit, quantitative targets, but here we can see three milestones that could be reached over the next 18-24 months.
Funding Need Slide
We can’t reach these milestones on our own or as quickly as we’d like given market traction – we need money! This slide largely maps to the aforementioned growth areas, broken out in six use of proceeds categories. There is the overall fundraising target at the top of the slide and goal, and then supporting bullets and allocations across R&D, working capital, sales and marketing, team, operations, and other. We would not recommend suggesting $500k for company holiday parties.
Financial Projections Slide
You’ll make your money back, and then some, given our financial prospects! Closing out the presentation, we have included a financial projections slide. This shows a five-year pro forma projection, where the investor can see marginal increases or step change in revenue, and eventually EBITDA. Including EBITDA here will provide the investor a rough understanding of runway and if Dumm needs to raise again (though this does not include balance sheet / cash flow details, so you may want to add a callout about future growth funding if it's an input in your balance sheet / cash flow projections). The projections also provide a sense of time to steady state maturation of the business and/or exit. (Is it 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?) Be prepared, of course, to share this backup directly with interested investors and they can review in detail.
End Cover Slide
Thank you! Please send me a follow-up note if you’d like. This is simply an end cover slide that tells investors that’s it for now. It’s often nice to re-include visuals that speak to the company brand identity and also include contact information of the management team individual (e.g., CEO) or individuals running point on the fundraising process. In this case, Sarah Bellum (who really should get a company email and stop using Ask Jeeves).
If you’ve made it this far – thank you for indulging us. We hope this was engaging and informative, especially for startups developing or redeveloping their pitch deck. No one format, design, or pitch flow is a perfect template – as startup executives, advisors, and investors are all different people with different stories to tell and interests in supporting those journeys. Our goal is to provide fun examples and get you 80% of the way there quickly!
If you are interested in downloading the PPT slides for Dumm Glasses or exploring our other Fun Fake Pitch concepts and pitch deck templates, sign up for a free trial of Ridge today. And if you are interested in buying Dumm Glasses frames, send us an inquiry at email@example.com and we’ll let you know if we ever do a Kickstarter for it.