I've been sent ~500 startup pitch decks in the past 3 years. And a common facepalm moment is the competition slide.
You know the ones I mean - the 'Here's 5 features we have that our competitors don't' slides, or the 'We chose an X and Y matrix that makes us look good' slides. Not totally useless, but almost.
I've had enough. This is the hill I will die on.
Here’s some simple tips for writing a better slide.
These slides talk about differentiation.
But that, in itself, is not terribly helpful. Because it might be entirely irrelevant that you have a higher quality product, or that you’re easier to use, or that you have “AI capability” (whatever that is). My local barista makes a sumptuous flat white, but that will not be the reason they unseat Starbucks.
Put simply - no investor cares about your differentiation unless it's meaningful. Unless it's a key reason why you will beat the competition. So it's your job as a founder to make it crystal clear not just what your differentiation is - but why it will be critical to success in your market.
These slides also totally fail to address +30% of what should be on a competition slide - defensibility (i.e. why fast-followers won’t out-compete you over time).
The best competition slides outline 3 things:
Resist - I repeat resist - the temptation to believe 2 & 3 are implicit. Trust me, 90% of the time they're not.
Here's a template, and a fictitious application of it (with apologies to Spotify).
I'm not pretending this is perfect (the design could be 10X'd for starters).
But it is far more helpful - and powerful - than most competition slides. Because it shows that you understand (or at least have a view on) what the critical drivers of success in your market will be.
So when you next hunker down to write your pitch deck, consider showing the reader not just your differentiation, but why it matters.
Paddy Stobbs is Co-Founder of Stackfix. Stackfix helps startups find the right software, fast. If you or any company you know are looking for CRM / Customer Support / Applicant Tracking / HRIS software - go to www.stackfix.com (it's totally free).