Infinity Ventures Summit’s Launch Pad pitch competition was founded in 2007 with the intent to give startups a platform that could catapult their businesses to success. Since then, about 400 startups have stood on the Launch Pad stage. Among them, some all-stars have emerged, such as WealthNavi, MoneyForward, Crowdworks, Wantedly, and Bengo4—many of which are now part of our portfolio. One such all-star is none other than software company freee K.K., which listed on the Mothers Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 17, 2019.
With their assistance and permission, we are sharing with the public the presentation materials that freee used to win IVS Launch Pad in 2013. With the hopes of creating a better leaning curve for the next generation of entrepreneurs, we’ll highlight the key points on each slide that succeeded in grabbing our judges attention—as well as first prize.
Our comments: The first slide should not only explain your product, but also grab the audience’s attention while using as few words as possible. Therefore, the choice of every single word is very important.
For this slide, while the words “cloud-based accounting” are certainly necessary, the words “creative” and “fully-automatic” are exceptional choices because they concisely summarize the why and how of the product.
Our analysis: Some presentations go straight into the market size, the problem, or the team, but it’s more audience friendly if you can explain the service that you provide first.
Also, just like this slide, aside from introducing what the product is, you can make it more exciting if you actually highlight what makes your product great.
Our comments: When touching on the problem your product aims to solve, it’s a good opportunity to talk about the market size or even news sources that support your argument.
However, it’s even better if you do what this slide does, which is highlighting the fundamental problem. Also, using a graph and photos that have visual impact doesn’t hurt.
Our comments: In the next slide, this presentation goes into the demo. But before that, it’s always better to reiterate and emphasize what the key points of your product are, so the audience has that in mind when viewing the demo.
At IVS Launch Pad 2013, the demo was an actual real-time demo on freee’s website, but we will provide it in screenshots here.
Our comments: The optimal format, content, and length of a demo varies for different products, but one rule of thumb is clear: you should spend sufficient time to ensure the key points you have emphasized about your product are clear.
Our comments: If possible, you should always list your your fee models with a specific dollar amount. As shown in this slide, this allows the audience to easily compare the value and price of your product.
Our comments: It’s understandable that an early-stage startup might not have straightforward traction, such as significant revenue, but it’s important to make effort on showing the best side of your traction.
Like in this slide, freee didn’t have much revenue back then, but it shows the number of registered free users and the feedback from these users. It helps when you can demonstrate traction that can’t be gleaned from financial statements.
Our comments: For the last slide, sometimes a slide with emotional sentiments lingers longer than a rational one. Sharing your mission, passion, and vision is a great way to leave your audience thinking about you long after the presentation is over.
The deck was very well-structured, did a great job telling freee’s story, had a thorough product demo, and demonstrated traction. The overall balance of these attributes made it a fantastic presentation and it was no surprise that they took home the grand prize.
This article was authored by Jonathan M. Hayashi, senior associate at Headline Asia. It is reposted here with permission from Headline Asia.