Laoshi's $570K deck • TechCrunch

Laoshi’s $570K deck • TechCrunch

Most of the pitch deck teardowns to this point (right here’s a handy list of the more than 30 we have published so far) have been for institutional funding rounds, usually within the tens of millions or tens, even tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} raised.

Those are fascinating to take a look at, after all, however I additionally know that lots of you may be a lot earlier in your journey. I’ve been in search of instance of an angel deck to share with you, and I discovered simply that in Laoshi‘s angel deck. The firm tells me it raised $570,000 at a $5 million cap for its very early-stage language-learning app, explicitly focused at Chinese tutors and their college students.

The deck ain’t fancy, and it isn’t excellent, however the firm claims it was profitable, so let’s check out what it bought proper — and what may’ve been improved.

We’re in search of extra distinctive pitch decks to tear down, so if you wish to submit your personal, here’s how you can do that

Slides on this deck

Laoshi’s deck consists of 11 fundamental slides and 4 appendix slides.

  1. Cover slide
  2. Problem slide
  3. Market slide
  4. Solution slide
  5. Competition slide
  6. Road map slide
  7. Team slide
  8. Teacher development slide
  9. Teacher retention slide
  10.   Summary slide
  11.  “Contact us” slide
  12.  Appendices cowl slide
  13.   Appendix I: Viral impact slide
  14.   Appendix II: Business mannequin slide
  15.   Appendix III: “The ask” slide

Three issues to like

The deck is sparse and easy, which is fairly refreshing — lots of early-stage decks don’t appear to have a lot of a narrative woven into them and attempt to cram approach an excessive amount of data (that isn’t actually related) onto the slides.

The overarching factor you need to keep in mind for an angel deck is that your buyers know they’re within the enterprise of high-risk investing. So, clarify why your organization is an efficient wager, that you’ve got a path to fixing an actual drawback and buying an enormous market and that you’ve got the group to tug it off.

Team slide is A+

[Slide 7] A group slide ought to persuade buyers that you simply’re the fitting people to construct this firm. Image Credits: Laoshi

In an early-stage firm, it’s typically mentioned you want a hacker, a hustler and a hipster (H3) to construct founding group. The hacker is the individual with the technical know-how to construct the primary couple of variations of the product. The hustler is the one that hauls in gross sales and funding and understands how the market works for this firm. And the hipster is an individual who can put designs collectively so the product seems contemporary and funky and is straightforward to make use of.

I’m unsure if I’m 100% on board with the H3 ethos of founding group constructing — it’s way more necessary that you’ve got the fitting, deep area data and drive (typically expressed as “founder-market match”), however you additionally want a breadth of expertise to construct startup. I do admit H3 typically is an efficient template to take a look at a group’s ability set rapidly and to find out whether or not there are main gaps within the group.

This group slide does two issues: It exhibits that the group is worldwide and distributed. It is various and skilled. And it manages — within the field on the backside — to indicate that the group has market-relevant expertise. Now, I’d nonetheless want a voice-over to search out out:

  • How did the group meet?
  • What are every group member’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What’s lacking from the group?
  • Why can this group ship in a approach that no one else can?
  • What is the hiring plan for the present fundraise?

But as a base-level group slide, this ticks lots of containers. What it doesn’t present, nevertheless, are previous successes in startups, and I’d need to dig into {that a} bit extra as nicely. It definitely is a a lot better slide than most of the earlier ones we’ve coated in these teardowns — you recognize, those that mainly stick a Stanford and Tesla emblem beneath an image and name it a day.

The factor you may study from this slide as a startup is that your group slide is up there with a very powerful slides, and also you’ve bought to make it depend. Use it to inform your story and to persuade us your group is a part of the explanation to wager on you.

Good abstract slide

[Slide 10] A superb abstract slide could be an effective way to remind buyers why they need to be excited. Image Credits: Laoshi

A abstract slide is an effective way to interact buyers, and I in all probability would have put this slide someplace towards the start of the deck fairly than proper on the finish — it actually helps repair the corporate’s progress and stage in time. It exhibits that sure, this firm is small and discovering its ft, but it surely’s additionally making actual, measurable progress.

Almost as necessary because the numbers themselves are which numbers the corporate is measuring. It exhibits month-to-month and each day lively customers (MAU/DAU), that are essential metrics to see how sticky an app is. It exhibits the variety of academics and how lengthy they’re staying on the platform, which once more speaks to stickiness and the attain the corporate has. It talks about lively consumer engagement, which exhibits that individuals are utilizing the app actively.

For excellent marks, I’d like to have seen these numbers as graphs fairly than simply as collated numbers. I’d even have preferred to see greenback figures right here. It’s nice that there are 200+ paying subscribers, and that’s spectacular for a pre-funding firm. But despite the fact that the income numbers in all probability are very small, seeing a graph of these, too, is necessary. If you don’t put it on the slide, the investor shall be suspicious about why and ask for it anyway — you might as nicely skip that dialog and provides ’em what they want proper off the bat.

The factor you may study from this slide as a startup is to be deeply conscious of the metrics which are going that can assist you construct and ship what you are promoting.

Business mannequin entrance and heart

[Slide 14] It’s at all times a good suggestion to indicate that you simply understand the levers in your business. Image Credits: Laoshi

Gotta say, I don’t love the dark-gray-on-light-gray design, and it’s curious to me that that is within the appendix fairly than within the core deck. As an investor, I believe this may be one of many extra necessary slides. I’d like to see the place the enterprise is now, as nicely. For instance, when the corporate says its TAC (tutor acquisition price) is $50, what’s it truly seeing as its TAC proper now? If it assumes that every tutor has 5 college students, how is that exhibiting up in apply?

Having mentioned that, these numbers are tremendous necessary in your conversations together with your buyers; primarily, you’re exhibiting how you’re serious about what you are promoting and your market and that you simply perceive the levers in what you are promoting. In different phrases: What if each tutor had 10 college students as an alternative of 5? What if each tutor price $100 to amass as an alternative of $50? By plugging all of that right into a mannequin and operating experiments to extend your belief within the mannequin, you may get a great distance towards constructing an amazing image of what you are promoting in numbers.

In the remainder of this teardown, we’ll check out three issues Laoshi may have improved or accomplished in another way, together with the corporate’s full pitch deck!