Pitch Deck Presentation Tips For Startups

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This blog post features our guest speaker, Samuel Adeniyi - Founder, Kierep and Winner of the December 2023 Volta Pitch Competition. We had a great conversation where he shared the details of establishing 'Kierep', a startup fuelled by its purpose to combat the shortage of caregivers in Canada. He elucidates the challenges involving the recruitment and certification procedures for caregivers, providing an understanding of the prevailing market dynamics.

Diving deeper into business aspects, our guest touches upon the significance of a robust business model, scaling strategies, and the influence of cultural and racial nuances in business discussions. He stresses the role of ceaseless experimentation and learning in entrepreneurship, inspiring listeners to see failure as a stepping-stone, not a stumbling block, towards success.

Here is the summary of our discussion.

Tell us more about Kierep 

The aging population keeps rising in Canada so it's pretty hard to source qualified caregivers to provide the solution to meet the demand. So, it's like there is more demand, less supply of care, and home care agencies really have a lot of roles to play in this. And so, during our customer interview session with some of the big homecare agencies in St. John's, we figured out that it is not really about the shortage of caregivers. It is the hiring process and the certification process. And if we look at the institutionalized healthcare sector, many immigrants come in here. However, the home care agencies are not hiring fast enough. So, there is this need. We don't want to be another homecare agency having clients. We want to help the current agencies that have the certifications.


The Volta pitch competition - could you share with us how you prepared the weeks before the event? 

I did not really give it so much thought. And there is a reason. The application was put in by one of the Business Consulting students. I just got my pitch deck ready. I had attended a few live events before the Volta event. I had watched how student entrepreneurs were able to bring their ideas to life with confidence. So, it’s been an ongoing practice over time. Smooth delivery of a pitch comes from solving a problem that you're actually passionate about. And it's going to show. I can't stress enough the importance of having a great pitch deck, like the modern styling pitch deck. That really works. And I used to be a graphic designer where they always say, ‘less is more’. So, more whitespaces and less wordiness in your pitch decks. Try to stick to about a line of words. And then you explain that line of words and you give insight into it. So, if you have a pitch coming up, you should be practicing like two weeks before. It's not just, you know, three days. It will tell in your delivery especially when answering questions. When you’ve practiced and delivery comes naturally, the judges will see that.

So, the interesting thing is I didn't even finish the pitch. You know, it was three minutes, and I was still probably in my product slide. And then you know, I was cut off but then I think it was just one or two questions that I was asked. And the question about the mobility part of what we're trying to solve - because no solution was addressed to that particular problem. And so, it had been something that we were thinking about - the team and I - and I already thought of using my own vehicle to do the transport because a lot of these agencies have caregivers, but they are not willing to go long distances for short shifts. And so we're thinking of what can we provide? What minimum viable solution can we have to that? And you know, from what we were taught at Y combinator as well, it's like doing things that don't scale and then scaling those things.


How has winning helped with your branding, your networking, and the business that you do? 

I actually learned early that winning pitches is not actually the main success of your business. It’s getting customers that is the success. Even building a successful product is not success. It's actually getting customers that determines the success of our business. Winning the competition has provided a boost and created the lead to be in front of our customers. It has also given us content to socially engage.


If you're given an opportunity, what would you like to learn right now? 

So, for me, I think closing deals is a highly required skill right now. And although I've spoken with a few agencies in the last eight months that we've started, where there's a cultural difference, and you know, racial difference as well, it kind of requires more know-how to connect to the person you are negotiating with and to actually close the deal. So, it's it's like a learning curve for me right now.


What advice would you have for startup entrepreneurs right now?

As a startup myself, I would say experimenting is a very needed experience. So, experiment with ideas, leads, goals, solutions, and features, and don't be afraid to fail. There's a lesson you can only learn from trying. You might fail, but it's a step forward. I don't see failure as a pushback. I see it as a requirement for success. So, even if you try something and you fail, it's not a pushback. Rather, it’s a ‘fail forward’. And in the end, there is a certain number of failures that you need. To actually succeed as intrapreneurs, we need to build the mental fortitude, to keep going because that's the test of how bad you want it and your commitment, passion, and zeal to what you're trying to put out in the world. And so, I will say experiment, and don't be afraid to fail.


Pitching is a great exercise to tell one’s story so that people understand why you're doing what you're doing. It’s valuable for founders to understand the value of putting their ideas out there. It can be kind of intimidating sometimes but it's very important to be able to at least let people understand what you're doing. Pitching provides an opportunity for your idea to become clearer.


This blog is about personal development for entrepreneurs based on the principles of fairness, compassion, and commitment. This includes the practice of 'speaking' positive affirmations, which can be a powerful tool to support self-development. Hopefully, you’re impacted positively in some ways. As we all know, personal circumstances are quite different. So, I encourage you to apply the lessons in line with your own context and seek professional guidance as may be applicable. Remember “Let's continue to learn together and be encouraged to keep on connecting”.