LearnLaunch Founder Jean Hammond and LearnLaunch Venture Partner Tetyana Astashkina provided key insights into what makes a great pitch deck for edtech companies at a session on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The discussion centered on the most common hiccups edtech entrepreneurs face when trying to raise capital or communicate important business milestones. The following are the four areas where edtech entrepreneurs commonly stumble, according to Hammond and Astashkina.

Focus on Problem & Opportunity
To make 10 investments, the average VC firm reviews over 1,200 companies. It is important that the entrepreneur defines the problem the product solves very early in the deck. Problems that are too broad indicate a lack of understanding of the product and potential market. There is an art to beginning a pitch deck, and a succinct narrative about the problem the product solves is an easy entry point.

Understand the Investor
The type of investor – angel or venture capital – that would be most interested in your product will guide the design of the pitch deck. Different investors have different metrics, different risk profiles and different investment theses. Companies must balance speaking with many investors while also narrowing the field of investors.

Market Validation
Seeing traction is crucial to creating a story about the success of the business model. Without a proven track record of success, there is little data to support lofty claims. Traction includes compelling stories centered on user experience, conversion metrics on the sales funnel and robust research into how the company will grow with future funding.

Show Off Your Diverse Team
One of the common mistakes edtech companies make is the composition of team. Jean Hammond emphasized the importance of a diverse team with the ability to address the many challenges the company will face. Utilize and include the advisory board as a resource to fill in gaps where the team lacks expertise.