Forethought has been on our radar for a very long time — the corporate gained our 2018 Startup Battlefield at Nob6 Disrupt, and only a few weeks in the past, CEO Deon Nicholas joined Vanessa Larco from NEA on Nob6 Dwell to speak about pitching and pitch decks:
At the moment, it’s my pleasure to tear down the corporate’s 23-slide deck that helped it increase a $65 million Sequence C late final 12 months.
Forethought’s mission is to assist people carry out higher utilizing AI. “One of many issues that we’ve centered on is being a human-centered AI platform. And that’s what has actually come by way of … with our mission, and actually our mission is to unlock human potential by way of synthetic intelligence,” Nicholas advised Nob6’s Ron Miller.
We’re searching for extra distinctive pitch decks to tear down, so if you wish to submit your personal, right here’s how you are able to do that.
Slides on this deck
Within the overwhelming majority of circumstances, this can be a slide that makes my eyes glaze over; Forethought’s slide made me do a double take as a result of it’s a uncommon exception to that rule.
- Cowl slide
- Founders slide
- Nob6 Disrupt Startup Battlefield slide — (Sure, actually!)
- Traction slide (redacted numbers)
- Buyer record slide
- “Forbes 2021 subsequent billion-dollar startups” — thriller slide
- “Take into consideration the final time you had been on maintain” — downside slide
- “The price of unhealthy customer support” — downside slide
- “Rework buyer experiences with human-centered AI” — answer slide
- “Full platform” — product slide
- “True AI” — product slide
- “Fast time-to-value” — product slide
- “Safe and trusted” — product slide
- “Clever hole detection” — product slide
- “Trusted by the very best” — buyer breakdown slide
- “Metrics Abstract” (redacted) — traction slide
- Buyer testimonials slide
- ARR growth per cohort (redacted) — buyer improvement slide
- “Forethinkers” group slide
- Advisors and traders slide
- “What’s subsequent” (redacted) — street map slide
- “The place we’re going” (redacted) — income development slide
- “Unlock human potential by way of AI” — mission slide
Three issues to like
There’s quite a bit to like about this deck, and it’s arduous to solely choose three issues. Previously few pitch deck teardowns, I’ve typically centered on the start of the narrative — the primary few slides.
Ending on mission
[Slide 23] Closing slide. Picture Credit: Forethought
I’ve argued earlier than how necessary it’s to have an excellent last slide. To know why, do not forget that in plenty of pitching conditions, the primary and final slides are on the display for an extended time. The primary since you’re faffing about with getting espresso, ready for folks and getting located. The final as a result of through the Q&A on the finish of a pitch, it’s not unusual to depart the ultimate slide up — no less than till you must transfer to a different slide within the deck to make clear one thing. To be truthful, this was extra true if you had been pitching in-person than if you’re pitching nearly, however it’s good follow to make each slide do some heavy lifting.
A whole lot of the time, the ultimate slide is only a repeat of the corporate’s tagline or motto and the founder’s contact particulars; it’s logical to repeat your imaginative and prescient or mission right here, however it’s hardly ever achieved, and that’s a disgrace. In case you have a clearly articulated mission, why not fly that flag as you’re doing all your pitching?
Ugh, an investor slide
[Slide 20] Advisors, traders and buyer advisory board. Picture Credit: Forethought
A whole lot of startups embrace an advisors-and-investors slide. A buyer advisory board is much less frequent, however I’ve seen that, too. Within the overwhelming majority of circumstances, this can be a slide filled with folks that makes my eyes glaze over — people who find themselves unlikely to genuinely be of assist to your organization. Forethought’s slide made me do a double take as a result of it’s a uncommon exception to that rule. It initially caught my consideration once I acknowledged Ashton Kutcher from the photograph. That prompted me to take a better look. This slide is extraordinary and doubtless the primary of such a slide I’ve seen that really deserves to be a part of the deck.
Having the CEO of Waymo and a Stanford AI lab professor as advisors is a flex. The client advisory board consists of (presumably busy) decision-making prospects for Pinterest, Instacart and Carta. And the traders? Nicely … it’s not at all times clear how a lot precise time particular person traders put right into a startup, and that’d be a query I’d be asking Forethought, however it’s definitely a dialog starter: How did the corporate pull off including a handful of family names to its cap desk, and can they add worth past their money and well-known faces?
Contextualized numbers are horny
[Slide 17] Buyer testimonials. Picture Credit: Forethought (opens in a brand new window)
I embrace Slide 17 as a “factor to like” for a few causes. Just like the traders slide, it’s uncommon to see a buyer testimonial slide that really does any heavy lifting. Principally it’s fluff that reveals up as a substitute of actual traction. Nevertheless, on this case, the corporate was in a position to do one thing actually intelligent; Forethought is bringing some spectacular buyer stats to the forefront — and backing it up with actual suggestions from its prospects.
In my previous startups, I’ve achieved plenty of buyer assist, and if anybody had put any of these stats in entrance of me, I’d have purchased on the spot: 43% of buyer interactions don’t end in a assist ticket? Routing accuracy of 85%? Deal with tickets 21% sooner and get 32% extra productiveness out of every of your buyer assist employees? That’s extraordinary by any measure — however tying it to buyer testimonials makes the story come to life a lot extra. Very effectively achieved certainly. It additionally helps that the slide is effectively designed, straightforward to learn and the logos present that these are a stable lineup of consumers, too.
In the remainder of this teardown, we’ll check out three issues Forethought may have improved or achieved in another way, together with its full pitch deck!