Q: Dear SaaStr: How Much Should I Talk About the Competition in a Pitch Deck?
The best startup pitch decks almost all have great competition slides.
Because the best CEOs:
- Respect the competition. Even if they plan to destroy them.
- Know the space cold. Even in the early-ish days.
- See and can explain the whitespace they are pursuing even in a crowded space. A great CEO will explain through a competition slide and even a standard 2×2 how they will win. Every space has competition.
- Everyone has competition. Why hide it? Even if you don’t think you have competition, you do. You at least have competition for budget.
- Want to save time. A great competition slide just saves time for everyone. It helps simplify learning, due diligence, and market positioning.
So the best competition slides in pitch decks are clever explainers. They not only explain all the key competition, but optimistically but honestly present the whitespace where the startup can and is still winning.
Every VC knows every space changes over time. That change creates the opportunity for new winners.
And the best CEOs are really good at explaining not just the present, but also the future. Done right, a great competition slide also explains the future. The future where you win really big.