Design plays a major role in how investors and other audiences respond to your pitch deck, but for one startup, achieving near perfection in their slide design did not create a pathway to success. Wattage Inc. was pitched as a modular electronics company that would allow users to design their own electronic equipment from modular parts, add art and other customized pieces, and have it shipped directly to them. To take a massive market—consumer electronics—and add a customization element was incredibly ambitious. The deck made for an aesthetically pleasing failure.25 Potential investors would not open their checkbooks, but would smile and suggest that these guys could always go into business making pitch decks for other startups.26 The innovation that promised to make us all inventors failed, at least for now, but it can teach us many lessons about developing pitches. View Wattage’s pitch deck to learn more (the deck has been added as a link here and in the module).
Respond to the following questions. You should respond with detailed answers – not a two sentence response.
- Can great design hurt a pitch presentation? How, or if no, why not?
- What do you think was missing if investors loved the pitch deck, appreciated the tactile prototypes, and yet decided not to invest?
- There is a “go-big-or-go-home” sentiment to this kind of startup that tries to shake up a massive marketplace. After visiting these links and reviewing what Wattage Inc. was trying to build, could you come up with a scaled-down or more focused version of the concept that might work? One issue with this type of startup is that it can only target very large investors. How might you build different pitch decks targeting different types of investors (electronics investors, those who invest in value-added customization products, modular tech enthusiasts, and so on)?