Pitch Club: The Competition Slide in Your Startup Pitch Deck


Having sat on startup judging panels and seeing a ton of startup pitches, it surprises me how many startup decks miss some of the critical slides needed in a pitch deck.

When putting a pitch deck it’s not there for you to remember what to say – its for your audience to understand what you are saying!

It doesn’t matter if you’re an awesome speaker or not, from the slides an audience should be able to fully understand what you do and get a snapshot into what you are trying to accomplish and its potential.

Remember: good deck flow is more important than the graphic design of the deck, just look at Dave McClure’s decks – a visual nightmare, but an informational paradise.

This ongoing column will spotlight some pitch hacks that I want to share with the Hong Kong startup community.

I was recently on a judging panel for SeedStars World in Hong Kong and like most other pitch events they gave the judges a scoring sheet – but for some reason this is not shared with the startups – we have to score on a scale from 1-10 on 5 different criteria (which is then added up to showcase the startups with the highest scores and then a winner chosen from that pool) usually the startup does not cover at least 2-3 of these criteria in their pitch and the scoring is based more on personal choices than on hitting the key scoring points.

I believe an integral slide in any pitch; and saves wasting time in the Q&A section; is the Competitive Analysis slide.

This can be done in different ways: from simple to intricate. The purpose of the Competitive Analysis slide is:

  • Showing us your competitors, shows us how big your market is.
  • And actually what you are trying to do, if I don’t understand that the first bunch of slides.

I will just show you the 2 ways that I like to see it:

The 2X2 Chart


Ambi a hardware startup uses this slide to show their competition. You can’t say you have absolutely none otherwise you look like you haven’t done your research (even if you have) and you don’t give the audience any context. Ambi, which has created a cool air conditioner tracking device, accomplishes this with just a single slide as shown above.

This works in 2 ways:

  • an exact snapshot of what they are doing in their market and who the players are.
  • an idea of who someone can hook you up with if they can’t help/invest – logos work well in context.

The Checklist Chart


This version is good for similar products out in the market. You show off that you’ve done your research into the offerings of your competitors and succeed in showing off another key piece of information: how you are better!

This Checklist Chart is by a startup called Vidinterest billing themselves as the Pinterest for Video – to do this, they showcase why they are better than Pinterest itself as well as some other players in the market – it doesn’t matter if the competitors are famous or not, as long as you can provide context for your own startup.

There is a third example of this – if you really are creating something with no established players then you have to explain it in a “Something for Something” slide – where you would say you are the XYZ for Finance as showcased below:


Again this gives context and puts your viewers into your market instantly.

I hope this gives you some insight into what an investor or a judge is looking for – the purpose of the pitch deck is to make sure you get your startup idea across in the simplest and most direct way even if your words or presentation style can’t.

Next column I’ll be talking about the team slide – another anchor slide that is difficult to get across in a short time, but essential.

Casey Lau is co-founder of StartupsHK and is the Community Development Manager of Asia-Pacific for the SoftLayer Catalyst program. Follow him on Twitter, AngelList, LinkedIn and F6S.

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