The SAGE Startup Client Presentation Preparation

Preparing for the Presentation

Once a target date for your SAGE presentation is established, working on your presentation will be an important priority. Your readiness coach will identify areas where your presentation may need additional work. It may feel challenging to add substance in areas such as competition, customer selection, operational planning, or finances. Nevertheless the thin spots are likely the areas where your startup’s success is most at risk. The readiness coach will get a first glimpse of how the Entrepreneurs respond to advising and mentoring and will also gain an appreciation of how quickly the Startup team can move forward. If there is insufficient progress, the readiness coach can withdraw your startup from the planned SAGE meeting.

Often times, startups get feedback from their readiness coach that their initial presentation is too much about the “product” and not enough about potential customers for the product, and how the product solves problems they are having, the “competition”, the “operations”, and the veracity of financial assumptions. The number of feedback comments should not discourage entrepreneurs new to SAGE. Entrepreneurs new to SAGE are encouraged to heed the advice of the readiness coach.

The readiness coach may ask you to deliver your pitch deck multiple times, to best ensure your success at the monthly SAGE meeting.

Your pitch deck should include the following information:

  1. Title Slide
  2. Problem
    • What customer problems are you trying to solve?
    • Why do customers need a new solution?
    • Have you validated this with customers?
  3. Solution
    • High level description of the solution you’re proposing What’s your Minimal Viable Product (MVP*)?
    • How does this solution change your customer’s workflow?
  4. Solution Details
    • Top product features associated to customer benefits
    • Other information you need to present to explain your solution
  5. Customer Segment and Value Proposition
    • Who’s your initial target segment? Why did you select them?
    • What’s the profile or persona of your customer?
    • What are the pains and gains that this customer segment desires or needs solved?
  6. Market Opportunity
    • Identify the size and scope of the targeted customer markets
    • What does this market or industry look like now? Is it mature or new?
    • Identify the characteristics and trends that are creating a window of opportunity for your product or solution. Why now?
  7. Competitive Environment
    • Identify the current solutions that are used by potential customers (indirect competition). Discuss the solutions that other companies are providing (direct competition)
    • Speculate on the activity of other players in the industry that could compete with your product or solution (predictive competition)
    • Discuss customer behaviors that must be changed to accept you products / business model.
    • What’s your IP plan and how will it help you compete?
  8. Technical Feasibility
    • What are the skills, experience and know-how required to build the MVP?
    • Do you have everything you need, if not, how will you acquire them?
    • What’s your plan to manage technology risks?
  9. Roadmap
    • What are the milestones you need to accomplish for getting to your MVP (or next release)?
    • Is it clear what it will take to meet the next milestone?
  10. The Team and other Resources
    • Introduce your team:
      • Pictures
      • Roles
      • % time dedicated to this startup
      • What they bring to the table?
      • What are the company’s Assets and Liabilities?
    • What other resources do you need, to execute the business model?
    • What startup experience does your team have?
  11. Partnerships
    • Have you identified all the partners that you need to deliver the solution?
    • Are all partner plans and agreements in place?
    • Do you have a partner risk mitigation plan in place?
  12. Business Model
    • How will you make money?
    • What are all the sources of revenue that your solution can generate?
    • What is the price that the customer would pay for the solution?
    • What is your cost structure?  How much does it cost to produce, sell and support your solutions?
    • How will you deliver your solution to you target segment? (channels)
    • What’s your plan for attracting and getting new customer sales?
    • How will you keep customers and grow revenue?
  13. Financials
    • Highlights of proposed financial plan
      • Revenue
      • Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS)
      • Operational Expenses
    • Key Assumptions in the financial plan
    • Break-even [date / volume]
  14. Company Vision
    • What does your startup look like in 3 yrs? 5 yrs?
    • How will you fund this startup?
      • In the next year
      • Years 2-5
    • What role do you see yourself playing as the company evolves?
  15. Traction
    • What have you accomplished?
      • Customer Validation
      • MVP Validation
      • Revenue/sales generated
      • Milestones met
      • etc.
    • What have you learned? (examples)
      • Customers must have feature x
      • Direct sales will not work
  16. SAGE Ask
    • How could SAGE advisors assist you in moving your startup ahead?
    • Be as specific as you can

Applying for SAGE

To apply to become a SAGE client startup, complete the Innosphere Ventures application at:
And email Bill Dieterich or Susan Strong to let them know you’re interested in SAGE.