Read the pitch deck that landed a sports tech startup a coveted spot in the selective accelerator that launched ClassPass and Plated

 

  • When Kilian Saekel's wife Anika was diagnosed with breast cancer, he realized how important physical activity was to a healthy lifestyle. His company, A-Champs, aims to make exercise more enjoyable.
  • The Barcelona- and Shanghai-based business was accepted into the Techstars's sportstech program this spring. Through the program, the 17-person startup netted $124,000 in funding, bringing its total funding to $400,000, Saekel said.
  • Saekel shared the pitch deck A-Champs used in its application to Techstars and explained how he organized the presentation. He also offered advice for creating a strong pitch deck.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When Kilian Saekel's wife Anika was diagnosed with breast cancer, he realized how important physical activity was to a healthy lifestyle. After she recovered, Saekel worked to create a product that made exercise more enjoyable for anyone. 

Saekel teamed up with cofounder Wayne Lin to launch A-Champs, a line of connected devices paired with training programs to gamify fitness for customers. A-Champs's ROX Pro device uses light, sound, and vibration to create randomized training scenarios while the app tracks progress through data and analytics. 

The Barcelona- and Shanghai-based business was accepted into the Techstars's sportstech program this spring. Through the program, the 17-person startup netted $124,000 in funding, bringing its total funding to $400,000, Saekel said. 

Saekel shared the pitch deck A-Champs used in its application to Techstars and explained how he organized the presentation. He also offered advice for creating a strong pitch deck. Sensitive information has been redacted.

The first two slides set up the problem and how A-Champs plans to solve it

Saekel started A-Champs's pitch deck by presenting the problem the company aimed to solve: "How to get families moving." Saekel used this deck almost one year ago and, in hindsight, said he would've made the issue more specific so it was clear he was talking about exercise. 

"People need to immediately understand why we actually exist," he said, noting that readers are eager to learn what pain points the startup will alleviate. "And why should investors or Techstars be interested in reading further?" 

The second slide gives a brief description of A-Champs's solution. The company bundles technology, sports science, and gamification to mask fitness as a play. Saekel's motivation was to show readers that A-Champs's answer was unique and multi-faceted.

Next, show how the product works

Saekel's third slide shows A-Champs's current product, the ROX Pro, and its companion app. The brief description tells readers the connected device is designed to be a smart assistant for sports and health professionals. This reiterates A-Champs's goal of increasing physical activity among users. 

The fourth slide hyperlinks to a 15-second video of individuals using the product in different scenarios. The idea was to show the versatility of A-Champs, Saekel said. 

"Since our product is all about movement, moving pictures are best to convey what the product can do," Saekel added. "It can be hard for people to get the whole idea if they don't see a video."

Present your progress to date

The sixth slide highlights multiple facets of the company's growth, starting with revenue. A-Champs booked $10,000 in December of 2018 and $600,000 in 2019, according to documents viewed by Business Insider.

Saekel also included the names of prominent soccer teams that are using A-Champs's technology — those logos have been redacted — along with publications that have written about the company. He also added a quote from Paul Coll, a professional squash player, who endorsed the product. 

"It's very important to show that we have traction," Saekel said. "We are trying to impress with revenue numbers and wanted to make it personal with the quote from one of the best sports players in the world."

Show your potential customers

Saekel's next slide highlights A-Champs' target customers and the pain points these groups face. For instance, how can sports coaches improve an athlete's performance and how can families create more active lifestyles routines? 

"It shows the versatility because it's not just one small target group," Saekel said. "I wanted to show the magnitude and the big opportunity in terms of target groups." 

What's more, the potential customers are divided into two phases of A-Champs' development. The first phase focuses on fitness professionals while the second specifically targets families. Listing both the potential customers and the two phases of product development shows readers how the startup plans to dominate the fitness market in several years.

Highlight the future

The seventh and eighth slides show how A-Champs plans on scaling business operations. The slides indicate the types of programs the company hopes to offer families in the future, touts patented intellectual property, and third-party content and hardware. 

This is an especially important slide for investors who want to see entrepreneurs are already thinking about the future of their startup. Without this slide, investors don't know how you plan to grow the business. 

Explain the business model

The next two slides outline how A-Champs makes money and where it fits into the fitness space. This is a vital slide to any pitch deck as readers will want to know how the startup is structured and plans to book revenue. 

In this case, A-Champs will use product sales, licensing fees from business-to-business clients, and subscriptions from the business-to-consumers arm to grow the business. The goal was to entice investors with multiple revenue streams, Saekel said. 

In the next slide, he shows how A-Champs views itself as a differentiator in the exercise market. The diagram shows how the company emcompasses various sectors of the space, such as fitness apps and activity trackers, to create its own field. 

Since the fitness industry is flooded with gadgets and training professionals, this was an especially important slide to make the case that A-Champs is unlike anything currently on the market.

Brag about your team

Successful pitch decks always include a slide about the founding team and employees. Saekel also included how many years each person worked in a relevant industry, such as manufacturing, coaching, and robotics, to tout their expertise. His goal was to show that A-Champs's early employees understood the fitness and connected device markets. 

"We have old-school experience," Saekel said. "And people with credibility from one of the best soccer clubs in the world."

A personal touch

Saekel's pitch deck ends in an unusual way. He concludes with a detailed explanation on his motivations for starting A-Champs. He relays his wife's battle with cancer, how it ignited his interest in family health and fitness, and the problem facing individuals today.

"Instead of condemning technology – the alleged main driver of today's sedentary lifestyles – we make it part of the solution," according to the pitch deck.

While Saekel feels the slide emphasizes why he created the company, he notes that some people may not take the time to read the text. He keeps it in the deck in the hopes that it ignites enthusiasm from investors. 

"I feel it's important that we have people on board who have a passion for what we're doing, so I found it important to add it," Saekel said.

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