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Underscore VC's Series A Pitch Narrative Template

A template for writing out your pitch narrative before creating a deck
Underscore VC
Crafting a narrative is no easy feat. We strongly recommend you write out a pitch narrative before you start to build a pitch deck for your .
This exercise can help you synthesize your thoughts, prepare answers to tough questions, and craft a logical, compelling story. As Underscore VC Partner, Lily Lyman, says, “With this exercise, it becomes less about how you present, and more about what you present.”
We wrote as a way to share more of our thoughts on the topic. This doc is a copyable companion—a template for your pitch narrative you can quickly organize and fill in.

[Company Name]

Investment Opportunity

Year – Month – Day



Investment Opportunity Summary

Describe your ideal investment outcome. What’s your target ownership percentage, total round size ($), valuation, syndicate structure, or option pool?

Investment Judgement and Recommendation

Why is this a big opportunity to return the fund for this VC firm? Consider your team, market, value prop, etc.


What will be your key challenges?

Company Overview

What does your company do uniquely well for whom?

Management Team

Management team backgrounds (with LinkedIn profiles)

How and why did you come together to solve this problem?

How are you uniquely qualified to build this business?

Does your team have experience in the space?

Have you worked together before?

Share a brief overview of your trajectory: What’s impressive? What’s not?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Who will be your references?

Are there any gaps in your existing team?

Market Opportunity

Trends

Explain your company’s landscape and how you expect it to develop in the future.
Why now? (Why is this the right time for this business?)

What is changing in terms of customer behavior? Competition? Product? Cost?

Is the industry becoming more concentrated or fragmented?

Is this a new category? How new?

How does the tech tie into industry development?

In what macro-industry and sub-sectors does this company belong?

Opportunity Size


Product and Value Proposition

Value Proposition

Briefly describe the problem you’re solving, your , and why your product is relevant in the customer’s context.
Define your specific value prop in a phrase:
For (target customers)

Who are dissatisfied with (the current alternative)

Our product is a (new product)

That provides (essential problem-solving capability)

Unlike (the product alternative)

Product

Describe your technology and your product’s approach with particular attention to:
Describe its main features and a basic overview of its functionality. How do these features solve specific customer pain points?

If your tech is a fundamental enabler, what is its maturity and development stage?

What challenges are associated with technology: adoption, cost, etc.?

Why is this technology a better approach?

Differentiation and Defensibility

Explain why your company’s approach is unique.
Focus on:
Does this company have long-term defensibility?

How replicable is it? If it is replicable, how long would it take?

Is there specific expertise required to build this tech that only your team has?

Roadmap

Outline the key phases and timeframe for product development, including key features added and how they fit into overall product development.
Is the problem Unworkable?
Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction? Will someone get fired if the issue is not addressed?

Is fixing the problem Unavoidable?
Does a governance or regulatory control mandate drive it? For example, is it caused by a fundamental requirement for accounting or compliance?

Is the problem Urgent?
Is it one of the top few priorities for a company? In selling to enterprises, you’ll find it hard to command the attention and resources to get a deal done if you fall below this line.

Is the problem Underserved?
Is there a conspicuous absence of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve? Focus on the whitespace in a market or segment.

What unique combination of Discontinuous innovation, Defensible technology, and Disruptive business model are you using? What makes it truly compelling?

Discontinuous innovations offer transformative benefits over the status quo by looking at a problem differently.
Defensible technologies provide intellectual property that can create a barrier to entry and an unfair competitive advantage.
Disruptive business models yield value and cost rewards that help catalyze a business’ growth.

Competition

Describe your competitive landscape:
What is the overall state of competition?

Are you targeting whitespace?

Where does your company outperform the competition?

Where might it underperform?

Include a market map, if appropriate
In it, show how your company will operate in whitespace and how far apart it is from competitors.

Include a closer look at the competition
Describe each competitor, highlighting key advantages/disadvantages, funding highlights, positioning, and traction.

Include an outside-in review of the competition
What do they think of the market and whitespace? Summarize validation from analysts, customers, employee calls, and other primary research.

Go to Market

Outline your :
What is your rationale for pursuing this strategy?

What challenges will you encounter, and what are its strengths?

What will be your key milestones and timeframe?

Will you pursue multipliers and levers via sales and advertising channels?

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