Positioning

Pitch Deck Teardown: Encore's $3M seed deck – TechCrunch

future-dyanmics

For this week’s Pitch Deck Teardown, I’m (virtually) traveling to Sweden to take a look at the $3 million seed round raised by developer tool startup Encore.
The company is creating what it calls a software development platform for the cloud. It reportedly raised from Crane Venture Partners with Acequia CapitalEssence Venture Capital and Third Kind Venture Capital joining the round.
I wanted to take a look at this deck in more detail, in particular, because it tells a really elegant story in a market where it’s extraordinarily hard to differentiate yourself — both to your customers and to investors!
Pitching a dev tool in a way that tells the story well enough to understand but without dropping deep into a rabbit hole is a particularly hard challenge, and that’s the needle Encore threads ever so efficiently in this 24-slide pitch deck.
We’re looking for more unique pitch decks to tear down, so if you want to submit your own, here’s how you can do that
This is a relatively small round, and Encore is still very early in its journey, and I can 100% understand how it could totally “get away with” some of the things I’ll bring up in this teardown. It also tells a really good story in an engaging manner — so let’s start with the good!

Engore's product slide

[Slide 7] Encore’s product space slide is particularly elegant. Image Credits: Encore

Over a number of evolving slides (5, 6, 7), the founders do a really smooth job of carving out a space within a market that has spectacular competition right now. By spending a few slides telling the story of how the company is positioning itself in the space, it starts alluding to what the product challenge is. The message of letting the technical team focus on building its product, rather than worrying about what’s happening under the hood, is a compelling proposition for anyone who’s ever had DevOps ruin the product party.
[Slide 7] Encore’s product space slide is particularly elegant. Image Credits: Encore
One quibble here that isn’t really serious enough to warrant its own item in the “things that could be improved” section: These slides are formulated as if the company is talking to its customers. “Lets you focus” makes sense if you’re talking to a prospective sale. Remember, though, that you aren’t selling the product to the investors — you’re selling shares in your company. “Lets developers focus” would work better and is an opportunity to name who your target audience is as well.

[Slide 12] Encore’s value proposition is extremely clear. Image Credits: Encore

Time is money, and if most startups’ P&Ls are anything to go by, developer time is right up there with some of the most expensive time there is.
[Slide 12] Encore’s value proposition is extremely clear. Image Credits: Encore
In slides 11 and 12, Encore nails down why its product has such a powerful value proposition: Flicking to this slide, it tells the story of how getting a product feature or a bug fix to a production app suffers hours of avoidable delays. The subtext is clear: This is avoidable by using Encore’s tools.
If the company can put the money where its mouth is — i.e., if it really does reduce time to deployment from hours to minutes — and if it can prove a direct link to development efficiency, the value to software companies is immense. That’s it; that’s the story — it doesn’t really matter what Encore even does, exactly, if it can show that developers save significant amounts of time and it can find a route to market, this is a company that could get huge.

[Slide 14]  Image Credits: Encore

This slide says, essentially, the same thing as slides 12 and 13 — but it says it in a way that is really easy to visualize.
[Slide 14]  Image Credits: Encore
As a company, one way to gain efficiency is to ensure that you focus your developers’ attention on the things that really matter, which is worth reiterating on multiple slides.
In the rest of this teardown, we’ll take a look at three things Encore could have improved or done differently. In particular, I’m curious about why it focuses so heavily on its product, when — in my experience — investors generally don’t care as much as you might think. A more curious part is how the business is working now (in the form of traction and finding a repeatable business model) and what it is hoping to accomplish with the money raised in this round. We’ll also share Encore’s full pitch deck so you can see the whole thing in context.
There is a lot to love about Encore’s deck: It simplifies a complex product story into a few easy-to-digest slides and shows why there’s an opportunity in the market. But if I were to invest in this company, I would have a few questions right off the bat. Let’s take a closer look at what raises the red flags:

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future-dyanmics

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