Women entrepreneurs looking to increase their funding by attracting business investors have a new opportunity thanks to a recently launched program from the creative agency Story Pitch Decks. The company will accept applications for its Uplift pro bono program through August 1 with one startup awarded a free high-quality investor pitch deck.
The winning business receives a presentation deck tailored to the startup and designed to catch the attention of potential investors. Eligible startups should include a majority-women founding team, have a socially or environmentally focused mission, be financially under-resourced and exhibit a healthy work culture.
“A pitch deck in the startup world, also referred to as an investor pitch deck, is a presentation that startups put together in order to secure venture capital or investor funding,” said Keane Angle, founder of Story Pitch Decks.
Pitch decks are typically 20 slides or less featuring an overview of the business, its team members and why it is a good investment. Investors and venture capital funds often will not even entertain a meeting with a new company unless there’s a pitch deck, he added.
“There are hundreds of thousands of potential startups seeking funding at any given time in the U.S. and all of them have pitch decks,” Angle said. “The ones that get funded usually have incredible pitch decks that stand out from the crowd — not just in design, but in content and storytelling as well. For women, it's doubly important to invest time and resources into a fantastic pitch deck in order to elevate their appeal to investors above the status quo.”
The rate of growth for women-owned companies is approximately double that of all U.S. businesses with women-owned companies now accounting for close to 42 percent of businesses. But, only 2 percent of venture capital investment in the U.S. went to all-female startups and women entrepreneurs in 2021, the lowest rate in eight years. For women of color, the most entrepreneurial demographic in the U.S., the statistics are even more dismal with businesses led by women of color receiving only a fraction of this tiny 2 percent.
“The gender gap in the startup world today is gargantuan,” Angle said. “In 2021, 98.8 percent of all jobs in America were more gender diverse than how venture capital firms allocated their investments. Story hopes to make some noise, raise awareness about this issue and do our part to try and tip the scales.”
Spreading the word about the success rates of women-led startups, including their value for investors, is another goal of the Uplift pro-bono program.
“In 2021 in the U.S. for every $50 that VCs invested in startups, just $1 went to all-women founding teams,” Angle added.
Story Pitch Decks, run by a majority-women team, has helped raise more than $130 million for startup businesses since launching in 2020. The company typically uses a collaborative two-week process to develop pitch decks with Story creating more than 100 decks since its founding.
Although only one startup will receive the investor pitch deck through the Uplift Pro-bono program, Story Pitch Decks is also offering a 10 percent discount on all services to any startup with at least one female founder with a 15 percent discount available to new companies with an all-female founding team.
The Uplift winner will be announced on August 15 via the Story Pitch Decks blog and social media accounts. The winning startup will work with Story experts during late August, completing the pitch deck by September 1.
Although this is the first year for the Uplift program, Story Pitch Decks plans to expand the program to continue its focus on closing the gender gap in the startup world, supporting women in technology fields and encouraging women entrepreneurs.
“Eventually, we'd like to open the program to more startups, partner with female-focused VC firms and non-profits, speak more actively on this topic at virtual startup events and conferences, conduct our own research and thought leadership on this topic and create more opportunities overall for women founders to raise successfully,” Angle added.
Image credit: Ono Kosuki/Pexels
Janice Phelan is a communications consultant and freelance writer based in the Kansas City metropolitan area. She has also worked as a journalist and public relations professional with extensive experience in education, health and wellness, workforce development and nonprofits.