In a world where CPG investors are approached by thousands of brands every year and only make limited investments, founders need to find a way to break through and aim for that mind-blowing moment to land the intro call or next meeting.
In my fundraising experience for Fila Manila, I’ve learned that a power chart is among the most effective pitch tools available to a founder. A power chart is a visual representation, usually in the form of a single chart, which shows the key opportunity that your startup addresses.
In the language of food, it can serve as the irresistible appetizer that creates investors’ appetite to view the main course of the pitch deck.
“To break through this noise, founders have to catch my attention with a big overlooked market possibility, make a note personal and relatable to me, or get introduced through someone in my network,” says Oksana Malysheva, Managing Partner at Sputnik ATX.
“This is a tough reality for the founders, and I recognize it. But cutting through the clutter to get through to potential partners is a key trait that founders have to develop, which requires both grit and skill.”
Fila Manila’s learning process (& founding story) to create our power chart started in 2020, during the height of COVID. I came across an article that reported, in some areas of the US, upwards of 20% of the healthcare workforce fighting on the front lines of the pandemic were FIlipino. This insight inspired me to research more about my community which revealed two key data points: 1) Filipinos represent the 2nd largest AAPI community in the US & 2) there was almost zero representation of Filipino food brands in mainstream US consumer packaged goods.
In my earlier pitch decks, I represented these two key data points in separate charts and slides. After many pitch deck emails sent to investors I saw that open and engagement rates were low.
I then realized the underlying issue: while these data points were crucial to visualize the Fila Manila opportunity, their placement, buried deep in the deck, still required the viewer to access and read through the entire presentation.
This led me to understand the need to immediately capture the viewer’s attention and interest, which would hopefully lead to the next step of digging deeper into the pitch deck. Thankfully, I was able to brainstorm with Oksana, an early believer in Fila Manila with a unique talent and love for effective data visualization from her McKinsey days.
“We work a lot with our founders to say more and convey deeper messages with fewer words, and certainly fewer slides,” Oksana says.
“In the case of Fila Manila, the massive disconnect between the size of the Filipino market and the shelf space allocated to it in the stores is striking, and this bar chart came to mind.”
The result is our Power Chart which was prominently highlighted in all pitch emails to investors moving forward. As a result, the open and engagement rates from investors & retailers grew by +60%. The feedback was that the chart provided immediate visual context to the opportunity which compelled them to want to learn more.
What would be your brand’s Power Chart?
As every startup’s opportunity is different, every key message, power chart, and anticipated ‘mind blown’ moment will be different.
Oksana often recommends “Say It With Charts” by Gene Zelezny to founders – “a magical book from my days at McKinsey,” she says. “Gene understood the infographic before it was even a word, and gives actionable graphical tools that can convey a 20-page deck in one or two charts.”
Here are a few examples of Power Charts to help start the ideation process:
Whitespace in a category that your startup addresses
Rapid growth of a flavor/ingredient that is at the core of your product
Clear point of differentiation within a large category
The Power Chart can be one of your greatest tools as a startup founder when cutting through the clutter in engaging with investors, retailers, or media. Save the pitch decks and paragraphs-long emails for later and lead the initial convo with your brand’s very own Power Chart.
Ultimately, the power chart can be your greatest tool as a startup founder looking to create that connection and first meeting with investors. When trying to compete with a sea of other pitches and startups bombarding investors every day, you need to convey your story as effectively and concisely as possible. Save the slide decks and other notes for later–you can and should lead introductions with your power chart to have a better chance at success.