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Sample opening bid: $6.5 million Pepper Bio deck

Happy New Yearand welcome to the 78th installment of Pitch Deck Teardown!

We’ll take a closer look this week Pepper Bio‘s seed pitch deck which brought the company $6.5 million. With the slogan «The end of the incurable», the company is facing a big challenge: to find solutions for all those diseases that doctors cannot currently target well. Unlike CancerVax (which is dismembered in a previous demolition because it’s totally amazing), Pepper Bio has a strong team with a lot of promise.


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Before we begin, I have to admit that I don’t have a deep understanding of this part of biotech and had to do quite a bit of googling to fully understand the deck. As such, there’s a chance I’m getting some things wrong here. However, it also makes an important point: Your deck needs to be well-targeted to the audience, and I’m probably not the audience in this case. If I were working with Pepper as one of my pitch coaching clients, I would encourage them to bring the story to life a lot more, with examples and anecdotes that are more relatable to the general population. Having said that, the simple truth is that I am not target audience for this deck: biotech investors are.

Read Anna’s story from November for some context, and then we’ll get to the deck itself:

The slides in this deck

  1. Cover slip
  2. Problem slide 1
  3. Personal story slide
  4. Team slide
  5. Problem slide 2
  6. Solution slide 1
  7. Results slide
  8. Solution slide 2
  9. Solution slide 3
  10. Application slide
  11. Target market slide
  12. Business model slide
  13. Go to the market/slide on the beach
  14. Timeline slide
  15. Traction/Revenue 1
  16. Traction/Revenue 2
  17. Revenue projection slide
  18. Technology evolution slide
  19. Future vision slide
  20. Closing the slide
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Three things to love

What confuses me most about this pitch deck is that some slides are incredibly accessible, while others are . . . Well, we’ll get to that in a moment.

A personal story

(Slide 3) Make it personal. Image credit: Pepper Bio

I love a good personal story. Connecting with the problem you’re trying to solve helps the story come alive; it prevents the narrative from becoming abstract or dull and allows you to speak from the heart. In this case, the CEO tells the story of their grandmother and how not getting treatment for Alzheimer’s disease was a sad outcome.

Obviously, I didn’t hear the voice for this slide, but I think there are many ways it could be improved (maybe a photo of the grandmother in question?). Still, this is a good first step.

ELI5

There’s a subreddit called Explain Like I’m 5 where people try to explain complex topics as if the reader were a 5-year-old. Pepper Bio lost me a bunch of times in this deck, but then he hit us with this amazing duo of slides:

(Slide 8) Here’s the problem. Image credit: Pepper Bio

This slide is a masterpiece. It explores the problem space the company is trying to solve in incredibly simple terms.

And then comes the microphone:

(Slide 9) Tah-daaaa. Image credit: Pepper Bio

I love this pair of slides for their simplicity and strength. They anchor the narrative and help set the scene nicely for what’s to come. In a world often burdened with deeply technical language, Pepper Bio stands out for a moment.

The mother of markets of all sizes

(Slide 11) Well, the market is certainly big enough. Image credit: Pepper Bio

This slide is, both visually and in terms of content, a masterpiece. It identifies three significant therapeutic areas with significant market opportunities: oncology, neurodegenerative diseases and inflammatory diseases. The financial figures listed are quite impressive, indicating strong compound annual growth rates for each category.

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Of particular note is that the startup identified oncology as a market worth $201 billion in 2021 and a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.7%. This suggests a deep understanding of a sector that is in critical need of innovation and holds significant financial promise. The stark statistic that one in six people worldwide die from cancer highlights the profound impact that progress in this area could have.

Similar numbers are then repeated for neurodegenerative diseases and inflammatory diseases, each with huge market sizes and promising growth rates.

Overall, the slide does an excellent job of highlighting Pepper Bio’s potential reach and impact in areas that are not only financially huge, but also critical to global health. Hell of a combination.

Now, of course, the company works it should be shown that it does not expand too much and that it makes sense to operate in all these market segments. But that’s a small thing: overall, this is one of the better market-sized slides I’ve ever seen.

In the rest of this breakdown, we’ll look at three things that Pepper Bio could have improved or done differently, along with his complete deck!

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