Pitch Deck Teardown: Astek Diagnostics’s $2M seed deck

Astek Diagnostics closed a $2 million round for its urine diagnostics system, despite the fact that raising money for medtech isn’t for the faint of heart. The company’s deck has some good stuff in it and could be a deep source for things we can learn from, too.

Slides in this deck

Astek Diagnostics has a pretty beefy 22-slide deck that splits a lot of the narrative over multiple slides. In some aspects, the deck is comprehensive and impressive, but it also comes across as pretty defensive and slightly dated, even though this fundraising round closed recently. Some of the slides have been lightly redacted.

  1. Cover slide
  2. Vision slide
  3. Platform slide
  4. Approach slide (Part 1)
  5. Approach slide (Part 2)
  6. Current focus slide (Part 1)
  7. Current focus slide (Part 2)
  8. Solution slide
  9. How it works slide (Part 1)
  10.  How it works slide (Part 2)
  11.  Technology slide
  12.  Team slide
  13.  Advisory board slide
  14.  Technology validation testing
  15.  IP overview slide
  16.  Company validation slide
  17.  Company timeline slide
  18.  Investment terms slide
  19.  Commercial and Exit strategy
  20.  Comparable transactions slide
  21.  Executive summary
  22.  Closing slide

Three things to love about Astek Diagnostics’ pitch deck

Where the AD pitch deck is good, it’s great: comprehensive, well-researched and well-designed. Slide 6 — the problem statement — is a great example of all three coming into play.

A comprehensive problem statement

Explaining the problem in a pitch deck is crucial because it lays the foundation for people to understand the necessity and relevance of your startup. This section should captivate the audience by highlighting a gap or inefficiency in the market that the company aims to address. It sets the context for the entire presentation, allowing investors to grasp the magnitude and urgency of the issue at hand. Better still, explaining the problem effectively helps to validate the market demand for a product or service.

In this slide, Astek takes the opportunity to present data and insights that back up its claim, thereby reinforcing the potential for growth and success. This section is a startup’s first step in building a compelling narrative that aligns its mission with the interests and investment goals of would-be investors.

On this slide, Astek paints an impactful picture: huge amounts of hospitalizations, unnecessary treatments, problems with speed and accuracy. Solve these problems, this slide suggests, and almost 70,000 lives per year can be saved.

Another thing this slide does well. It describes the problem, but what’s really going to make investors lean forward is the immense proportion of the problem: 8.1 million hospitalizations indicates that there’s a truly formidable market size at play here.

Solid defendability

In biotech, a company is only as valuable as the ability to protect it, and having a great moat is a key part of building a startup for the ages. The fact that the company is thinking about IP protection is reassuring, although I did have some questions about what each of these actually mean.

One question I have here is why the Test Algorithm patent is shown with a publication number rather than the patent number; the patent (US11,788,962) was granted in October 2023. The second IP entry — the Fluidic Cartridge patent — is marked as pending, but it’s available to the public.

The third one had me flummoxed, so I checked with the team at Run8 Patent Group. They explained that that number is neither a patent nor a publication number: it’s a provisional patent number. We weren’t able to tell whether the patent was converted to a non-provisional patent, but at the very least, the terminology is confusing here.

The final entry on this list — for a Rapid Cartridge Modification — is also confusing. It appears that’s a law firm docket number, which isn’t much of an IP protection, and my friendly patent lawyer friends tell me that simply saying “filing in progress” may have been clearer and potentially a more honest description of what’s going on here.

Easy to understand (but …)

In slides 9 and 10, the company makes it very easy to understand how the system works:

These two slides do a good job explaining how a user would use the product. Insert sample, bacteria are captured, then tested, then you can read what the machine found. From a sales perspective — if I were a buyer of one of these machines — that’s a great top-level view over how a user would use the machine.

But, from the perspective of a consumer, this is how I would expect a machine like this to work. If I, a non-medically-trained person were to walk up to this machine, I think I could use it. the expectation of user experience is so high now, that this isn’t an innovation: This is how things should be. Of course, in medical devices, user experience is sometimes not a high pri