Master Your Startup Pitch Deck
A pitch deck is a brief slide deck that you use to either enhance your pitch presentation to investors or that you use as a form of communication to encourage investors to meet with you. The goal of your pitch deck is to get investors to want to set up another meeting with you. You’re not going to get any money off your pitch deck alone. You can create your pitch deck using any slide software, like Google Slides, Keynote, PowerPoint, or Prezi.
Your pitch deck should be concise while still including the relevant financial and business information investors will need to decide that they should invest in your startup business. If you’re planning to send your pitch deck out to investors via email, make sure the deck is self-explanatory.
How to Create a Pitch Deck
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to create a pitch deck, but they all boil down to the same principles: keep it brief, and keep it specific.
Set aside some time to organize your pitch deck, validate all the information you include in it, and practice running through it to make sure your message is clear and concise (keep it to a presentation length of 10 minutes or less). If you’re sending your pitch deck out to investors via email, send it to some people who don’t know anything about your business first as a test run to see if you’ve included enough information.
Here are the first steps you’ll need to take to create your pitch deck:
1. Get your numbers in order
Great pitch decks include solid numbers about things like user engagement, annual revenue, monthly traffic, etc. Investors want to know your business has the potential to grow and make them a solid return. Put the numbers front and center to start your deck off with a bang. Take a look at Buzzfeed’s pitch deck along with the one that Buffer used to raise half a million dollars to get a feel for how powerful this type of intro can be.
2. Gather social proof
Including quotes about your company or product from major names, like Buzzfeed does, will catch your audience’s attention and add to your legitimacy. Also, if anyone on your team has worked for other successful and well-known businesses, list them! See how Square does this successfully on their third slide.
3. Know how you plan to spend the money
The most important thing for investors to see is that you have a plan for how you’re going to spend their money if they choose to get it. Nothing else really matters if you can’t clearly articulate this point in your pitch and back it up with accurate numbers.
What Slides Should be in Your Pitch Deck?
Like most things in life, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide to a pitch deck. There are, however, slides you definitely should include in your pitch deck that will give your audience the information they need. Here’s a general outline you can follow for designing your pitch deck. You might decide to change the order around depending on your specific situation.
Slide 1: Introduce to the problem
Grab your audience’s attention right away by pointing out what problem exists that your business solves. Take a look at how Air BNB gets straight to the point in their pitch deck.
Slide 2: Introduce the team
Humanize your business by Including your team’s relevant credentials and roles within the company. If the leadership team has a successful track record from successful big-name companies, then you may want to include this slide early in the presentation to gain trust and build credibility. If not, then this can move down lower in the deck.
Slide 3: Introduce your value proposition
Your value proposition is a short statement that details what your company does and what your vision is for the future. A good way to think of your value proposition statement is as a short 140 character tweet. The content needs to be precise and to the point.
Slide 4: Overview of the market and opportunity
Now that the formalities are out of the way, you can start getting to the real meat of your pitch deck. This slide will give an overview of the market and demonstrate the opportunity within the market for your company. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to demonstrate a market that’s larger than it really is. Investors are more likely to want to buy into your company if you can show that there’s a niche, targeted market and that your business has a real opportunity within that space.
Slide 5: The solution
Once you’ve given an overview of the problem, it’s time to show investors how your business is the solution. Use images as much as possible to show how your product or business provides the solutions to the problem you’ve already discussed.
Slide 6: Show how the product works
If your product isn’t readily understandable, then spend a slide showing investors how it works. Images are really useful here to give your audience a realistic feel for what the product is and how it’s intended to be used.
Slide 7: Financials
This is the slide that investors will likely spend the most time reviewing, so make sure it’s accurate and clear. Demonstrate how your business will make money and when you expect to start seeing revenue. If you’ve been in business for a few years, include a snapshot of your current earnings and growth over the years, like Moz does in their pitch deck.
Slide 8: Marketing strategy
Investors will want to see that you have a viable plan in place to sell to your target audience.
Slide 9: How you’ll use investors’ money
The best pitch decks demonstrate a clear understanding of how much money a business needs and what the money will be used for.
You may decide to include additional slides in your deck, but these nine should definitely be in there somewhere. Make sure to review our tips for how to pitch to investors, and tune in to our weekly radio program, or stream it here, to learn even more tips on how to raise capital from successful investors!