Creating a pitch deck for your start-up or product can be incredibly scary. When you’re the expert on the product, it can be hard to parse out the right information to include in the slides.
What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck, also called a slide deck or start-up deck, usually consists of 15-20 slides that share pertinent information about your start-up with potential investors. Typically they are made with PowerPoint, but other services like Canva, Visme, and Prezi are also used frequently.
A lot of people don’t know how to create a pitch deck, and structure it badly. Your pitch deck should consist of important information about your product, finances, funding needs, and business plan. Simply put, it is a visual aid used to tell the story of your business and persuade investors to be interested in your idea.
Why should I use a pitch deck?
The end goal is to find new investors, but that shouldn’t be the goal of the first presentation. Ideally, the first presentation should garner enough interest from investors; they invite you back. So instead of sharing every detail about your startup, share only the vital information that will keep investors hooked.
What to do when creating a pitch deck
- Tell the story of your business and share your passion for the product or service
- Make sure the visuals you include are engaging, professional, and tell the story well
- If your company is product-based, bring a prototype of the product for investors to see
- Share the pitch deck before the meeting in an easily downloadable format, like a PDF
- Align the pitch deck with your branding and company values
- Use the correct aspect ratio. The best aspect ratio for most monitors and TVs is 16:9
Don’t do this when creating a pitch deck
- Don’t share too much information. Too many slides and too many words per slide will make your presentation too long
- Don’t use complex words or acronyms- it’s best if your copy is easily understandable by someone outside your industry
- Don’t have poor-quality graphics. If needed, hire a pitch deck design agency.
What Slides To Include On Your Pitch Deck
Use the cover page to summarize your business, your location, and the problem you solve. Use the most important and persuasive pieces of information on this page. Make it as succinct and engaging as possible!
You can use bullet points or one concise sentence, but either way, make sure the slide does not have too many words. It should include your company name and visuals that convey your industry.
Mission & Vision
This page should include two-three sentences that cover your mission and vision statement.
Mission statement: Explains the business’s objectives and how it achieves them. For example, LinkedIn’s mission statement is, “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Vision statement: Describes the desired future state of the company. LinkedIn’s vision statement is, “To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
Think of this slide as your elevator pitch.
This slide should explain why this product or service was originally created. After reading this slide, investors should understand the unique value you bring to market.
These are some of the questions this slide should answer:
- What problem does the product or service solve?
- How large is the problem?
- Who has this problem?
- Is it a large problem for them?
Ideally, try to make the problem as relatable as possible so your investors can understand the need.
This is where you share how your product or service will solve the problem for your consumer. Instead of focusing on the details of your product or service, instead, focus on how the problem will be solved. For example, if you are creating a hairbrush, the problem being solved is tangled hair. Whereas the product description might be a small slab of wood with a handle that has spokes to comb through the hair.
This is where you get to explain the product or service in-depth. Share its key features through visual aids like photos and videos.
This is the big reveal, so make this slide count!
This is an essential slide to possible Investors.
In this slide, you’ll want to clearly define your market, share the possible size of your market, and share how your company will be a market fit.
Data will be necessary on this slide. Make sure to include industry revenue numbers and how much of that market the product or service can likely attract.
Be honest. Don’t try to oversell or overestimate your reachable market. Rely on industry data and tell an accurate story.
This is your chance to share details about your target audience or any customers your start-up has already acquired.
Spend a lot of time cultivating the details about your target audience so investors can understand who your product would serve.
This is a great place to share the details about the technology required to create the product or service. In this slide, share the details of the technology in layman’s terms, any patents or copyrights attached to the technology, and if the technology exists in other products and why yours is better.
Understanding the competition and how your product is unique is key to gaining investors’ interest. Make sure to cover these three questions:
- Who are the company’s competitors? This includes their product, audience, and the problem they solve.
- What gives your company a competitive advantage? Do you have a unique value proposition?
- How is your product different from your competitors?
A traction slide is not always necessary, but it can be a crucial reason investors decide to continue the conversation. A traction slide shares any success the company has achieved so far. This includes any sales, testimonials, partnerships, growth metrics, positive PR, etc.
Most businesses creating a slide deck will have some prior traction. If you’re worried your product has not received enough success yet, then focus on how your team is working to enhance and increase traction in the near future.
You can have a bit of fun with this slide. Share the name, photo, and title of key team members. Incorporate a short summary of the experience they bring to your company, including why they’re passionate about the project.
It is essential that possible investors understand the following from this slide:
- Why your team is the best team to run this company
- The past successes your teammates have had and how they can replicate those
- What makes your team stand out
- If you don’t have a full team, list the positions you need to fill and how you plan to do that
The Business Model
Now is the time to share how your product will make money for investors. Even if you’re not making a profit yet, you should be able to easily and concisely explain how your business model will begin to make profits in the future.
Also, share how much the product will cost so investors can determine whether the product will be a luxury or discount product.
This slide shows investors how you will enter and permeate the market. It needs to show how you will meet the goals you set for yourself in previous slides.
Make sure to cover the channels you are planning to use to market your business, including your previous successes on various marketing channels. Then, include the strategy behind each channel. If your marketing will be similar or different to your competitors, feel free to share it here.
You can also reshare the credentials of the person in charge of marketing on your team.
On your financials slide, include the following data points:
- Financial projections for the next year, 3 years, and 5 years.
- Unit economics: describes the revenues and costs associated with a single product unit.
- Burn rate: describes the amount of cash a company spends per month before generating a positive cash flow.
- Current revenue and expenses
- EBITDA: or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization which measures financial performance as an alternative to net income.
Above all, be honest about projections.
Now is time to share how much money your company is requesting, how the funds will help support the company, and how the money will be used. It’s best to show how any capital invested will help the company draw a profit sooner.
Be sure to share key milestones the investors can expect to see in the next year or two.
Finish the deck off with a simple “thank you” slide containing your contact information. When presenting your deck, this will be a good time to ask potential investors if they have any questions.