What is a Pitch Deck & How to Create One for Startups?

What is a pitch deck?

Startups quite often need a pitch deck to showcase themselves to prospective venture capital investors or angel investors. It is the first and most important step in the process of raising capital from investors. So it is very crucial that the deck is absolutely spot on and presents a compelling story. Before moving ahead, it is essential to understand in detail about pitch deck templates and their essential components.

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What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a concise presentation that gives the investors insights into your company, products or services you offer, your business model, your team members and the monetization strategy you have adopted. The pitch deck should usually consist of around 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation.

Time is money and capturing the minds of investors in the shortest possible time can make life easier for you. To achieve this, you must ensure that it is as precise as possible and highlights only the most relevant points about your business.

Many startups find it very time-consuming and tough to raise money from investors. In such a scenario, it becomes all the more important to craft a pitch deck that presents a very interesting story about your business. This article will help you gain relevant insights on how to create a pitch deck that is engaging and will make the right connection with investors. It will especially be useful for first-time entrepreneurs, for whom it can be quite overwhelming to create a deck that sells their ideas. However, great help is at hand as we share with you some incredible pitch deck samples from the leading startups that have raised money from angel investors and VCs.

How to create a pitch deck?

The founders of the startups ideally need two different pitch decks. The first version must be text-heavy and must present detailed information about your business, which is ideally shared via email. The second version must be visually appealing with minimal text. This is ideal when you are making the presentation personally, as your audience would have higher engagement due to the visual appeal of your slides. The key elements for both the presentations must remain the same, i.e. they must be clear with simple language and engaging for the audience.

Do’s and Don’ts while creating a pitch deck

Before creating a deck, you must also keep in mind a couple of important do’s and don’ts that can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that people make. Here are some essential tips curated from the best pitch deck templates:

Important things to keep in mind when creating the pitch deck for your startup:

  • Your pitch deck is your proprietary data and you must protect it by adding your copyright. Make a note on the cover slide, at the bottom of the page on the left-hand side, clearly indicating the content of the presentation is proprietary, confidential and that you own the copyright to the content.
  • Include images and infographics to increase the visual appeal of the pitch deck.
  • Do your research and make convincing statements about your business, its product or services and the business market in general.
  • Do show the investors that you have more than just an idea and its credible because you have already found avenues to attract customers, partners, etc.
  • Add memorable and interesting anecdotes and stories to give it a personal touch and highlight your passion.
  • Share the pitch deck with your prospective investors in a PDF format before you have a personal meeting with them. Avoid asking them to download it via any file sharing app, as it would add to their workload. Also, remain prepared for the demo if you are having an in-person presentation.
  • Maintain consistency in terms of visuals, fonts, colors, presentation of information, etc.

Important things to avoid when creating the pitch deck

  • The pitch should be ideally no longer than 15-20 slides because investors won’t really have that much of patience.
  • Don’t provide too many details, including financials, and don’t keep the slides very text-heavy.
  • Add only bullet points in the pitch deck and explain them in detail when you make the presentation.
  • Keep the deck free of jargons and keep the language and tone simple and easy to comprehend.
  • Do not talk negatively about the competitors.
  • Keep the pitch deck timeless. You can do this by not including any time-sensitive information like dates or metrics that are time-dependent.
  • Don’t have an amateurish layout or low-quality graphics in your deck. If need be, hire a professional to design your pitch deck. It’s your first sales tool, so making a good impression is vital.

Pitch deck templates

Now that you know what you must do and what you must avoid when creating a deck, it’s time to understand the key slides you must include based on some of the best pitch deck templates.

  • Company overview
    Summarize briefly about your business, its offerings, the experience of the leaders and traction already established.
  • Mission and vision statement
    It must be a 20-seconds-long elevator pitch that clearly highlights the difference you want to make through your business.
  • Your team
    This is the best slide that will showcase your talent and expertise at hand.
  • Problem
    Define the problem and state how big it is, why it is important and who will be the beneficiaries.
  • Solution
    The solutions must be very precise, goal-oriented and scalable. The solutions must also make sense in the present circumstances of the market. Most startups fail because either they are too early or too late with their solutions.
  • Products and services
    Clearly explain the key features and USP of your products and services.
  • Market
    Define your current market and the anticipated growth opportunities for the future.
  • Customers and partnerships
    If your business has had early traction in the form of customers or partnerships, a mention of that will lend credibility to your pitch deck.
  • Technology
    Highlight the key technologies and intellectual property rights you have.
  • Competitors
    Highlight your competitors, what are the key differentiators that separate you from them and the advantage you offer.
  • Business model
    Explain your pricing model, how you would make money, customer acquisition channels and costs, etc.
  • Marketing plan
    Give information about the key marketing channels, PR and buzz tactics, customer acquisition plans, etc.
  • Financials
    Explain your current financial situation, financial projections and other important metrics related to your business.
  • The Ask slide
    State your financial requirements, the expected utilization of that funding, the milestones you wish to achieve and a quick summary of your existing investors.
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Sample decks of some startups

To help you further, we have listed down some decks of top startups that have raised money and have become very successful today. Here are some pitch deck samples that you can use as an inspiration to create one for yourself.

  • Facebook
    In 2004, Peter Thiel, who is an entrepreneur and billionaire venture capitalist, became the first outside investor for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg received $500,000 from him and turned his dorm room project into a huge business. They did not have a pitch deck but had a media kit that included key metrics, value proposition, and marketing services for potential clients.
    The USP of their media kit was the numbers related to traffic, users, engagement and future growth prospects.
  • Airbnb
    It is one of the most inspirational startups in recent times and their pitch deck is widely referenced by startups around the world.
    The biggest attraction of their pitch deck is their introduction. Having an engaging pitch that can convey the message in the shortest time can be very vital for the success of your business.
  • LinkedIn
    Their pitch talks a lot about their company values, what makes them stand apart from other social networks and the value they bring to their audience.
    Their analogies Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0 and Search 1.0 vs. Search 2.0 offer an extensive analogy on their value as a business.
  • Buzzfeed
    They have managed to raise over $240 million so far for their viral content platform.
    The most important element of their pitch deck is their numbers and they have some really big numbers in terms of visitors, viewership and mentions on other larger platforms like CNN.
  • Buffer
    They managed more than half a million dollars and have managed to become popular because of their transparency. The founder of Buffer uploaded his winning pitch deck to help other startups attract funds from investors.
    Just like Facebook, they focused on showcasing big numbers, which was the prime highlight of their pitch deck.
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Conclusion

A pitch deck can make or break your business which makes it very important for you to have a professional deck. Include all these elements from the above pitch deck examples that investors like to see and make sure you keep your deck as engaging and compelling as possible.