Start-ups often use a pitch deck (also known as a slide deck, start-up deck or investor deck) to present a brief but informative overview of their company to prospective angel or venture capital investors. Generally composed of 15 – 20 slides in a PowerPoint format, a pitch deck showcases a company’s products, technology, and team to the investor. It is an essential element in any fundraising toolkit.
At Bsbcon, we know that raising capital from investors is difficult and time-consuming. So we’ve put together this guide to investor pitch decks to help you create a robust and appealing pitch deck that adequately conveys your company’s story. We have also included links to sample pitch decks to refer to as you build your own.
Pitch Deck Do’s and Don’ts
What to Do:
- Do include “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.” at the bottom left of your pitch deck cover page.
- Do convince the prospective angel or venture capital investor why the market opportunity is ample.
- Do include visually exciting graphics and images.
- Do supply the pitch deck as a PDF to your prospective investors before you meet with them.
- Do demonstrate your product as part of your in-person presentation.
- Do convey a compelling, impressive, and fascinating story that shows your passion for your business.
- Do show that you don’t just have an idea but that you’ve also had early traction on product development, acquiring customers, and signing up partners.
- Do have a soundbite for investors to remember you by.
- Do use consistent font size, colour, and header title style throughout your presentation.
What to Not Do:
- Don’t make your pitch deck too long. We recommend 15 – 25 slides at the most. I
- Don’t make your slides too wordy.
- Don’t get into too much detail with your finances. You can always provide this in follow-up.
- Don’t try to cover it all in your deck. Instead, add and highlight information in your in-person presentation.
- Don’t use jargon or acronyms that the investor may not easily understand.
- Don’t underestimate or put down the competition.
- Don’t date your deck by having an old date on the cover page or information or metrics that look stale or outdated.
- Don’t use an unprofessional layout, graphics, or an overall low-quality look or
Examples of Pitch Decks
Looking at example pitch decks before starting your own can be beneficial. You can find many great examples online, including:
- Google’s Template Pitch Deck for Start-ups
- LinkedIn’s Pitch Deck for Its Series B Round
- Facebook’s Original Pitch Deck from Spring 2004
- Airbnb’s Pitch Deck for Its Angel Round
- com Pre-Launch Investor Pitch Deck
How To Layout Your Pitch Deck
In this guide to investor pitch decks, we recommend laying out the slides in your deck as follows:
Slide 1: Company Overview
With this slide, you want to grab the reader and convince them of your company’s potential large-scale growth by summarizing in four to six bullet points:
- your business
- what problem it solves
- where you are located
- the experience of the management team
- any key traction already established
Slide 2: Mission/Vision of the Company
Approach this slide as you would with a 15-second elevator pitch by concisely sharing your mission and vision statements. For example, at Bsbcon our mission is to transform business concepts into industry-leading companies. Our vision is entrepreneurs have ample access to capital, thus turning great ideas into action.
Slide 3: The Team
Your team will often play a huge role in whether an investor decides to fund you or not. To ensure they do, we recommend including:
- Pictures of the key team members
- Titles of the team members
- A summary of prior employment of the team showing industry experience and relevant expertise
- Advisors, consultants, and board members (designed to bolster credibility)
If you don’t have a complete team yet, we recommend identifying the key positions you need to fill and why they are critical to your company’s growth.
Slide 4: The Problem
This is where you define the problem or need your start-up is solving. Be sure to include:
- How big is the problem?
- Why is it important?
- Who are you solving the problem for?
- Who are your target customers?
Try to position your problem as a relatable story. This will help your investors better understand your business and your goals.
Slide 5: The Solution
Now it’s time to convey your proposed solution, including why it’s better than other solutions already on the market. Wherever possible, do some show and tell using pictures and stories. There may be some overlap between this slide and the product slide.
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Slide 6: The Product
Next, you will articulate what your company’s product or service consists of and why it is unique by answering the following questions:
- What are the key features of the product?
- Why do users care about the product?
- What are the major product milestones?
- What are the key differentiated features of the product?
- What are additional product features planned?
Using images, visuals, or videos can add value here.
Slide 7: The Market Opportunity
Investors want to invest in significant opportunities with large addressable markets. So on your “Market Opportunity” slide, you want to:
- Define the market you are in. Again, this should be specific and reachable.
- Outline who your customer is and how many of them there are.
- Confirm the total market size
- Include graphs showing that your company will be addressing a large part of the available market.
Slide 8: The Customers
If your company has early customers, this slide can add credibility to your pitch deck. When your customers are well known or you have high-value partners, we always recommend adding their logos to the slide.
Slide 9: The Technology
Investors want to know about the underlying technology that you are using, both existing and in development. Therefore, on this slide, you want to address:
- Your basic technology backbone
- Any critical intellectual property rights your company has on the technology (patents, patents pending, copyrights, trademarks, domain names)
- Why your technology is or will be superior
- Why a competitor will experience difficulty replicating your technology
Slide 10: The Competition
An investor will always be concerned about your competitors and expect you to understand how your competitors can impact your business. It’s essential, therefore, to have the answers to the following questions:
- Who are your competitors?
- What gives your company a competitive advantage?
- What are your top differentiating features?
Slide 11: Traction
When your company has obtained some early traction, investors will view this positively because it reduces risk. Showing that your solution works to solve the problem you’ve identified is tremendously powerful. We recommend highlighting:
- What early traction has your company received (sales, website traffic, app downloads, growth metrics)?
- Any strategic partnership you have entered into
- How you can accelerate this early traction
- Any press or accolades received
- Any testimonials provided
A product or company roadmap showing key milestones can be valuable to include here as well.
Slide 12: Business Model
On this slide, you want to address the main components of your business model, namely:
- How do you make money?
- What is your pricing model?
- What is the long-term value of a customer?
- What are your customer acquisition channels and costs?
Slide 13: The Marketing Plan
This slide will show how you are going to acquire your customers or users by sharing:
- The key marketing channels you will use (paid search, social media, TV, radio, email marketing)
- The early successes you have had and which channels have performed best
- Your preliminary customer acquisition costs per customers and your projected lifetime value of a customer
- The public relations strategy you will be employing
- Any early press or buzz you have received
Slide 14: Financials
This slide helps potential investors understand your company’s current financial situation and your monthly or yearly cash status while you develop and market your company. You can include:
- Three- to five-year financial projections
- Unit economics
- Burn rate
- Key metrics that are important to the business (such as annual recurring revenue)
- Total revenue and expenses
- Key assumptions
Always make sure your projections are realistic. You don’t want to risk your prospective investors questioning them as absurd or not believable.
Slide 15: The Ask
Closing out your slide deck and marking the end of this guide to the investor pitch deck, this slide should address:
- The amount of money you are seeking (a range is permitted)
- How long you think the financing will last
- The significant milestones you perceive being able to reach with the financing
- Your key use of the proceeds from the investment (technology and product development, new hires, capital expenses, marketing)
- Who your existing investors are (highlighting the well-known ones)
Now that you have a chance to review this guide to investor pitch decks, it’s time to create your pitch deck. In addition to answering all of the above questions, you also want to ensure that the story you are telling is compelling and exciting. This will generate excitement with your potential investors and hopefully engage them in a conversation about your business, leading to further meetings, questions, and ultimately an investment.
At Bsbcon, we’re here to help support you in taking charge of your business’s future. If you need to talk through ideas for your pitch deck or if you would like to retain our professional pitch deck development services, we will be happy to assist you. Our team of specialized business consultants has a track record of successful turnarounds, start-ups, and helping established companies grow their revenues and earnings. Contact us today to learn more.