A pitch deck needs to be brief but also contain all the information possible to tell a compelling story about your company. There is also some debate over what to include and just how many slides it should have.
Everyone seems to have their own opinion, but there are key factors you can't exclude. Let's take a look at those.
Introduction to Your Company
Introduce your startup by using a title page of ten words or less. This is one of the shortest slides of the pitch deck and should include your business name and logo.
The company overview in the next slide should include a summary of 4 to 5 bullet points about your business. This includes products you offer, what problems they solve, why investors should care, your location, and your team's experience.
Develop Your Company’s Story
This is the main part of the pitch deck. You are telling investors all about your product, the benefits, the potential customers, and the financial outlook. You want to make sure you really sell yourself here. At the end of the day, investors want to know how they'll make their money back. Every slide should point towards that in one way or another.
Problem, Product, Solution
You've already briefly introduced your product and the problems it solves, but now it's time to really dig deep. When identifying the problem to investors, make sure to highlight why it's essential. Failing to stress the significance of the issue is a sure way to lose their interest.
When introducing your product, speak about the key features that set you apart from other startups’ products. Maybe it’s a new, sleek design—an improved spout for a tea kettle. Throughout the whole pitch, remember you’re trying to stand out and show you will make tons of revenue.
Your solution slide should show why yours is better than any other company on the market. What are you doing that they haven't done? How will it help more people, bring in more customers, and in turn, bring in more money?
This is where investors can tell if you’ve done your research. If you’ve done a thorough market analysis, you will thrive in this section of the pitch. You want to define your market in this slide and identify the following.
- How large is the market?
- Who wants your product?
- Who is your target audience?
- What does the competition look like?
Convincing investors that your market opportunity is key here. How do you do this? Gather as much data and graphs as you can. But don't shove all this information in there. Put only the most critical data on the slide. Gathering a lot of data helps you prepare for any questions thrown your way that may not be directly answered in your pitch deck.
Some may think speaking about the competition too much is a bad idea - that investors will know how well other startups are doing and begin to question if they should spend their time with you. But this isn’t the case because more times than not, investors already know all this information you’re trying to withhold.
Sharing the data on your competitors shows investors you’re serious about breaking into the market. It also gives you a chance to highlight your products compared to theirs. Whatever you do, don’t belittle the competition. When you do this, not only do you seem pompous, but you seem like more of a risk.
If you don't believe your competitors are doing well when investors know they are, they won't feel comfortable funding you. You're not taking risks seriously, so why should they take you seriously?
Investors' biggest concern is that they'll make all their money back. This slide should tell them just how you plan on doing that. You should discuss how you will make money, your pricing model, and your customer acquisition costs.
When identifying your customer acquisition costs, include the following.
- What marketing channels you’ll be using (social media, email marketing, TV)
- What and how many PR you’ll employ
- What recent press buzz you’ve gotten(can also be from social media)
Financials should include 3 to 5-year financial projections and key metrics like annual revenue and expenses. Make sure you have accurate and relevant data for this slide. This might be the most important slide in your deck because it's answering the central question: how will investors make their money back?
Investors are aware that a good company has a good team. Highlighting the strengths of everyone on the team and showing who they are can offer investors you've put in the effort to make your business successful. If you have any advisors, consultants, or board members, you will also increase your startup's credibility.
The final slide should end with another brief summary of 10 words or less. This will be a summary of all the information you shared and, essentially, a re-statement of the introduction slide. It should include your business name and logo.
Make it Visually Appealing
Now that you know the most important information to include, you need to know how to make it visually appealing. You want to capture investors' attention not only by what you say, but also by what they see. Keep the following in mind
- Include high-quality graphics and images
- Don’t use too much jargon your investor might not understand
- Don’t use too many wordy slides
- Use short and concise sentences to make slides easily scannable
- Your color scheme should you reflect your brand
With a great pitch deck, you increase the odds of your startup being financed.
The story you tell needs to be compelling and exciting. It should address all potential customers' problems and highlight how you're going to fill the gaps where this isn't being done currently. You should include extensively researched data relevant to your product and highlight how you stand out from the competition.
And most importantly, show investors how they’ll make their money back.