The Holy Grail for your Pitch Deck
Written by Arjun Kunnath
Often as a founder, you'd have come across several articles that talk about certain "nonpareil" pitch decks that helped their respective startups raise funds during their initial years. Some of these articles walk you through the logic behind every single slide. Others advise you to emulate those pitch decks, and then there are a few who provide editable templates for the same. Well, the truth is, you cannot create your pitch deck using any of them - at least not one thatconveys your business concept best. The reason: your business is different, and so naturally, the context. This means your story isdifferent, and so should the visual design. On the other hand, however, there's a lot one can learn from them - the knack of storytelling,tactful usage of data to back up claims, and compelling visual language that helps simplify the message. In short, there isactually not a perfect blueprint for a pitch deck. The ideal content and design for a pitch deck depend on the stage, segment, and character of each individual startup as well as the recipient (each VC has its own preferences). Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get started.
First, what is a Pitch?
"Pitch" in the business context was a term that was coined to explain the art of describing a product, a company, or an idea to an audience, thereby tempting them to buy it.When you are pitching your startup, you are giving away information about your company and its projected success to convince a potential investor to purchase shares in your company and it's future success (equity).
And, what is a Deck?
Way before powerpoints, keynotes, and even computers came to light, people used to gather in meeting rooms with dim lights and overhead projectors to explain ideas and concepts. They used viewfoils that had diagrams and charts drawn on it (which were loaded on to the overhead projector) as an aid to their speech. These individual foils were called slides, and when a set of foils were put together for a presentation, it was called a deck of slides. These terms stuck over time, and now you will often hear presentations, slides, and slide deck all used interchangeably.A "deck," therefore, is a collection of visually and textually rich, meaningful slides that acts asa visual aid to a speech. These sets of slides are usually in the form of static Powerpoint, keynote, Google slide format, or in other better engaging ways.
What is a Pitch Deck – Putting them both Together
A sequence of slides that has a strong narrative and visually pleasing design put together to convey information about a company, product, or an idea to an audience is called a pitch deck. This pitch deck can be sent to a potential investor(in the hopes that it garners an in-person meeting), or it can be used as a visual aid during a live in-person or virtual pitch.
Next - Is it time for your startup to work on your pitch deck?
We all hear the beautiful things that people say about startups:
Follow your passion and live the life you want to!
Sell for a billion dollars and live the rest of your life like a rockstar!
You don't have to wear pantyhose ever, ever again!
Although most of it is true, growing a business from scratch involves a lot of hard work and patience. And amidst all the hustle comes the term "prioritize." In an early-stage startup, these priorities shift axis every single day. And then to top it all comes opinions on your To-do's from mentors, advisors, and accelerator programs. All this only leads to chaos and confusion. So, just like any other thing, figuring out when to start working on your pitch deck is yet another ordeal. It's either too early, too late, or juuuust PERFECT. Here, we shall go through all of them - one at a time.
It's too early to start working for a pitch deck when:
1You are all jacked up about being an entrepreneur, but don't have a valid business idea.
2You have a concept in mind but haven't dug enough to verify and validate the idea.
3You have inherited many riches and don't need any financial help to execute even the craziest of business ideas.
Essentially, if you don't have an operational startup (of any stage) or even a fleshed-out business concept, it's too early for you also to start thinking of a pitch deck. In any other given situation, you're either too late, or it's just about time. For a young company, having a pitch deck will prove to be quite useful at all times. The deckwill help you and the team maintain consistency through your sales and marketing path. You can align your website, social media, and all other company touchpoints to your pitch deck, thereby keeping the narrative the same throughout for your customers and investors.
It's probably a tad too late to start working for a pitch deck when:
1You have only six months of cash runway in your business, and so you're left with no choice but raise funds immediately.
2A potential investor has asked you for your pitch deck (and you haven't even begun building one).
3There is a huge pitch competition coming up, and it's in less than a week away.
If you fall into this category, then remember - "The best day to plant a tree was 40 years ago,the 2nd best day is today." It's quite natural that you're going through some real FOMO right now, but there is always today. Putting together your perfect pitch deck now is the best thing you can do now. Also, priority!
Speaking of time, the perfect time to start working on your pitch deck lies somewhere between "too early" and "a tad too late." It all depends on the stage of the business you're in.
Let's now talk a bit about different business stages to give you more clarity.
The idea genesis stage
This stage could also be way before the formal company incorporation (although it's quite useful to get things rolling sooner). If you know what problem your business idea is going to solve, who your customers are going to be, and how this problem is being dealt with today, then it's a great time to start working on your deck. In addition, if you have done a market and competition analysis and some preliminary pricingand financial projections, that's even better! Let's get that pitch deck started!
The infancy stage
You've been doing this for quite some time now. You know what you're doing and what your future goals are. You are probably making a buck here and there. Your product is in beta or just launched. You have a couple of co-founders and team members along for the ride. You're feeling confident and have clarity on your future goals. If this is the case, it's the perfect time for you to start building your deck. Even if you're not looking to raise funds now, you can use the pitch deck to inspire your team, show them what you must all as a team need to achieve.
You mean business, stage
Things are moving fast. You're either bootstrapped or raised a seed fund from family and friends. You have success stories. You have traction, and there is good revenue coming in. You're paying your vendors and employees on time, and you have stable paying customers. Things are good. But, you can foresee that growth plateau. And you realize that a substantial infusion of capital can help bolster your growth. It's time to get serious. It's time to build that compelling pitch deck that clearly shows your financials and your know-how of the business you're running. It's time to raise funds to support your business as it strives for the next level of success.
The Veteran Founder stage
Right. So, you've raised funds before, and you already have a ready to go pitch deck. You probably also have a mentor/advisor asking you to update it.Now, if you're really planning to raise funds again, it's time you start revamping and updating it. But you already know that since this isn't your first rodeo. Probably, in the last round, you couldn't pull off the best for your deck. So this is the right time for your perfect pitch.This time, you can narrate better, design better, and back up all your success claims with #s. Now that we've covered the "What" and "When," let's get into the "How"... Business owners are generally excited about their business and so tend to over-communicate. And the one thing you - as a business owner - must refrain from doing when building a pitch deck is cluttering slides with information or, having slides laid out in a disorderly fashion. Now, because we don't want a pitch deck where entropy reigns supreme, let's go through a broad structure ...
Key slides in a pitch deck
Although, according to the 10/20/30 rule, one shouldn't have more than ten slides in a pitch deck, it's honestly quite difficult to do so.Most pitch decks have 15-20 slides because that's how much it takes to explain a business. Moving on to the must-have components of a pitch deck,
Although people ask you not to judge a book by its cover, how often do you not do so? The human nature is such that we naturally set our minds to think of a thing in a certain way based on the first look we have of it.Which is why, even if the cover slide has only the name of the company on it, it holds equal importance as the rest of the slides. Because the opening slide is the first slide, investors aregoing to see. It's crucial that you get it right. So, here goes:
1Large Text The title must be clear and prominent. It's the first thing the eyes are drawn to.
2Images Use images or illustrations. They make the slide so less boring.
3Contact info If you're presenting before a large audience, this is definitely worth adding. Given that there will be investors in the audience, it's valuable to see your name and contact details. This way, they won't recall you as "the movie booking app guy."
4Social media handles If you have a large following on social media, this is definitelysomething you want to put up there. Also, come to think of it, this is social proof. Investors can check you out and see what users are talking about your product. Also,it is proof that you place your customers first (all the engagements).
5Tag line This is where you explain in the simplest of words about what you do
KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid. This is precisely what you need to keep in mind when you're on the elevator pitch slide. Elevator pitches should be comprehensive yet concise. It must cover the 'what,' 'how,' and 'when' of the business. Also, stay away from jargon and industry-specific terms (unless the investor is from the same background). There is no harm in starting with an elevator pitch. You don't always need to intrigue the investor with a Problem-Solution. Instead, you can just get to the point and then begin the narrative from the next slide. Investors get more than a hundred decks a week. When you email a deck to them, they wantto triage as fast as possible. This is where your elevator pitch will come handy. So use the most straightforward language possible in this slide to help the investor decide more quickly. Even if they're not interested, you'll know sooner. And that is so much better than chasing them for a meeting and wasting time.
"Get to the value prop sooner" - is a popular pitch deck preach. Many people begin their deck with the solution (we're not talking about the elevator pitch slide). But, how can one relate to the solution if they don't know what problem you are solving? Take a look at this, for instance - "About ten years ago, shoppers used to buy things this way. But now, things have changed. The buyer's journey has taken a sharp turn, and merchants are in trouble." Here, you're being taken on a walk through the journey of how shopper behavior has changed over time. Perhaps, you're now able to relate to it personally. You probably have so many ideas running in your head at this point, and we still haven't discussed the solution. You're certainly hooked, and you have an emotional connect with the story. Similarly, on your pitch deck, if you explain the problem, the investor understands that it is worth solving. Because if investors can't empathize with the problem and feel it is worth solving, then why should they fund you? So, on the problem slide, you need to explain very specifically:
1What the exact pain point is
2That it is excruciating
3Who specifically has this problem
4Your solution for it
Here, on this slide, you tell how your solution will solve the problems that you addressed in the previous slide. Maybe you think that your product/service can do many things. Perhaps it's a power-packed,all-in-one go-to solution that you have on your mind. But, that won't cut it.You need to niche down. You need to focus on specific sets of features that will help a particular category of people. Once you've identified who your TG is, explain how your solution will solve for them. Explain how it is different from the existing solutions out there. The core goal here is to explain how your solution will tap into the emotional, compelling, evolutionary needs that we as humans have.
The product demo
Even if your problem-solution is on point, your investor would definitely want to see how yourproduct works. The earlier the stage you are in, and the lesser metrics you have, the more critical this slide is. If you're in the growth stage, they tend to care less, because your very existence in the market is proof that you're scaling. Most often, you're going to send the deck before the meeting. So, have a product slide in thepitch deck that contains critical functions of the product. Explain those critical functions at a high level so that the investor understands the core of the product. Your product slide should illustrate your solution. Some of the ways you can do this are:
1Live product demos
If you're sending the deck across via mail, then it's highly recommended that you use simple screenshots of your product. This way, the file that you're shipping across won't be bulky, and you'll have a lot more to show and talk to the investor once he/she shows interest in your product. But, if it's an in-person demo -where you're presenting it to an audience or just your investor-have a pre-recorded video of your product functionalities ready. Of course, a live demo of your product is cool too. Apple pulls that off every year neatly. But at the same time, you need to make sure that there are no goof-ups, or at least have a back-up for contingencies. For instance, the internet may not work, your product may hang, or the bulletproof windowpane of your cybertruck may just shatter (we know that was a marketing stunt, but regardless). In all cases, rehearse. You need to know every word you are going to say. Your pitch must be a conversation - polished, but not robotic.
Market size is vital as it helps investors understand if your business is actually worth investing in. It tells your investor how much potential is really out there. So, bigger the better There are two ways to go about with your market size data - top-down or bottom-up. Top-down is when someone else has calculated the size and reported it - such as Forrester or Gartner. But if you're entering into a new market, you don't have top-down at your disposal. You have to go with the bottom-up-which is a little hard considering the amount of research and surveys that you need to invest in.With bottom-up, you need to figure out your numbers, such as TAM, SAM, and SOM from your metrics like ARPU, repurchases, how many customers you get, etc.
Every business model has a revenue slide that shows a "hockey stick" where your concept is adopted worldwide, and your revenue grows exponentially. Everyone expects to see this.One thing that you must keep in mind when building out this slide in your pitch deck (actuallyway before you build the slide) is to have a clear set of revenue streams. Having too many may seem smart to you. However, investors can identify baloney from a mile away. So stick to the basics. A smart way to populate this slide is by having two sections to it - Current/organic and Greenfield. Current revenue streams will include your transactional and recurring fees, while Greenfield should list out immediate possibilities like ads, data as a service, payment gateways, etc.You don't need to overdo this slide. Keep it simple, because once your investor shows interest, you can always talk about endless possibilities of revenue generation.
The primary purpose of this slide in your pitch deck is to demonstrate that you know your business and the industry in and out. Although it is essential to list out competitors in your pitch deck, if you think that they are direct competitors and you don't want your investors to see them yet (if you can't justify how you're different from your competitors in your pitch deck), then knock this slide off.But chances are, even if you remove the slide from your pitch deck, you'll be asked how you're different from another product that they know. Which is why, if you plan on populating this slide, make sure you talk about the competitive advantages rather than randomly listing out logos of your competitors. Maybe you cannot beat your competitors head-on, however, figure out that niche where you can with a maniacal focus on the customer.
Customer acquisition plan
It's great that you've built a product. It is even great that you have a robust business model inplace. But it doesn't end there. For your business model to work, you need a fleshed out, thoroughly thought through Go-to-Market plan. You need to have your marketing stint in place. Over the years, marketing has evolved. There are more number of platforms and even more devices. Your customers are all over the place, and you need to make wise choices as to where you'd want to communicate with them. This slide in your pitch deck should demonstrate how you plan on acquiring your customers. It should talk about the strategy, theplatforms, the cost to acquire, and the resultant ROI.
70% of the time, investors take the final decision (even if your product is kickass and will scale through the roof) based on who the promoters are. Most often, they invest in people more than the idea itself. Investors look for relevant skill sets and experience; they want to know if the team is capableof running the business and make the venture a success. So, it is very, very crucial that you get this slide right in your pitch deck. Some even say that it is clever to have the team slide right at the top, just after your elevator slide.
The whole point of you building out a pitch deck boils down to this slide. Now that you've spoken of the problem and your solution, the numbers, and your marketing ideas, you get to the point where you ask for funds to scale your business. Now, when you're talking of raising funds, an optimum way of asking is for a capital that comfortably gets you to a milestone that helps you raise the company's value. What you plan to achieve with the money is a crucial yardstick. Investors often look at the time you took to reach where you are. They will gauge your potential based on your projected milestones. You generally display your fund breakup in three buckets:
1Hires, to help build your products
2Hires to assist with marketing campaigns and get customers
3Cost to run the company
Pitch decks have been around for quite some time now. Over time, expectations have changed, design guidelines have evolved, and above all, investors are more specific about the pitch deck format they are comfortable with. Regardless, there are a couple of pitch decks that stood out over time. More importantly, they tell you how far a great pitch deck can take you and your company.
Pitch Decks that made it
Airbnb connects travelers and local home-owners so that home-owners can earn from their properties, and travelers can fully immerse themselves in the local culture while enjoying a 'home-away-from-home' experience. Chesky got turned down by five investors when they were trying to raise $150,000 way back in 2009. Two more investors didn't bother replying.Then again, Pitch Deck wasn't around...
Buffer was founded in 2010 and is one of the most successful and well-known SaaS startupstoday. The team raised an initial USD 400K round of funding in 2010, which they used to grow the company up to a $60M valuation for the Series A financing in Oct-2014. Early traction and cash flow positive were key variables to Buffer's success.Now, as much as we love Buffer, we at Presentations. AI have several questions regarding the thought behind the design of their Pitch Deck. For instance, the competitive landscape slide from their original deck is very confusing. When you email such investor pitch deck out,and you always will, investors will see this and not understand your competitive landscape and think that you have no understanding of whom you are competing against. Moreover, chances are Investors may also overlook you because your market looks way too big and you are going to get washed out or ignored inevitably.
Jonah Peretti says that it wasn't easy raising money in the early days of BuzzFeed. But despite the criticism and questions being asked by investors, BuzzFeed managed to get funded $3.5M by Hearst Ventures back in 2008. With a global audience running into hundreds of millions, BuzzFeed has been a trendsetter with an extensive coverage of breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video from around the globe."
While Mikael Cho started off now knowing what a funding deck was, he and his team mastered the art of making excellent investment pitch decks. Their $10M Series A funding is proof positive of how much they improved their pitch.A veritable LinkedIn for web designers and developers, Crew, is the world's first marketplacewhere curated talent is matched with vetted prospects who have projects that need to be built.
Not having put a deck together for either of their seed fund rounds, Mathilde Collin found it relatively hard to prepare a pitch deck that would resonate with her Series A investors." Theyraised 10 Million dollars eventually. +100 for perseverance, we say. Starting out as an app to manage shared email addresses, Front has evolved into a full-fledged support center where you can collaborate, comment, assign and reply to support requests that are received across a variety of email addresses.
The founders of Foursquare cashed in their first paychecks after nine months of hard work. The small start led to the massive growth that made Foursquare the most sought-after company in local services intelligence. They raised $1.5M.Foursquare uses location intelligence to build incredibly rich consumer experiences and informed business decisions by surfacing new places, with recommendations from a trusted community."
It is often argued that it is hard to succeed in the startup world without a disruptive idea or a product that belongs to a new category. However, it is sometimes enough to capitalize on better solutions for an existing problem, and Intercom did just that. Known for its iconic 49$/month blue button that sits on the corner of more than 25,000 websites, Intercom has pioneered the business-to-client messaging business, providing live assistance via chat to the customers of multi-billion companies such as Yahoo!, Hootsuite and InVision. A day after the company announced that it had raised $50 million in an investment round led by Index Ventures, the co-founder and CEO of Intercom Eoghan McCabe shared in a post what the first pitch deck of the startup looked like. "Yesterday, we announced Intercom had raised $50 million in an investment round led by Index Ventures. So today, I thought it would be interesting to share the first pitch deck I ever used for Intercom. It's from late 2011. When raising $600,000 was a monumental task. And when I thought it could get us to profitability." Eoghan McCabe The pitch deck has eight slides, covering the most critical aspects of the business – starting with the team and continuing with the problem, the solution, the market, the competition, the progress and, finishing with a slide, highlighting what they are looking for.Check out the Intercom Pitch Deck from late 2011 which was used to raise $600,000
When LinkedIn was raising a Series B round, VCs weren't investing in consumer internet ventures. Despite those odds, the founders considered this a window of opportunity for themto prove that they had nailed product-market fit. They raised $10M. A dynamic and visual representation of your resume, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site available today. LinkedIn provides a way to connect with other professionals and helps you stay in contact with millions of users.
While pitching for funding, Mattermark found it hard to prove product-market fit, so Danielle wrote a Medium post explaining their relevance. With this in mind, we've made visual storytelling an essential component of Pitch Deck. They raised $6.5M. Mattermark is the 'Google for business people' helping investors analyze business information and answer questions about companies that they want to deal with.
Mixpanel is one of the most progressive analytics platforms for SaaS businesses. It helps businesses grow by providing them with data that was previously never at their disposal. Mixpanel helps them identify how their users behave and use their products by tracking activities of the people rather than just page views alone. advancedMixpanel was incubated by Y Combinator and launched in 2009. Considering that they raised their new round from their existing investors, they did somethingright, which obviously took more than a pitch to pull off. If you can solve a really compelling problem that gets people to pay you for it, at some point consistently, investors will be interested in being a part of it. The trick to getting profitable... solve problems for people who will pay you money. Mixpanel has been around for a while, but still, they needed to get their metrics right to raise new funds. However, in the Mixpanel pitch deck, they covered most aspects of their company mission and objectives. Mixpanel was valued at $865 M at the time of its funding. The company has since successfully closed five rounds of investments (including some significant investors such as Sequoia Capital). After closing their most recent round of investment in 2014 ($65 M - SeriesB), they decided to share the Mixpanel pitch deck publicly to the world. This is an excellent opportunity for startups on the rise to learn from a successful investor deck, and understand what the selling points that should be in your slides are.
The investment process was familiar - a call expressing interest, a request for data, a request for more in-depth data, repeat. This is what inspired us at Pitch Deck to provide presentation insight and track their effectiveness. They raised $18M. Moz is a leading provider of basic and advanced SEO research tools that has grown from being a large and supportive community to a set of SEO tools that are so well made that competing SEO companies use them.
Neumann arrived in New York soon after his service in the Isreali Military in the year 2001. He started off his entrepreneurial journey with a company called Krawlers - that sold padded baby clothes for infants who are in the crawling phase.Incidentally, Miguel McKelvey -co-founder at WeWork-was working in the small building as Neumann did, as a lead architect at a small firm.Now, Neumann had also dipped his toes in Real Estate at that time.And so, he fell in love with a vacant warehouse on Water Street while he was working in Dumbo, Brooklyn.Neumann and his new friend Mckelvey struck a deal with the landlord to start a real-estate business - Green Desk.Fun Fact: When Neumann approached the landlord to enquire about the property, the latter teased him by saying, "You're in baby clothes. What do you know about real estate?"And Neumann shot right back, saying, "Your building is empty. What do you know about real estate?"Green Desk–which is still on the same building–is operational even today.In 2008, Green Desk took the shape of WeWork, an early incarnation of the model–A co-working space that had recycled furniture, office supplies, and free-trade coffee.Neumann and McKelvey gradually realized that the idea of being in a community is what people liked more than a sustainable office. And so, in 2010, they sold Green Desk and decided to sail on the WeWork journey.With just $300,000 between the both of them, they convinced a landlord to rent them a floor of his building for a month on a trial basis.WeWork privately filed IPO paperwork in December 2018 as The We Company. Neumann declared the filing four months later in April 2019.WeWork is one of those startups that came to the market at the right time and capitalized fear of missing out (FOMO) with the investors.WeWork's business model is fairly simple - They don't own any properties, but instead, they take long-term leases in centrally located neighborhoods in major cities. And to be lucrative, they charge the members more than what they are paying the landlords. They also have side incomes from their affiliate services, such as selling health care to their members.Check out the WeWork pitch deck that they used to raise $335 million from investors, including Goldman Sachs, Wellington Management, and JP Morgan Chase, which valued the company at $5 billion.
YouTube, today, is anyone's go-to platform for education, entertainment, and business.But back in February 2005, YouTube was just a video-sharing website created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim–all ex-PayPal.The idea is said to have born at a dinner party–a year before the official launch- in San Fransico. It is said that Karim's idea for YouTube was inspired by two events–Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, and the devastating Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.The first video that was uploaded was that from Karim himself, named, "Me at the Zoo." Their breakthrough video that hit more than a million views was that of a Nike ad. Post this, in November, they landed their first-ever funding ( we will discuss the slides from the legendary YouTube pitch deck later on in the article) of $3.5 million from Sequoia Capital. YouTube officially launched out of Beta on December 15, 2005. At the same time, Google realized that this small company with very little revenue is proliferating with user adoption, and is growing much faster than Google video. Soon after, in 2006, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65B. The rest is history. Here, we'll look into the YouTube pitch deck that the founders used to raise their initial fund round with Sequoia Capital. The deck has everything why the founders even thought of YouTube. The YouTube pitch deck is very basic - it has only ten slides.
A world without Facebook is unimaginable. Sharing stories, posts, news, and even memorable events from our daily lives are what Facebook is all about. Today, also running a business without a Facebook page is unthinkable. However, back in 2004, when Mark and Eduardo kicked off with this fantastic social networking platform, things weren't so smooth.Peter Thiel - a billionaire, VC, and an entrepreneur himself - was the first outside investor who invested in Facebook back in 2004. Mark raised $500,000 from Peter. While they never had an investor deck per se, they managed to raise that amount with a neatly fleshed out media kit. It contained everything from their Vision, mission, goals, objectives to even how they will eventually make money.
Paris, 2008. That is where Uber was originally born. Two friends- Travis Kalanick and GarrettCamp- were present at LeWeb - an annual tech conference. Before attending the shindig, both men had sold their startups for large sums. Travis Kalanick had his Red Swoosh acquired by Akamai Technologies for $19 million, while Camp sold StumbleUpon to eBay (EBAY) for $75 million. So the idea for Uber was born on one of these nights of the conference when the duo was unable to get a cab back home. Their plan initially was to create an app for a timeshare limo service. They both went separate ways after the conference, but Camp couldn't shake off the idea from his mind. He was so fixated on the concept that he ended up purchasing the domain UberCab.com. The ease at which a cab could be hailed while sitting at home gassed the app's rising popularity. With one click, aride could be ordered; the location could be identified; cab could be tracked, and the cost was automatically charged to the card on the user account. In October 2010, the company received its first significant funding, a $1.25 million round led by First Round Capital. On Uber's ninth anniversary, co-founder Garrett Camp shared the company's first pitch deck.However, company growth and drama aside, there's a lot to be learned from Uber's deck.
Vettery recently raised $9M in Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners and Raine Ventures. The remarkable 9-slider pitch deck that closed the deal is an epitome for entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funding for their startups. They raised $9M.Vettery is a trusted hiring marketplace built to help people find their dream jobs. With a combination of big data and a platform where candidates and recruiters can interact in real-time, Vettery outmaneuvers traditional hiring solutions. These companies that managed to raise a few thousand or a couple mils had a robust base to their pitch decks. They were well aware of what would stick and what would be cringe-worthy. Let us now look at some of the Do's and Dont's when you build out your pitch deck.
Pitch Deck Do's
Story is key.
Everyone loves to hear a story. Start your presentation with a relatable story, rather than spending time introducing yourself. Start immediately with your pitch deck and a story that illustrates your subject matter. And use a narrative when you move from one slide to another.
Numbers say a lot about the company. They say traction speaks louder than words. Traction is proof that the company has performed well and that it CAN grow in the future. Traction also shows how systematic you are with your execution. It gives a fair idea if the company is actually shooting for the stars or will lead the investors up a gum tree.
Start with a Bang
This is not the case with pitch decks alone. In any form of communication, if you can't interest your audience in the first few seconds, then it's not worth it. So, start your pitch deck with something that stands out. It could be stats, a quote, or even a testimonial from your customer. Whatever you choose, your audience should want to know more after going through the first slide.
Story is key.
Everyone loves to hear a story. Start your presentation with a relatable story, rather than spending time introducing yourself. Start immediately with your pitch deck and a story that illustrates your subject matter. And use a narrative when you move from one slide to another.
One idea. One slide.
Be it your problem slide or your market size slide, try to stick to one topic per slide. Easier to explain. Easier to understand. For instance, say your business idea is an e-commerce solution for local businesses. Now, you would address different problems faced by the store owners and their customers in your pitch deck. The point here is, it'd be far more comfortable if you had the problems split into two slides - one for the consumer and one for the store owner.
Either keep apples or oranges in the basket. Don't mix them.Design consistency is very crucial. People understand the visual language a lot more than before. They see so many cool designs online. So if not for something out of the box ( because not all of us are designers), you need to maintain a balance in your pitch deck design. For instance, using line icons and solid icons intermittently throughout the pitch deck is not kosher. Similarly, you also need to stick to a color palette - necessarily your brand colors. That way, you can maintain design consistency across the board.
Pitch Deck Don'ts
Limit the bullets
The world could be your oyster and all that. But, bullet points are just too old. Remember those boring white slides with a heading in Calibri and eight bullet points under it in a pitch deck? Yeah, that. Stay away from it. It is unattractive and will kill the buzz way before you even start your pitch. There are so many other ways for you to portray bullet points in a pitch deck.
Limit the slide count
Your business is your baby. And quite naturally, you have so much to talk about it. But the people listening to you, they get hundreds of pitch decks every day. And the last thing they want from you is a pitch book. So, pick out critical elements from your pitch, and lay it out neatly in your deck.
Don't make the slide verbose
This one is similar to the previous tip. It is only normal that you want to say so much about everything related to your business. But, the key to a compelling pitch deck - along with other critical aspects - is to maintain brevity. Keep the slides compact. Use icons and fewer texts.
Don't make the slides too static
Your pitch deck doesn't need to be deathly boring with no animations or transition effects. Use dynamic slides in a way that captures your audience and, at the same time, pushes your message rightly.With modern pitch deck tools, you can get the right animation with zero effort - thus creating a visual storytelling experience.
Get started with your Pitch Deck
Although there is no red-tape to creating your pitch deck, it'd be wise to stick to some basic guidelines. Pitch decks are yet another brand collateral of your company. So invest the sameamount of time and money as you would on your website or your marketing materials.It does take time to nail a perfect pitch deck if you're just starting out. There will be multiple iterations based on opinions and suggestions from your advisors and your peers. That is the long and hard way. Or, you could resort to professional help. Professionals pitch deck consultants will understand your business idea, and then craft your story and design your deck. And if it's only the design that you are concerned with, then you can either hire a pitch deck designer or use an intuitive pitch deck builder.