How to build a pitch deck?

Zuzia Grzyb
23 July 2019

How to pitch investors?

In a startup lifetime, it usually gets to the point when you need investors backup to make your brilliant idea happen. A pitch deck is the way to get their interest, but also to lose it forever if you don’t make it good enough. Keep in mind that the investor you pitch has probably seen thousands of decks before yours and you have to try your best to make this one unique. This is why we’ve decided to create this guide on how to build a pitch deck and engage investors.  

What is a pitch deck?

Okay, but what does ‘pitch deck’ actually mean? A pitch deck is a brief presentation, often created using PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi, that you can use to give your audience an overview of your business. It then can be used to convince your potential investors, partners or even customers.

What should it look like?

According to a survey among the world’s biggest VC’s and most successful startups, the ideal pitch deck should be between 10 and 15 slides long. The most frequently given number was 12 - it sounds pretty reasonable, but let’s talk about how to make the most of these twelve slides.

What should be included in a model pitch deck?

Of course, there will always be some differences between the companies and because of that - between their perfect sets of information that should be included in the pitch deck. That being said, let’s start with the most common for all of them. 

Most investors and VC’s capital agreed that their perfect pitch deck should start with the presentation of the problem this business is going to solve. In this part, you should really try to convince your audience that the presented problem is real and more or less serious. You should also make the problem as easy to understand and relatable as possible. This is also a good moment to convince investors that the need your business is going to meet actually exists, which means you have your target audience well-considered.

Then it obviously comes to the solution or how some people like to call it - the value proposition - the part where you try to convince your audience you’ve found the best answer to a given solution. This is a very important part - if you are not able to convince investors that the problem and solution are relevant, they might think your product doesn’t answer any needs and therefore, it would be hard to find clients.

Another necessary part is all about the business model. In this part, you should mostly focus on the monetization - how you would like to sell your product and make money from it. Don’t stop at statements, show your audience that you have everything planned - especially the estimated time when revenues will start showing up. This part should also cover the traction - the graph illustrating the month by month growth of your company. This is exactly the place where you hopefully can insert the hockey stick revenue peaks that investors would like to see in every pitch deck under their review.

You also don’t want to forget about the competition. Show your audience you are aware of their existence and you know very well the solutions proposed by your competitors. But what’s most important - in this part you want to focus on what distinguishes your solution and what would make people choose it over other ones.

In connection to the two previous points - you should include the market analysis in your pitch deck, especially the estimated size of the market or your target audience. As well as in case of all other parts, you should make an impression on the investors that you know or you are at least trying to predict the market reaction to your idea. 

Then we can finally move on to introducing yourself and your founding team - here you should describe the role of each member of the team in your business idea. Doing that, you should try to explain to investors why you are the right team to run a company like this. Remember to introduce your team as a winner ready and prepared for the next challenge and only choose people dedicated to the idea completely. 

After this, it is time to explain your fundraising or investing plans - basically answering the questions like how much money you need or how you’re going to spend it. This is an essential section for most companies - this is actually why they decided to come to the investors, right? But it is a huge mistake to focus on this part. If you don’t convince investors of your idea or your problem and solution first, this section won't bring in anything new. Of course, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your time while preparing it. On the contrary - you should know exactly what you want to achieve and why in this part.

Do’s and don’ts of a pitch deck

A pitch deck is a moment like no other to make a first good impression on your audience. You shouldn’t waste this opportunity. That’s why you should try to be and look well-prepared, feel confident about your idea. Same applies to your presentation. Take your time preparing a pitch deck presentation. Make it pretty esthetic and easy to read. To achieve that, keep the same, consistent look on all the slides. Also, don’t put too much text on your slides - remember how hard it is to listen and read at the same time. That’s why you should try to exchange parts of the text with interesting graphics or pictures and of course describing things in your own words. All of them will be more impactful than a block of text. What is more - to make the presentation more organized and easy to follow, you should limit the content on each slide to one given idea. Following these rules can determine whether your audience understands the idea. 

Of course, you don’t want your audience to fall asleep or be bored with your presentation. The best-proven way to gain their interest is to engage them emotionally by telling a story. People love stories and are more willing to remember things when something stimulates their emotions - remember about this especially when introducing your startup and the team behind your idea. 

On the other hand, if you really want to make your audience fall asleep during your presentation, we can recommend you to read the whole text, word by word, from a script. Trust me, you will look unprepared and there is almost no chance to convince people of your idea while you yourself are making an impression of a person who doesn’t believe in your own words and doesn’t know much about what you’re talking about. 

Also remember,  that people have a limited capacity to staying focused. Make sure that your presentation covers all the information you want to include, but be smart about it and don’t make it too long for any reason. It’s just pointless to make a 30 slides long presentation, if you’re losing your audience’s attention after the first ten (and it doesn’t always have to be your fault).

Finally, be prepared for questions from investors. Before the meeting, try to make a list of questions they might want to ask and try to answer them. This will help you identify any gaps before the meeting and give you enough time to find the answer. 

 

All-in-all, a good pitch deck can be decisive for your business. Treat it as the key to open the doors to new opportunities and spend some time on it. Show what you have to offer, not more, nor less, and with all the above tips we can promise it will be a success.

Let us know your experience with pitch decks and share your tips with us in the comments below, or drop us a line: hello@start-up.house

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