How to Create a Great Investor Pitch Deck for Startups Seeking Financing
Startups frequently prepare a “pitch deck” to present their company to prospective angel or venture capital investors. The pitch deck typically consists of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation and is intended to showcase the company’s products, technology, and team to the investors.
Raising capital from investors is difficult and time consuming. Therefore, it’s crucial that a startup absolutely nails its investor pitch deck and articulates a compelling and interesting story.
In this article, I provide important advice for creating a strong, thorough, and engaging investor pitch deck, along with guidance on presenting to angel and venture capital investors. I also provide links to sample pitch decks you can check out for reference as you begin the process of building your own.
Important Do’s and Don’ts for Investor Pitch Decks
Too many startups make a number of avoidable mistakes when creating their investor pitch decks. Here is a list of preliminary do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Pitch Deck Do’s
- Do include this wording at the bottom left of the pitch deck cover page: “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.”
- Do convince the viewer of why the market opportunity is large.
- Do include visually interesting graphics and images.
- Do send the pitch deck in a PDF format to prospective investors in advance of a meeting. Don’t force the investor to get it from Google Docs, Dropbox, or some other online service, as you are just putting up a barrier to the investor actually reading it.
- Do plan to have a demo of your product as part of the in-person presentation.
- Do tell a compelling, memorable, and interesting story that shows your passion for the business.
- Do show that you have more than just an idea, and that you have gotten early traction on developing the product, getting customers, or signing up partners.
- Do have a soundbite for investors to remember you by.
- Do use a consistent font size, color, and header title style throughout the slides.
Pitch Deck Don’ts
- Don’t make the pitch deck more than 15-20 slides long (investors have limited attention spans). If you feel you need to add more information, include it as an appendix.
- Don’t have too many wordy slides.
- Don’t provide excessive financial details, as that can be provided in a follow-up.
- Don’t try to cover everything in the pitch deck. Your in-person presentation will give you an opportunity to add and highlight key information.
- Don’t use a lot of jargon or acronyms that the investor may not immediately understand.
- Don’t underestimate or belittle the competition.
- Don’t have your pitch deck look out of date. You don’t want a date on the cover page that is several months old (that is why I avoid putting a date on the cover page at all). And you don’t want information or metrics in the deck about your business that look stale or outdated.
- Don’t have a poor layout, bad graphics, or a low-quality “look and feel.” Think about hiring a graphic designer to give your pitch desk a more professional look.
Make Sure to Review Other Pitch Deck Examples
In creating your pitch deck for investors, it’s extremely helpful to view other sample pitch decks. A great many pitch decks are available online, including:
Check out this sample investor pitch deck for Recuperate.com that I created, which incorporates the advice I give in this article. This sample can be downloaded for free and used as a template for your own investor pitch.
What Are the Key Slides You Want In Your Investor Pitch Deck?
You want your investor pitch deck to cover the following topics, roughly in the order set forth here and with titles along the lines of the following:
- Company Overview
- Mission/Vision of the Company
- The Team
- The Problem
- The Solution
- The Market Opportunity
- The Product
- The Customers
- The Technology
- The Competition
- Business Model
- The Marketing Plan
- The Ask
1. The “Company Overview” Slide of the Pitch Deck
I’m a big believer that the page after the cover page should be a “Company Overview” where you summarize in 4-6 bullet points your business, what problem it solves, where you are located, the experience of the management team, and any key traction already established.