What Is a Pitch Deck? (Startup Business Presentations for Investors in 2019)
Whether you’re raising funding for your startup or presenting your business model to other stakeholders, chances are that you’ll need a killer pitch deck to impress your audience and nail your goals.
In this article, let’s focus on writing a pitch deck presentation for investors, who are so busy selecting ventures to put their money into that they normally won’t read an all-text description of a business. They need something visual and crystal clear. They need your business deck. So what is a pitch deck?
What Is a Pitch Deck? (+ Great Pitch Deck Examples)
Basically, a pitch deck is designed to give a concise overview of a business, including but not limited to the business’s central idea, the product/market fit, the monetization model, the team, and the goals.
Pitch decks can be created for a variety of purposes, such as raising funds from VCs and investors, recruiting talents, presenting on the stage, or meeting with partners. Depending on each different purpose that a pitch deck serves, it’ll follow a tailored structure with the aim of effectively conveying points that a target audience care about.
In this article, I’ll walk you through elements that should be included in an investor pitch deck and tips to design an appealing one that gets investors to roll up their sleeves and pour in the money.
Before we learn how to create a pitch deck for our own business, it would be useful to take a look at some of the best pitch deck examples from successful startup companies. Then we’ll move on to sharing the best pitch deck templates that can work for your own business.
Mint is a personal financial service tool that helps people keep track of their spending and save money. Though they used this pitch deck in a competition and have never used it for fundraising, this simple yet effective deck is really worth looking at.
By starting their pitch with big numbers, BuzzFeed, an American Internet media company, has managed to raise over $240 million as of today.
How to Write a Killer Investor Pitch Deck
At this point, you’ve got a solid idea of what a pitch deck is. Let’s dig deep into how to make great pitch decks for investors by learning what an investor or startup pitch deck should include to make a positive impact on their decision-making process.
Any business is invented to solve a problem in life. Yours should be too, and investors need to see how your business idea serves as a practical solution that the market lacks. This section aims to briefly describe the problem you’re trying to solve, and how your products or services can tackle it in unique ways that are more effective than your competitors’ approach.
The product/market fit (or the problem/solution) slides should go first in your pitch deck to convince investors that your business has the potential to pivot into a high-growth company. It would be useful to include numbers that showcase the market validation, market size, and identify your value proposition to strengthen your potential in the eyes of investors.
2. The Business Model
A great business idea won’t be able to succeed without a feasible business model that can turn customers into profit. Presenting your business model is critical to persuading investors that their investment will turn into a tenfold profit with your optimal revenue model.
The business model slide should present your monetization model or identify revenue sources in the simplest possible way so investors can comprehend in three to five seconds how your business makes real money.
3. The Distribution Strategy
No matter how great your products or services can be, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t deliver them to your target customers. Distribution matters a great deal in making or breaking your business, and investors need to be assured that the latter won’t be the case.
On the distribution slide, you should clarify the distribution strategy that allows you to make your products available to customers through a supply chain designed to be optimally cost-effective and time-saving.
4. Marketing & Sales
To attract traffic and customers, your business also needs a clever marketing and sales plan to make your brand’s voice heard, build customers’ trust and loyalty, and convert leads into orders. Marketing and sales typically cover a broad range of activities from advertising to public relations, brand communications, promotions, and selling strategies.
In your pitch deck, it’s essential that you give details of how you’ll implement marketing and sales (or go-to-market) initiatives to build up your brand and drive prospective customers without draining your capital.
5. The Competition
In order to win, you need to know where your competitors stand in the market in order to design tactics that help you beat the competition. By presenting this slide to investors, you reassure them that you’re fully aware of how fierce the competition landscape is and show them what you’ve got as competitive advantages to put yourself in a superior business position compared to other companies attacking the same market.
6. The Team
Investors pay particularly serious attention to the team behind a business. On this slide, make sure you show why you and your people are the right people to build and grow the business into a successful company. Briefly describe the roles of each key member, showcase the previous experience that makes them the perfect candidates for their roles.
If you’ve got a board of external advisors, include them on the slide with the expertise they can bring to the table to make meaningful contributions to your startup’s growth.
7. Current Traction & Future Projections
Besides all facts and qualitative validations, metrics are the most powerful tool that helps you convince people that your business idea can turn into a profitable business in the long run. Investors always want to see if your business is making some good strides. Showing your achieved traction gives investors a guarantee that your idea is viable, and you stand a great chance of succeeding with your proposed plan. Adding future projections of key metrics and goals demonstrates your vision of where you want to take your business in three, five, and ten years.
8. Financial Needs & Use of Funds
Last but not least, once you’ve exhibited your business to investors, you need to state clearly how much you’re raising and how you’d distribute capital to achieve your business goals and make profits for investors. Displaying your expected financial position in terms of sales forecast, profit and loss statement, and cash flow forecast will also help investors ensure that you’ve projected financial goals based on in-depth analysis, which will help you avoid unexpected outcomes.
4 Tips to Design Impressive Business Pitch Decks
A good product also needs attractive packaging to catch people’s full attention. If you think of the contents of your pitch deck as the product’s quality, then its design is the packaging that you need to work on to perfect the whole package.
Below, I’ll introduce some tips worth considering when you work on your pitch deck to increase your chances of getting funded. As there are so many pitch deck PowerPoint templates available on Elements that you can start building a professional investor pitch deck without any design skill, you’ll find it really simple to apply these tips using the pre-designed elements in the templates you find there. Here are some additional tutorials that can help:
1. Build a Cohesive Marketing Deck Structure Before You Start Writing
Do you want your audience to find it easy to navigate through your pitch presentation and be able to find the information that they’re searching for effortlessly? Then you should formulate a content structure for your audience to follow throughout the whole presentation. You don’t want your thoughts to ramble around while you write the pitch deck. Make sure you create a cohesive outline that includes all the essential elements in an effective order before you fill in the details.
This is where pitch deck templates from Envato Elements are so valuable, as they’re all structured to present a powerful story that any fundraising startup needs for their investor pitch deck.
You don’t want your audience to be scared away with all-text loaded slides that could take them half an hour to read. Busy investors might spend only a few minutes while taking a short break or before the meetings to skim through your startup pitch deck and grasp the main points, so make every second of their time count by adding visuals that can add to or even speak louder than words.
Front’s pitch deck used lively visual illustrations to convey the features and values of their product in a more memorable way than just using plain text:
If you include data to prove your points, try to use visuals like graphs, charts, and bubble charts to showcase data points in a comparable way.
3. Use a Consistent Color Palette Throughout the Presentation
How you design and blend colors in your pitch deck presentation does more than just easing the audience’s eyes—it delivers an emotional impression about who you are as an identified brand.
Ideally, the color palette of your pitch deck presentation should match the colors of your brand used in your public materials such as logo and printouts. It could be just a single color, different shades of the same color, or two to three colors that blend well together. Just make sure you use this color palette consistently from the first to the last slide in your presentation.
Most of the successful billion-dollar companies in the world started raising funds in the early days with pitch decks of fewer than 15 to 20 slides (for example: Airbnb’s deck has 12 slides, YouTube’s deck has 15 slides, and Intercom’s deck has only eight slides!). Everyone in the meeting room is busy, so they need a really concise and succinct pitch deck that gives them all the information necessary to make a fully informed investment decision lightning fast.
So try to make your pitch deck as short and sweet as possible. Each topic only needs to be presented in one to two slides at a maximum. Simplify text content wherever possible and try avoiding fancy words that may get your readers confused. Where text can be replaced by visual aids like icons, pictures, and quantitative illustrations, do so to highlight points and deliver key messages in a faster way.
Though there’s no benchmark of how many slides an effective pitch deck should have, you might want your investor deck to have fewer than 20 slides. The pitch deck templates below have just the right slide layouts for you to create the perfect investor pitch deck presentation:
Now that you know what a pitch deck is, don’t walk into a meeting room full of investors without one. If you do, you’ll likely raise no funds. A business pitch deck is your secret weapon to win investors’ confidence in your business idea and persuade them to invest in your organization.