You’ve got a promising business idea for your startup. Great! Now it’s time to turn it into a business plan and engage funds to bring it to life.
Your weapon here is a professionally crafted pitch deck.
It’s that very instrument helping you convince prospective VCs and investors to give you money to grow your startup. In this post, you’ll learn the details behind a pitch deck creation and get practical tips on making yours win.
What is a startup pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a presentation to overview your business and demonstrate its growth potential to investors. The purpose is not to raise money but get the targets to the next step.
Given your pitch deck is the first thing investors see to learn about your business, they’ll hardly give you money right away. So your goal is to spark interest and make investors ask for more.
A stellar pitch deck includes enough information about your value proposition. It’s a brief yet informative overview of your startup, including the business plan, the product, financial projections, and funding needs. Think of it as a visual document for lead generation, telling your business story to hook the target.
Below are the characteristics of a successful startup pitch deck:
- Straightforward: Make it up-to-point and easy for potential investors to understand.
- Engaging: Break up “boring” and information-heavy slides with illustrations, quotes, or other corresponding content to hold the interest.
- Professionally designed: Make it stand out through stellar UX and graphic design. It will communicate your expertise to the audience.
- Comprehensive: Add enough info to each slide for the audience to get answers to all possible questions they may have on it.
A standard pitch deck includes the following slides:
- Your vision and value proposition (what problem your startup will solve).
- Solution (your product/service and how it addresses the problem).
- The market you’ll cover (its size, validation, and marketing/sales strategy you’ll use).
- Your business model and revenue model.
- Your main competitors in the niche (how you’ll fit into that landscape).
- Your team (why they are the right people to grow the startup).
- Investment and use of funds (how much money you need, why, and how you plan to use it).
Authenticity and personalization matter, and there’s no goal to follow one template step by step. Depending on your niche, business model, and target audience, the number and types of pitch deck slides may vary.
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5 practical tips on creating a successful pitch deck
And now, to practice:
You can create a beautiful pitch deck for your startup with any presentation software. Be sure to customize it and make it look unique, not like any other PowerPoint-template presentation.
For your pitch presentation to be successful, remember the following tips:
1) Consider the audience
First, ensure you will pitch the right people with your presentation. Do research and focus on those VCs who are most likely to invest in you.
Examine your potential investors inside out. Do they practice collaborating with startups or small businesses like yours? Do they have any programs related to supporting newbie entrepreneurs?
Once you decide on whom to pitch, examine them. Think of those people as your buyer personas: What’s their motivation to invest in you? What fears or pain points should you consider when planning your argumentation and overall presentation?
Focus on like-minded VC companies or independent investors. Pitching those with the same vision and values, you’ll have stronger chances to pursue them.
2) Be concise and straight to the point
Investors are busy people willing to see “what’s in there for them” in your startup. With that in mind, ensure your pitch deck slides are concise yet informative, conveying high-level ideas and benefits.
Organize your message and make it clear. Focus on communicating a one-sentence takeaway you want investors to remember. Give them a problem your target market has, and explain a solution your business offers to deal with it.
Answer two questions:
- What problem do you want to solve with your startup?
- Why do you think your solution is better and more valuable than the current on the market?
Remember numbers and financial data: VCs need them to understand whether your startup is worth their investments. But please use the numbers to tell a story, not just list them as countless bullet points to sound like a serious businessperson. Implement the “show, don’t tell” principle whenever possible.
Emphasize the benefits of your startup idea. Keep your presentation honest: Transparency is key here. It’s okay to leave room for questions, but don’t hide any information you think may reflect investors’ positive decisions.
Short and straightforward pitch decks work better than detail-heavy and full of bullets.
- Make it simple: Use no more than 20 words per slide. Too many graphics, colors, and data are visually overwhelming. Please don’t let your message get lost: Help the audience grasp the info once they glance at your slide.
- Keep your pitch deck short: Aim for 7-9 slides and for your presentation to take 20-30 minutes. Investors’ attention span is short, so ensure you build interest fast. Also, save room for questions and discussions about your startup.
3) Focus on urgency
This one is short yet essential: Get the most out of FOMO (fear of missing out). You’ll win once you make it play on your side and convey a sense of urgency with your startup pitch deck.
Organize your message so potential investors listen to you and already know your idea is so great and promising, and they should join immediately before someone else does.
How to do that? Address psychology and create an emotional connection.
4) Create an emotional connection
While numbers and data are critical in a pitch deck, they’ll give the audience only 10% of the information about your startup. That’s how the human brain works:
Retaining only 10% of info from data, it processes 70% through stories. Stories activate brain areas responsible for experiences: When reading or listening to them, we feel like they truly happen, responding to them emotionally.
Long story short, stories and emotions they evoke make people remember the information. Build a story to tell in your pitch deck to create an emotional connection with the audience.
Techniques to try in pitch decks for storytelling:
- Before-After-Bridge. First, describe the world with a specific problem (before); go on to tell about the world without that problem (after); introduce your startup idea as a solution (the bridge).
- PAS: Problem-Agitate-Solution. Describe a problem, develop it, and offer your product/service as a solution.
- Back-and-Forth. Zoom between what is and what could be, and pack your startup idea as a story climax (the bliss).
Whatever technique you choose, ensure you structure the whole presentation for a smooth flow. The point is to craft a story that investors can relate to: It will help build excitement for your startup.
5) Remember the design
Most people are visual learners, so the design is essential for your pitch deck’s success. That’s what investors will see during your presentation, and it can help you strengthen your message.
First, remember the color psychology. Different colors evoke various emotions and communicate definite messages: red is for passion, yellow stands for optimism, blue goes for trust, etc.
Choose dominant colors for your pitch deck responsibly. If you’ve already developed the brand identity for the startup (brand colors, logos, personality, etc.), consider using them for presentation design.
Second, make it consistent: Fonts, colors, and illustration design — stick to the same ones for each slide. Remember the color-contrast ratio: The audience should see the info on your slides well.
Finally, ensure every image you place in slides is relevant and impactful for the story. Never use stock photos; aim for authenticity and design custom visuals. They help you tell a story and build an emotional connection with the audience.
And again, keep your pitch deck simple: Skip bullet points, use large fonts, and limit the number of words in slides. These examples of startup presentations will help you get a better idea of how it should look and what makes it work:
The SuN Takeaway
Now that you know all the core elements of a successful pitch deck for startups, it’s time to design yours and make the world know about your business idea. Make your presentation simple yet straightforward, create an emotional connection with the audience for better results, and be mindful of the pitch deck design:
It should be visually pleasing yet relevant and clear for investors to understand why your startup is worth their funds.