Pitch Decks: Which Type of Presentation Is Best for Your Startup?
If you’re a startup that’s trying to raise small or large amounts of funding, pitch decks are an essential tool. Pitch decks are presentations that provide investors with a breakdown of your business and your products or services.
Whether you’re a startup or an established company, a pitch deck should showcase your product or service, share your business model and monetization strategy, while also showcasing your team. And do it all in a way that makes you stand out from your competition.
What is the Ideal Pitch Deck?
Pitch decks should be as efficient as possible, while still getting all the necessary points across; however creating one is not as easy as it sounds. Assembling the right pitch for potential investors will demand both creativity and strategy on your end. Your ideal pitch deck can also vary depending on who your audience is. For instance, will you be pitching directly to vc firms or angel investors? Are you pitching to an accelerator you want to attend? How knowledgeable is your audience about your industry or product/service? All of these elements will determine how you gear your pitch deck.
Whoever your audience is, you want to make your pitch deck as phenomenal as can be. Because we all know that a great startup pitch deck can significantly increase your chances of getting funded.
If this is your first time creating a pitch deck, or if your startup is just starting up, you may be wondering what type of presentation you should use. There are different types of pitch decks that can be fine-tuned to help properly promote your business and help you secure funding. Which type of presentation you’ll want to go with will depend on your type of business, your business model and your target audience.
Let’s take a look at 6 common pitch deck examples and when they’re most appropriate:
Vision-Opportunity Pitch Deck
Problem-Solution Pitch Deck
Traction Pitch Deck
Minimal Viable Product Pitch Deck
Team Pitch Deck
Investor Pitch Deck
Pitch Deck Examples
The Vision-Opportunity Pitch Deck
A Vision-Opportunity Pitch Deck is a presentation that communicates your company’s vision and how you’re going to make money. This type of pitch is great if you’re a startup trying to position yourself in a potentially untapped market.
If this is your first attempt at creating a pitch deck, consider this particular one as a template or starting off point, which you can customize over time with additional information as your business expands.
With this specific pitch presentation, aim for your presentation to be about 10 slides long, and follow this type of layout:
• The Elevator Pitch: This first slide should describe your pitch in one concise sentence, along with the name of your business, your website, your CEO’s name, email and phone number
• Vision: Describe your company’s vision in one sentence of no more than ten words
• Opportunity: Discuss the opportunity that your business is offering in a sentence of no more than ten words. Offer any quantifying data to help make your case
• The Product: Describe your product visually by using screenshots and graphics. You can use more than one slide for this part of the deck
• Traction: A traction slide that shows the progress of your product or business over time, and how it’s showing value
• Your Business Model: A business model slide which will explain to investors how your business functions and its overall strategy
• Your Competition: A competition slide, analyzing how you fare against your competitors. Provide a competitive matrix example to help make your case
• Go To Market: Describe your go-to-market strategy. This slide should explain how your business will place products into the market in order to reach maximum market penetration and be profitable
• Your Team: A brief breakdown of the key players of your team. Keep it simple with a short blurb and a small photo for each individual.
• The Ask: This is your funding slide, where you mention the amount you plan on raising and your business objectives; for example, reaching $3 million in 12 months
The vision-opportunity deck is one of the best pitch decks to work with, and can serve as the foundation for any funding request. It’s one of the most common structures used, as it provides a solid basis and structure for pitches.
The Problem-Solution Pitch Deck
Often what makes a pitch deck successful is the format, content, visuals, and style (a little humor never hurt either). The best pitch decks are ones that are direct and straightforward with limited text. You want to attract attention and enthusiasm, as well as funding, without cramming your slide deck with unnecessary information.
Your own pitch deck should tell a story about the specific problems your company is intending to solve. This is known as the problem-solution narrative, and it’s essential for any good pitch deck.
You can certainly follow the layout of the vision-opportunity deck, but consider the following additions for this specific one, to help make your case:
Unveiling the Problem-Solution
In this particular slide deck, your second slide (following your introductory slide) should be the ‘problem-solution slide.’
Here’s an opportunity to offer some background on your problem, which will give your audience context before you move forward. Describe your problem in words, such as describing an individual that experienced the problem and why they sought a solution to it. Provide an overview of how you plan to solve this particular problem, by showing empathy towards your target market. The actual slide should feature a diagram or a chart to help explain this issue.
By providing some background and context, you may in fact develop a connection with potential investors. They may relate to the problem, causing them to jump on board to help solve it.
Here are some key questions this particular pitch deck should answer:
Solution & Approach: How will my company solve this problem? What is our approach? Why are we the best company to solve this problem?
Business Model: How do we make money? How much money can we make?
Market Size & Opportunity: What is the market size for this problem? Is it growing or shrinking? What is our share of that market?
Competition: Who else is trying to solve this problem? What are their solutions? Why are we better than them?
A solid startup pitch deck has a clear and concise structure, with each slide serving a specific purpose. There’s no one-size-fits-all template for pitch decks, but most successful decks, especially the problem-solution deck, follow the same basic formula:
Step One: Content. This is where you present the Problem-Solution narrative.
What is the problem? How big is it? What impact does it have on people’s lives (or businesses)? Why do they care about this problem?
Step Two: Format. This is where you tell your story.
Use a clear and concise structure. Present your information in a way that’s straightforward and compelling. Avoid using bullet points or numbers; these are considered a negative element in a pitch deck. Often, they’ll add more information than needed.
Step Three: Visuals. Make your deck stand out with great design and visuals.
Your pitch deck is a visual presentation, so it’s important to make sure your visuals and graphics are top-notch. Even you’re using a template for your pitch deck, make sure it’s well-branded, so it doesn’t look like a generic deck. Take the time to design something classy, with high quality images, animations, and effective charts and graphs, to help explain your story and make your deck stand out to help you capture the investor’s attention. If you’re unable to design these on your own, hire a graphic designer to help.
Step Four: Style. Be professional, polished and engaging.
Your pitch deck is a representation of your company, so it’s important that it looks very professional. Use clean fonts, an interesting layout design and high quality images.
The Traction Pitch Deck
As your startup grows, you’ll need to continue raising money from VCs, angels, or both, to further grow the business. This is why a traction slide deck is one of the most important tools in raising capital. Over 90% of startups fail because they run out of cash before reaching profitability. A traction based pitch deck can help increase your chances of being funded.
Traction is the measure of how well you’re doing against your business plan, and it comes from two sources: users and revenue. This traction needs to be growing over time for your startup to succeed in raising money at a higher valuation, or to create a successful exit. The best way to show this growth is with a data-driven pitch deck that illustrates your company’s progress.
Each business analyzes their traction differently, based on whatever challenges it faces. A traction pitch deck basically describes the progress of your company over time. It should focus on product development, your strategic partner relationships, your sales, target marketing, and intellectual property.
Presenting your Traction Data
A traction pitch deck can follow the same layout as the aforementioned pitch decks, including the team slide, but when describing traction, this particular slide (or slides, as you may need more than one depending on the data you have) should include the following information:
• User Traction: Show the number of users, active monthly users or daily/weekly active user growth
• Revenue Traction: Depict the gross revenue or net revenue (if applicable) and annual run rate. Any currently available revenue information is beneficial
The following information and stats should also be added to your traction slide deck:
• Additional figures/numbers showing that your business can solve real problems. This can include items such as downloads, app-installs, user data, leads, requests, total revenue, conversions, marketing metrics, custom requests, total visitors, etc.
• User / Customer Feedback.
• A list of any previous assumptions you may have had, and how they’ve worked out thus far.
Finally, always ensure that your data-driven slides are current and up-to-date.
The Minimal Viable Product Pitch Deck
The minimal viable product (MVP) pitch deck is designed for when you have an MVP in hand. In can be used for software, hardware or service startup companies to give an overview of your idea.
One of the key aspects to the minimum viable product pitch deck is your value proposition. Your value proposition outlines why your customer should buy your product. A great value proposition is always important, but it’s particularly valuable when you’re introducing a new type of product that the market hasn’t seen before. A value proposition also helps investors assess the likelihood of them making money with your product.
The Lean Startup Methodology
One aspect of MVPs that have grown in popularity over the years is the lean startup methodology, which emphasizes customer feedback and iteration to achieve product-market fit.
The lean startup methodology offers a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and how to get a desired product into customers’ hands quickly. This method teaches you how to drive a startup and grow a business with maximum acceleration.
The lean startup methodology can be used to create a new company or introduce a new product for an existing company. It promotes developing products that consumers have already demonstrated they need, so that a market will already exist once the product is launched, instead of developing a product and then hoping that a need for it will develop. This methodology can often be a benefit, when you have an MVP.
What you Need For an MVP Deck
Title Slide: Introduce your company and explain what you and your business do.
Problem/Solution Slide: Explain the problem that you’re trying to solve and how you intend to address it. This slide should be used only if absolutely necessary in order not to distract from explaining why someone would want your product or service.
You can determine if you need this slide by asking yourself if the solution (product or service) would be interesting without explaining why anyone might have that problem. If not, then your product’s value proposition needs more work here and elsewhere in your deck.
Customer Segments Slide: Present all of the customer segments that you’re targeting. For each segment, explain why customers in this segment would be interested in your company’s solution and how you plan to reach them (such as an online advertising campaign on Facebook).
Competitive Analysis Slide: Describe your competitors in detail, and why they pose a threat to your business and what advantages you have over them.
Business Model Slide: Explain how you’ll generate revenue and forecast your sales/revenue numbers for the next few years.
Technology Slide: Describe your technology in detail, and why it’s the best choice for your product.
Team Slide: Introduce each member of your team and describe their backgrounds.
The Team Pitch Deck
If you have a highly skilled team, you’ll want to be sure to showcase them strongly.
The team pitch deck should be around 15-20 slides long, with each slide lasting no more than 30 seconds when presented live.
Building a Team Pitch Deck
There are three key sections to include in your team pitch deck: the solution, the market and your team.
Solution slides: This should be primarily about numbers, where you can tell investors how many customers currently use your product, how many you plan to serve in the future, and what your estimated growth looks like.
Market slides: These slides should focus on statistics about the industry you’re operating in, such as market size, expected growth and who your main competitors are.
Team slides: Here’s where you focus on your team as individuals and why you’re the best people to take this project forward. This section presents your opportunity to shine, generate interest, and impress investors with your team’s skills, knowledge and experience. Having an expert and well-known team in your startup’s field is one of the best ways to secure funding.
Investor Pitch Decks
The Investor Pitch Deck (IPD) is a pitch presentation that depicts how your business will make money and why investors should invest their capital into it.
A great example of an investment pitch deck template is how Airbnb pitched their concept during its early days with just hand drawn images on poster boards before securing funding from Y Combinator. The Airbnb pitch deck template is considered one of the best pitch decks in history; the company founders were able to raise $600K, and we know the rest of the story.
An investor pitch deck also tends to be longer, typically between 20-30 slides in length. It’s important to keep it concise, but informative, such as in the Airbnb pitch deck example. The investor deck should convey the following:
• What is your company doing?
• How are you going to make money? (preferably multiple ways)
• Why does this industry need your product/service/brand right now?
• What is your company’s competitive advantage? Why are you better/faster/cheaper than the other guys?
Remember that this isn’t just about why investors should invest in your business – it’s also important that they understand how much potential there is for growth within the market itself when they hear about what your startup does. You’ll have more luck raising capital if people think that not only will their money be going to a good cause, but that there’s also huge potential for profit down the line.
Investors are extremely busy, so if they can understand your concept within a few minutes by watching your presentation, you’re on the right track.
Also, this particular pitch deck example isn’t just for investors – it can be created and sent out by companies looking to raise funds from individuals that aren’t necessarily classified as “Investors.”
When assembling your IPD, be sure to incorporate the following items:
• Title Slide: Make sure that your company logo is present on the title slide. You should also add information such as: What is [your business]? Who’s Presenting it? And offer a Call To Action (CTA) For Viewers After The Deck
• Company Description: A brief description of your company, including where the company is located and what it does/who its target audience is
• Market Opportunity Slide: This should include a target market analysis that shows your marketing and sales strategy, how large the industry for this product or service actually is, as well as why people need your specific business offering. Your IPD needs to show investors exactly why there’s an opportunity within this space once they learn about you.
You’ll also want to list all of your competitors in this section, along with some thoughts on their strengths and weaknesses compared to your company.
• Solution Slide: This particular slide should include a brief overview of your product or service, as well as what differentiates it from the competition. This is also where you should list any notable partnerships or clients you may have.
• Team and Advisory Board Slides: This will tell investors who’s behind the business and why they’re qualified to bring this idea to fruition – be sure to list their titles and/or past accomplishments!
• Financials Slide: This will give a high-level overview of how much money you need and what you plan on doing with it. Be meticulous about the amount. Don’t just say “I need this amount of money” without a breakdown of how much will be spent on what elements.
Time to Pitch: Some Final Things to Consider
Keep in mind that during your presentation, you should always show confidence, demonstrate your expertise and be knowledgeable in terms of your product, your research and the current market.
Your pitch deck template should also include a strategy depicting when and how your business or product will be promoted and marketed. Successful pitch decks serve as a solid marketing strategy to attract business and potential funders.
A successful marketing strategy will also appeal to your investors. Developing a marketing plan on numerous platforms, including print, live events and, of course, social media.
Of course, not all pitch deck examples are the same. You’ll probably tweak it and revise your deck over time, depending on what your goal is or what type of business you have.
Keep your Pitch Short and Sweet
Developing a startup pitch deck template will give you the incentive on how you can best promote yourself in a limited amount of time. Time yourself and keep your pitch concise with key facts, and be prepared to answer any questions about you, your team and your business that investors may have.
Overloading your pitch deck with too much info will be overwhelming to investors. Be informative and concise with your information, and always look for investors who are aligned with your field.