Product

Designing a Pitch Deck for Investors

Written by

Enrico Tan

Published on

January 21, 2024
Designing a pitch deck for investors
All Posts

Designing a Pitch Deck for Investors

If you have a great idea for a startup, you might be wondering how to pitch it to potential investors. A pitch deck is a brief presentation that gives an overview of your business plan, products, services, and growth traction. It’s one of the most important tools for entrepreneurs to secure funding and support for their ventures.

Designing a pitch deck is not easy. You have to balance the right amount of information, design, and persuasion to capture the attention and interest of busy and skeptical investors. In this article, we’ll share some tips and best practices on how to create a pitch deck that impresses investors and helps you achieve your goals.

First Impression

The first slide of your pitch deck is crucial and should make the most impact, as VCs often don’t look at a pitch deck for more than 2 minutes. This slide should include your company name, logo, tagline, and a brief summary of what you do and why it matters. It should also convey your unique value proposition and the problem you are solving for your target market. Make direct impact. Give them the feeling that you really will change the world. Uber’s tagline: “Everyone’s private driver.” Airbnb said: “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.”

Problem Statement

The next slide should clearly present the problem you are addressing and why it’s worth solving. You should show that you understand the pain points and needs of your customers, and that the current solutions are inadequate or nonexistent. You can use data, statistics, quotes, or stories to illustrate the magnitude and urgency of the problem. Often, founders also personas to give clear picture of the customer problem. Mention the costs if customers don’t use your service.

How to achieve problem-solution fit? Read here.

Your Solution

After you’ve established the problem, you should describe the solution you offer and how it works. You should explain how your product or service solves the problem, what benefits it provides, and what makes it different from the existing alternatives. You can use screenshots, demos, or videos to showcase your solution in action. However, don’t add 1000 screenshots and don’t dive in technical details. Save this for later. VCs will have no idea what you are talking about. But, they do pay attention to design.

Design and Ease of Use

One of the key factors that investors look for in a startup is a “feeling for design.” This means that your product or service should not only be functional, but also aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. You should emphasize how your design enhances the user experience and the value proposition of your solution. You should also demonstrate how your product or service fits into the daily lives of your customers and how they interact with it. Also, pay attention to the design of  your pitch deck. First impression matters. If you don’t show your design skills, we assume that you don’t care about it. If you add graphs in your pitch, never show a declining one. It has to be a positive story. Pro tip: We advice to use Beautiful AI for slide deck creation.

Your first slides will make or break the startup scoring decision of the VC. After a few slides they are hooked - or not. Curious how you do that? Download the Pitchdrive Pitch Deck Template. Made by VC investors themselves. Now you know for sure that you will make a great impression.

Designing Pitch Decks for investors checklist

Early Engagement

Ideally, you should have captured the VC’s interest after the first few slides. But you still need to keep them engaged and curious throughout the rest of your pitch deck. One way to do that is to show them how your customers are already using and loving your product or service. You should provide evidence of your early traction, such as user feedback, testimonials, ratings, reviews, or case studies. You should also highlight any press coverage, awards, or recognition you’ve received.

Financial Details

One of the main questions that investors will have is how you plan to make money and grow your business. This slide should include your revenue model, your pricing strategy, your cost structure, and your projected financials. You should also indicate your funding need (‘ask’). Keeping the valuation secret is acceptable. You should be realistic and transparent about your assumptions and projections, and show that you have a clear idea what you will do with the money you will receive. Make sure your requested funding is between the minimum and maximum ticket size of the VC you are pitching to.

Tailoring to Investors

You should research the background, interests, and portfolio of your potential investors to understand what they are looking for in an investment. Then, you should highlight how your startup aligns with their vision, values, and goals, and how you can solve a problem or fill a gap in the market. You should also emphasize your competitive advantage and unique selling proposition, and show how you can create value for them and their stakeholders. Finally, you should adapt your language and tone to suit their preferences and expectations. For example, if you are pitching to a VC that is focused on AI, you can use more technical terms and showcase your AI capabilities. If you are pitching to a VC that is focused on sustainability, you can stress more on your environmental and social impact. By tailoring your pitch to the VC, you can increase your chances of getting funded and building a relationship.

Want to explore more secrets of investor pitches? Check this article.

Length of the Deck

When designing pitch decks, the length is crucial for making a good impression on the VCs. You should keep your pitch deck concise and clear, aiming for 10 to 15 slides maximum. You should avoid unnecessary or repetitive information that can bore or confuse the VCs, and focus on the key points that can capture their attention and interest. You should use bullet points, charts, graphs, and images to make your slides easy to read and understand, and highlight your value proposition, traction, and vision. You can have an extended pitch deck with more details and data for follow-up meetings or due diligence, but your initial pitch deck should be short and sharp.

Red Flags

When pitching to a VC, you should avoid some common red flags that can ruin your chances of getting funded. One of them is asking for an NDA before sharing your pitch deck, which shows that you are insecure and not confident about your idea or product. Another one is having a poor design, layout, or format for your pitch deck, which reflects poorly on your professionalism and attention to detail. You should also avoid using complex or jargon-filled language that can alienate or intimidate the VCs who may not be familiar with your domain or technology. Moreover, you should never be unrealistic or dishonest about your market size, traction, or projections, as this can damage your credibility and trustworthiness. Lastly, you should always have a clear ask or valuation for your startup, which shows that you are prepared and serious about raising funds.

Presentation

One of the most important aspects of pitching to a VC is to practice your pitch before the actual meeting. This will help you to be confident, articulate, and engaging, and to deliver your message clearly and convincingly. You should also use storytelling techniques to make your pitch memorable and relatable, such as sharing your personal journey, your vision, or your customer testimonials. You should also anticipate and answer the common questions and objections that VCs may have, such as about your market size, your traction, your competitors, or your risks. And put some personality and humor in it - nobody likes boring presentations.

Man designing a pitch deck for investors

Secrets

Want to win the pitch game? Think about the sequence of approaching investors. Burn the less good leads at the start. First approach the VCs that you don’t want in your first round. Why? After your pitch, every VC will give you feedback. Use it to fine-tune your pitch, so you can close the desired VCs.

Want to read more about designing a perfect pitch deck? Read this article.

Conclusion

Imagine that you are in a room full of investors, and you have only a few minutes to convince them to invest in your startup. How do you make them interested and excited about your idea? For instance, you can start with a clear and catchy opening sentence that summarizes what you do and why you are different from your competitors, such as “We are XYZ, a startup that uses AI to optimize the energy consumption of smart buildings, saving up to 25% of energy costs and increasing occupant satisfaction by 40%”. You can also show evidence and data to back up your claims and projections about your market size, traction, and growth, such as “We have proven our concept with a pilot project in a 10-story office building, and we have secured partnerships with three major real estate developers”. You should also demonstrate your passion, enthusiasm, and vision for your startup and how you can solve a real problem or fill a gap in the market. Have a clear ask and valuation that matches your stage and potential, and show how you can create value for the investors and their stakeholders, such as “We are looking for $1 million in seed funding, at a pre-money valuation of $5 million, and we expect to reach a break-even point in 18 months and generate a 10x return on investment in 5 years”. So, show them what you have, and why they should invest in you. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting funded and building a long-term relationship with the VCs. Want to give it a real try? Submit your pitch!

Is your startup also a disruptive venture? Sign up now with Pitchdrive!

We're always looking for new partners and investment possibilities:

🌱 Pre-seed and seed stage (ticket size 200k-500k)
🏎 Highly product and scale driven
🇪🇺 European focussed
🕸 Industry agnostic

Apply Now

Share this post

Read more