The 12 essential elements your pitch deck needs

‘If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.’ – Chris Dixon, Co-Founder Hunch.

As a startup owner, entrepreneur, or business head, you know the value of a good pitch deck in presenting your enterprise to the right investors. Typically a pitch deck would consist of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation format with the intent of showcasing your company’s offerings, technology, and team to investors.

Getting the confidence of investors, let alone raising capital, is no easy feat. Hence this is crucial for a startup to totally nail the investor pitch deck while articulating a compelling story.

This article provides you the important elements for creating an engaging investor pitch deck. This article also gives you links to great sample pitch decks, guidance on presenting to angel and venture capitalists and nudging you in the right direction towards building your own deck.

The Important Do’s & Don’ts

The majority of startups tend to make a range of avoidable mistakes while creating investor pitch decks. Here’s an updated list of preliminary dos and don’ts you should keep in mind when creating your own deck:

  1. Do keep Confidential and Proprietary Copyright © by (startup name). All Rights Reserved. In the bottom left of all your pitch deck pages.
  2. To convince your audience of the size of the market opportunity.
  3. Do tell a memorable and compelling story highlighting your passion.
  4. Do send the pitch deck in PDF format to your investors ahead of the meeting.
  5. Do include a soundbite for investors to remember you by.
  6. Don’t create a pitch deck that exceeds 15-20 slides. Further information can be included in an appendix.
  7. Don’t create wordy slides.
  8. Don’t use jargon or acronyms that investors might struggle to understand.
  9. Don’t belittle your competition.
  10. Don’t include poor graphics, poor layout, or a low-quality-looking deck.

What are the crucial slides an investor is looking for in your investor pitch deck?

Your investor pitch deck must cover the following topics in roughly the order listed below. The titles should be along with the following:

  1. Company overview
  2. Mission statement
  3. The team
  4. The problem
  5. The solution
  6. The market opportunity
  7. The product
  8. The customer
  9. The technology
  10. The competition
  11. Traction
  12. Business model
  13. The marketing plan
  14. Financials
  15. The ask

1. The Company Overview slide

Your 1st page after the cover page needs to be the company overview page. This is a summary of your business, the problem solved, the location, the management team experience, and key traction established.

The page needs to grab the reader and convince them your company can grow big.

2. The Mission/Vision slide

Here you want a crisp summary of the company’s vision. A few examples could be: We are the Uber-like on-demand solution for dog owners.

Your vision here needs to be the goal you want your company to become. Example – ‘Our vision is to become the leading online platform for upskilling college graduates and professionals’.

3. The Team slide

Here investors wish to know about your teammates. Many believe a company’s teams are the most important determining factor towards investing or not. This slide usually includes images of key team members, titles of team members, a short summary of the team’s prior employment and expertise, and any consultants or board members who might have worked with your company.

4. The Problem slide

Here’s where you define the problem your startup is solving. Size of, importance, and for whom you are solving the problem.

5. The solution slide

As the previous slide spoke about the problem, this next slide needs to articulate your proposed solution and why it is better than other solutions in the market. Coordinate this slide carefully with the ‘product’ slide as there could be overlap.

5. The product slide

Here you are required to clearly article what are the constituents of your company’s product or offering consists of as well as what makes it unique. This slide must answer what the key features are, why do users care about the product, what are the major product milestones, what are key differentiating factors as well as the additional planned product features. Visuals and imagery play a big and important role here.

6. Market Opportunity slide

Here is where you show the investors how your business is a big opportunity in large addressable markets. On this slide, you must define the market you are in, set forth the value of the said market, and include graphs and illustrations pointing out your company’s addressing of a large part of the market.

7. Customers

The customer’s slide can be included in your company contained early customers. Use this for credibility and reinforcement. Logos work best here.

8. Technology

Investors will show a lot of interest in the technology you employ. This section of the investor pitch deck needs to highlight the basic technology backbone, the key intellectual property rights owned by your business, why this technology will be superior, and why it will be difficult for competitors to replicate this technology.

9. Competition

your competition will always be on the back of the investor’s mind. This slide must address the following: who is your competition? What gives your company the edge? What are the key differentiators?

Here is where your understanding of the competitive landscape comes into the fray. Get ready to answer questions regarding the competition. If you fail to do so, your investors will believe you do not understand the market.

10. Marketing Plan

regardless of how great your offering might be, your go-to-market plan must be that of acquiring new users. The ‘Marketing plan’ slide needs to cover the key marketing channels to be employed, the early successes you have had and those channels which work, the PR being employed, and all early press and buzz your company receives.

11. Financials

What is the current financial situation of the company? Any investor would be wondering that prior to investing in your company. The future ‘burn’ rate would need to be understood as well here.

So here are the essential twelve slides any good pitch deck is required to have. It is a good plan to keep a variety of decks and test them on different audiences during presentation delivery.

Good luck with your next pitch!

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