The Startup's Guide to Creating the Ultimate Investor Pitch Deck

So you've started a new business - hooray! Now you might need some money. There are several different types of funding and one of those is with the help of investors. A pitch deck will help you explain your idea, generate investor interest and hopefully get access to your funds! In this article I'll show you how to create a rockstar one with all the bits and pieces you need.

For more on raising money, check out The Types of Funding For Your Business.

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Why do you need a pitch deck?

The goal of a pitch deck is to show investors your vision and get them excited to learn more. It outlines the core elements of the business, particularly why it’s such a great concept and the opportunity for them to be a part of it. You’re giving them enough info to make them interested, but not so much that you overwhelm them with too many details or unnecessary info. They should be eager to know more.

Whilst you will not get investment capital on the spot, the way you present is critical. This is your chance to really show the opportunity. Pitch it as if your train is leaving with or without them, and if they want to get on the train before it takes off then now's the time! A good pitch deck is short and sweet, tells a great story, very visual and usually about 10 slides.

Things to avoid.

A pitch deck is a guide, not a word document. You should use it as an aid to make your presentation even better. If you need lots of words because you don’t know enough about what you’re pitching, you’re not ready yet. Use more images and less text, so don’t use font smaller than 30 point font. Your deck should be like a speech - brief points that outline your presentation. People read faster than you can talk - don't bore them with lengthy text! It won't work!

  • Don’t go into unnecessary depth and detail. Keep it brief, no lengthy stats or facts.
  • Don’t roast other companies or solutions in a harsh way, it will make you look petty.
  • Don’t make radical accusations that you can’t back up.
  • Don’t be arrogant, sell it with passion and energy.

Slide 1: Elevator Pitch

In 1 - 2 sentences, outline your product or service and your vision for the company. Make it short and effective. This is where you include your elevator pitch (which you should have nailed by now!).

Slide 2: Traction

  • If you have made achievements or milestones already, list them here (for pre-launch businesses this can include adequate research).
  • Show any key metrics where possible.
  • Show any press feature or partnerships.
  • Use testimonials from customers if you have any. Again for pre-launch business, use quotes from people clearly outlining the problem your are aiming to solve.

Slide 3: Market Opportunity

  • Define the market, your business and the space you’re in.
  • Define the total market size in revenue, as well as how you fit into that market.
  • Clearly define exactly who your customers are.
  • Any trends that are happening in your market.

Slide 4: The Problem & Current Solutions

  • Really define the problem you are going to solve and who it’s for. Emphasise the the pain of that problem.
  • Is there anyone out there that is solving the problem already? What are they missing? What can you do better? How will you do it better?

Slide 5: The Product / Service

  • Tell more about your product, as well as the story of your customers and how they value what you’re offering.
  • Outline the key features but don’t go into too much unnecessary detail.

Slide 6: Revenue Model

  • What are your main revenue streams?
  • What is the pricing?
  • Outline revenue and number of customers to date if relevant.
  • Show basic math on revenues and conversion rates
  • Show the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and LTV (Lifetime Value) to prove that the growth model is sound.

Slide 7: Marketing & Growth Strategy

  • Where is your target audience? What do they read, watch, look at, where do they go? Use they key elements from your market research here.
  • Where will you get in front of them?
  • How will you achieve your target growth rates?
  • What are the key channels you will use to find and win customers?
  • What are you doing differently to other companies?
  • Do you have any opportunities to go viral? How?

Slide 8: Team

  • Highlight the key members of your team, their expertise, skills and previous successes.
  • Demonstrate relevant experience.
  • Which roles are the most important to success in your industry? Who are you missing or waiting to add to your team?

Slide 9: Financials

This is where things get tangible, and it's one of the most important slides. You need to prove that this makes sense as a business and that they are investing in something worthwhile. Don't skip this part!

  • Include 3-5 years of financial projections.
  • Mention key assumptions in your model of expenses, customer conversion, market share %.
  • Highlight each of these yearly for at least 3 years:
    • Total Customers.
    • Total Revenue.
    • Total Expense.

Slide 10: Competition

  • Where do you fit in in the competitive landscape / market?
  • Who are the key competitors? What are they doing well? Use information from your competitive analysis here.
  • What are your competitive advantages? How are you different?
  • How is your position in the market unique?

Final slide: The Investment

This is where the deal making and negotiation starts to happen. This should be well thought out and you should know how much you need, what you're willing to give away and how much you're willing to negotiate. 

  • State how much capital you are raising and the general terms: Equity, debt, convertible note?
  • When do you need the money?
  • Do you have any existing investors?
  • What are your key Use of Proceeds (as % of total raise).
  • Founder salaries (be reasonable - keep it low).
  • Marketing and sales.
  • New hires.
  • Technology and product development.
  • Capital expenses and equipment.

Putting it all together

The research, planning and content is the tricky part - putting this into a document is a piece of cake. Simply use Keynote, Powerpoint, or Google Sheets. If you're working with others, Google Sheets is definitely a fast and effective way of working on it as a collaboration. All three options offer templates and themes, so you literally choose a theme and type away! If you want to get super fancy and make it look advanced, you can design your own on Canva. 

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If you include all of these slides with each point included, you'll create yourself a kick ass pitch deck! Make sure you do your research and put in the work first - you shouldn't be raising money if you aren't ready or if you haven't made any progress. If you want a FULL guide on everything you need to start a business, check out The Ultimate Startup Blueprint




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