When raising funds for your business, an impressive pitch deck is an essential part of your fundraising strategy. Investing in your business begins with a great pitch deck that engages potential investors in a conversation about your idea.
In this article, I’m going to explain what you should include in your pitch deck.
The knowledge I’ve gained from listening to hundreds of elevator speeches and pitch presentations is being put to use. In my experience, I’ve seen a few simple formulas that work for all kinds of presentation styles and pitch decks.
In addition to building my own and presenting to major Silicon Valley VC firms, I have learned a lot over the years.
What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck, also known as a slide deck or start-up deck, provides an overview of your business in a brief but informative way. In addition to the key points of your business plan, high-level financial projections should be included, as well as your funding needs. Your pitch deck should work well as a visual document on its own, but it is primarily used to tell the story of your business.
What is the purpose of a pitch deck?
In spite of what you might think, your pitch deck is not intended to raise money. What’s that? Your pitch deck is really meant to get you to the next meeting, not to impress.
A pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things an investor will see about your company. You want to spark interest in your company, since investments are rarely made after just one meeting. Investors should ask for more after hearing your pitch, not just walk away.
While an effective pitch deck is essential for raising money, its main purpose is to get a meeting and a request for more information.
What to include in your pitch deck
Despite the fact that each business is unique, I have found that the following format works for most companies and generates the most interest from potential investors. Download our free pitch deck template to get started, and read on to learn about the importance of the following 11 slides.
Vision and value proposition
An overview of your business and the value you provide to your customers in one sentence. Don’t make it too long. Consider this slide as a short tweet describing your business in 140 characters or less.
Target market and opportunity
The purpose of this slide is to tell your audience who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. Can you tell me about the size of the market and how you position your company? It would be helpful for investors if they could find the data on how much people or businesses are currently spending on the market in order to estimate the total size of the market. The scope and scale of the problem you are trying to solve are described here.
You may want to segment your market with different types of marketing and perhaps different types of products if it makes sense for your business.
But be careful with this slide. Your market might seem large at first, but it could be more narrow than you think. The investor will want to know if there is a specific and reachable market for your product or service. Specificity will make your pitch more realistic.
The final step is to describe your product or service. How does your product solve the problems you outlined on slide two?
You’ll be tempted to move this slide closer to the beginning of your pitch deck, but resist the urge. A classic storytelling technique involves building up the problem and describing how bad it is for many people. You are now able to help solve that problem with your product or service.
Instead of focusing on their products, most entrepreneurs should focus on their customers and the problems they face. With this format, you can tell a better story with a focused pitch deck.
Use pictures and stories to describe your solution if possible. Almost always, showing is better than telling.
Revenue model or business model
It’s time to talk about how your product makes money now that you’ve described it. Can you tell me how much you charge and who pays the bills? The details here are important because some businesses (content sites, for example) charge their advertisers instead of their users.
The competitive landscape can also be referenced here, so you can discuss how your pricing fits within the broader market.