A pitch deck is a presentation that is specifically designed to give a short but elaborate summary of your company, business plan, and startup vision. Your presentation usually acts as a visual guide and reference to the key points and areas of your business that you want to make known to targeted potential investors. The best pitch decks get investors excited about your described idea and engage them in a constructive conversation about your business, potentially leading to an investment.
Whether you’re raising funding for your startup business or presenting your business model to key stakeholders, you need a killer pitch deck to impress your audience and achieve your objectives. We’ve helped hundreds of startups create and design their pitch decks. And we want to help you also to get through this process successfully. Here is how to create a pitch deck that attracts investors to your business idea.
1) Start with a Hook or Elevator Pitch
Don’t wait too long to get your main point across, rather, start with it. Appetizers are great – but everyone really wants to know what’s coming on the main dish! Investors have rather short attention spans, and they often gauge their opinion of a pitch deck or startup from the first slide.
Your pitch deck should immediately communicate what you’re pitching, and why they should listen. Present your hook through the form of a question, a strong statement, or an elevator pitch.
Castle’s pitch deck, for example, begins with a strong statement, “Rental property owners want to make money without the work of being a landlord.” Immediately, the audience knows who the customer is, what problem is going to be solved, and what the customer hopes to achieve. While your pitch deck doesn’t necessarily have to start with a problem statement, the first slide should be powerful enough to get the reader’s or viewer’s attention.
2) Create an Engaging Flow
Make sure that your pitch deck is engaging across the entire presentation. A common problem for startups is hooking the audience in with the first slide, then losing their attention when they get to the meat of the presentation.
Create a layout and a flow of information that ensures that the audience easily follows the idea from beginning to end. Every slide should connect with the slide before and after it, building up the audience’s anticipation while ensuring that they grasp every piece of information.
For example, when presenting the Problem, keep it to only the most prevalent challenge customers face. Surround that slide with information that proves that a significant challenge exists for a large market. Presenting too many problems weakens the pitch deck and loses the audience’s attention.
Follow up the problem slide with the solution – don’t leave the audience hanging on to a problem statement without resolving it with a solution slide.
The flow of your pitch deck is just as important as the information you’re presenting. Think of your pitch deck as a story and be sure that you are telling the story in a way that makes sense, and most of all, connects with the audience.
3) Follow the 10/20/30 Rule
The 10/20/30 rule for startup pitch decks created by Guy Kawasaki is a great technique to follow. The rule states that a pitch deck should not be more than 10 slides, take more than 20 minutes to present, and should not be typed in less than 30-point font. Following this rule will help you to focus on key ideas and really hone your pitch.
This approach ensures that you’re not going overboard with too many pitch deck slides or too much information on each slide. At ThinkLions we work closely with every client to make sure their pitch deck is properly structured and well-focused on the key information.
Remember – more doesn’t always mean better. Keep your pitch brief, flowing, and remove any extra text that doesn’t support or add significant value to the presentation.
4) Express Your Value and Vision
Vision and value are the two most important ingredients in your pitch deck recipe. Investors want to know exactly what your startup offers to its customers that differs from other competitors, and they want to know where the business is going in the future.
When expressing your startup’s value, consider the elements presented in the Value Proposition Canvas. Express your value proposition as gain creators and pain relievers. Gain creators are the things your business provides that result in positive outcomes, emotions, and results. In contrast, pain relievers describe the negative emotions and outcomes that your business removes.
Your company’s vision clearly states where you intend to take your business in the future. With a strong vision statement, you can assure investors that your team has a clear focus and a defined plan of action to reach it. The most impactful vision statements are short, simple, well-defined, and passionate.
5) Customize Your Presentation for Your Audience
Before sending your pitch deck out or presenting it live, learn as much as you can about the recipient or audience. Ultimately, you don’t want to slap a Porterhouse steak of a pitch deck in front of an investor, only to find out that they are vegetarian.
Research your audience and learn about the types of businesses they have invested in in the past. Look up the businesses they’ve invested in and see if you can find their pitch decks online. Reach out to founders they’ve invested in and ask them about their experience.
Don’t be afraid to personalize your pitch deck to the audience. Focus your presentation on the elements that are most likely to get their attention and most aligned to their investment style.
Instead of only mentioning the value that your startup brings its customers, also express the value that it offers to investors, like a stronger portfolio, expected ROI, or the ability to serve a specific market they care about.
6) Avoid Overstating the Market Opportunity
This is a common mistake that people make when creating their pitch decks. Don’t overstate the market opportunity and fail to provide the method required for your business to succeed. Overstating the market opportunity can easily put off the investors and make you sound unfamiliar with the industry you’re venturing into. Focus on bottom-up forecasts where you detail your expectations and how you’re going to attract customers.
7) Avoid Boring and Outdated Pitch Deck Design
Avoid making the mistake of using boring and outdated design templates. When it comes to pitching, you want to immediately grab your audience’s attention. With an outdated design, you’ll surely grab their attention but for the wrong reasons. Thus, ensure your pitch deck design is very attractive and appealing.
You don’t have to struggle to create the designs when you can easily get in touch with professional pitch deck designers at ThinkLions. Working with us will make sure you get a high-quality pitch deck that speaks to your audience without necessarily uttering words.
Samples of Good Pitch Decks
Here are great samples of great pitch decks you should emulate.
Airbnb used their 2009 pitch deck to raise $600k from Sequoia Capital and Y Ventures. The company has since developed into a travel industry giant with a current market cap of about $90.31 bn. This deck is a great sample because it incredibly summarizes the company’s vision and the market opportunity they had before them.
Facebook‘s 2004 pitch deck is another sample of a strategically and well-designed presentation. The pitch deck contained the company’s value proposition, key business metrics, and the marketing services that were used to sell advertisements to prospective clients. From the pitch, Mark Zuckerberg received $500,000 from Peter Thiel who was impressed by the pitch deck.
Uber‘s 2008 pitch deck was clear, simple, and direct to the point. The presentation focused on showing investors the solution that Uber intended to provide. The pitch deck also elaborated on numerous problems that surround the taxicab industry and how the problems could be solved via Uber. Investors were convinced that Uber could be a fast and efficient car service, and the idea of requesting drivers online was great.
At ThinkLions, we are a group of experienced startup consultants that work with innovative early-stage companies. We will help you to validate your ideas, raise capital, and build amazing products and services. Kindly contact us.