Need a pitch deck template? As an investor, I see a lot of investor pitch decks. Sometimes they are awesome and I learn a lot! More often than not, regrettably, pitch decks are really not up to par. Key details are missed, they are not structured and they simply do not sell (Or get the message across)!
The reality is that no one was born knowing how to pitch investors, it’s something you have to learn. To help founders when pitching to investors, I wrote this template investor pitch deck.
No one was born knowing how to pitch investors
This is an unformatted pitch deck template
This pitch deck template is purposefully not formatted at all. The most critical thing when writing your pitch deck is to get the content and narrative right. Once you have the content you can set out then to make it pretty. If you want a formatted pitch deck template, then check out the deck here.
Each slide has key thoughts to consider. You will not necessarily want to, nor be able to answer all the questions or fit all the content on a slide. So if any content does not apply to you then ignore it, of you can use more than one slide.
Your pitch deck is marketing material so always make sure you only include content that will help you get your goal, which is an investment, right?
If you need help understanding how to think about how to write your pitch deck, then I have put together a training course for that that you can sign up for free.
You can, of course, go to Perfect Pitch Deck to have your deck made perfect for you.
An overview of each slide in the pitch deck template
Start out simply adding your logo and a tagline which explains what you do.
Your goal is to briefly explain what you broadly do. The investor should be thinking ‘OK, this is a healthcare app focused on consumers.”
If you add an investor name to the slide you need to be careful that you don’t send it to the wrong person. I personally think it is safer not to put an investor logo on each slide or on the title. You look really dumb if you send it to the wrong investor. It also takes up time. This also doesn’t work if you use Attach etc to send your pitch deck to investors.
Furthermore, I also think it is not a great idea to add the date. It doesn’t really add anything and it might give investors a hint if you have been raising too long…
You need to explain what it is you do rapidly in order to get the attention of investors and keep it.
The dumbest thing you can do is to write a deck and leave investors wondering ‘what is it these guys do?’ No joke, I have seen decks where I do not understand what a startup does.
An X for Y is a simple way to put yourself in a box. Yes, you may not like the idea of being put in a box, but it’s useful to understand what it is you do. So do it. Try to be a bit more imaginative than using ‘Uber.’
Since I wrote this pitch deck template, I am in two minds on the summary slide. As an investor processing a tonne of pitch decks it is very handy to be able to use this as a filter. but as a founder writing a deck it feels like a marketing boo boo.
I might prefer to have this slide at the end. It’s really useful if you are interested to answer a lot of basic questions one might have on a startup, and this slide answers them succinctly (albeit with no narrative).
This isn’t my favourite slide in the . It’s clearly more valuable when you are post first round of investment. It serves to explain the evolution of the company. I personally wouldn’t include this slide anymore.
If your team is awesome, but this slide at the front of the deck. If you have no experience and nothing terribly impressive to say, then put the team slide at the back.
It’s a waste of time if the team are industry veterans to go through a deck and have the investors thinking ‘can they really do this’ and then realising they can. ‘Why didn’t you tell us about the team earlier!’
The problem is incredibly important. You need to be solving a real problem, otherwise, what is the point of the startup? Spend time explaining the problem. Use more than one slide if you need to!
I do not imply you need to have a tabulated format as I have set out below. What I am asserting is that these are the things you might want to communicate. Depending on the problem, you may or may not need to emphasise things like the alternative means by which one is currently solving the problem.
Proof is always good, since no one trusts you. Having someone else state something builds credibility.
How are you solving the problem and why is it awesome? You can explain this in a variety of ways, you might even just get into a product demo. What you need to say at least once is why you are so much better than what has been done before. Ideally, this is at least 10x better.
Anything that is 100x better, investors of course will want to know about!
Investors care that you are the winnder. That you are a BIG winner! But how do you win big? You need to be doing something special, right? What is that?
Show me what you have done, especially if you are very early stage. Investors want to see that you can actually ship something.
Again, you are providing marketing information, so sell the benefits of everything.
This is just another example of a product slide you might have. Every deck is different depending on your stage and the story you want to tell.
Results matter! The more postitive traction you have the more your deck should be about numbers. The less traction you have the more you need to BS and fill your slides with story bla bla. Figure out what numbers matter, the ones you want to show and show them! They may be better illustrated in a graph.
Market size matters. Do you know why?
Because you can’t build a big startup without a bug market. If your market is small but it is growing fast, then that is what you want to focus on. BUT, you need to have a large market. There is a multitude of means by which you explain the market size, these include top down and bottom up. I recommend you do both approaches. Bottom-up requires more assumptions so make the effort.
Who are you competing against? Simple question. You need to be logical about the axis’ that you chose. Typically you are in the top right, which is a big cliched these days, but there you go!
I personally think it makes sense to add comments to the slide instead of just listing logos. You want to tell a story so take the opportunity to control what people think about the competition.
This slide is optional, it depends on how much you need to differentiate yourself from the competition. If you are in a highly competitive space, then this may be more important.
Timing is really important. You need to be perfectly positioned now, or a year or two ahead of there the market will be at an inflexion point. If the timing is bad, well you’re in trouble mate.
You are asking investors for cash. You are going to spend the cash, right? Well they want to know how and how you become a big company. You become big with your go to market strategy. There are many means to illustrate this, the below is just one example of the kinds of information you will present.
How do you make money? It’s a pretty simple question, so make sure you answer it!
If you have 10 means to make money… DO NOT talk about them all. There is always one main means of making money. Possibly you have two if you have a two sided marketplace etc, but keep things simple! You need to keep focused and TMI is bad.
Again, if you have a nice financial story to tell, then share the numbers. I personally don’t really like have a financial protection slide in an early pitch deck because the forecasts are likely BS and most founders don’t know all the drivers to back them up. Also, there are a lot of ignorant investors…
I personally prefer to deal with financials in a follow up meeting. Investors need to get their heads around the fundamentals first. Forecasts are meta information.
You need to have this slide. You can have less information on it, but you want to say your source and use. How much are you asking for and what are the buckets you will spend it on. You can have your milestones on the same slide as the ask, but then put your use slide next.
If you are not sure about how to plan your use, then check out this free template in Excel. It’s pretty cool.
You want to talk in terms of milestones. These are important things you are going to achieve with the runway you have. They are important as the dictate the potential position you will be in future to raise again.
You then close out with your name and email. I think it is good to place a large picture too of you to personalise you 😉
If you love pitch decks, check out the ultimate pitch deck collection here!
Get in the game
Free tools and resources like this shipped to you as they happen.
Also published on Medium.