Pitch Deck Fundamentals

Developing an effective pitch deck for you to “pitch” your company (sell your idea / concept) to potential investors is one of the most important things you can do early on to position yourself to attract financial investment in your company.

Understanding the fundamentals of a pitch deck will help you both be successful and avoid mistakes. You don’t want to be making a bad impression on investors because your pitch deck is flawed.

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One of the most basic fundamentals is the length of your pitch deck. Here’s a rule of thumb that is as rock-solid as anything you’ll hear about pitch decks. Your pitch deck should be between 10 slides and 15 slides (max) and delivered in 10 to 15 minutes.

You violate this rule of thumb at your own peril, and you better have a good reason why you are doing it; otherwise, investors will turn off, tune out and dismiss you. When you cannot be succinct and have the right content, investors begin to distrust you.

Before we go slide by slide in the ideal pitch deck, there are two points to embrace at the beginning. First, be sure to include your contact information. You’d be surprised how many startup founders don’t do it. List every way an investor can contact you (phone, email, social media, address, etc).

Second, it is smart to include a “quick facts” slide somewhere in the deck. You should include: 

  • your website
  • your stage of development
  • the capital you have raised so far
  • the capital you are seeking
  • key investors
  • date founded
  • you can even include your lawyer and accountant (if you have them lined up)

Selective Focus Photo of a Man Sitting

Now, let’s look at the proposed content on each slide of a well-conceived pitch deck that you can use with investors.

Slide 1: Customer problem

  • What is the customer pain point? How can you solve it?

Slide 2: Overview of your product/solution

  • What do you do and for whom? What it’s compelling?

Slide 3: Key players

  • Founders and key team members, including expertise and background

Slide 4: Market opportunity

  • What is the market size you are targeting? What are the market growth rates? How is the market segmented? How can you grow faster than the market?

Slide 5: Competitive landscape

  • Who is the current and future competition? What is your competitive advantage? What relevant details can you share about competitors’ products?

Slide 6: Go-to-market strategy

  • How will you sell your product?

Slide 7: Stage of development and key milestones

  • At what stage is your product development? What are your partner relationships? Where are you with customer acquisition? 

Slide 8: Critical risks and challenges

  • What can go wrong? What will you do when it does?

Slide 9: Financial projections

  • What revenue do you project five years out? What is best case, along with key assumptions? What is worst case? What is likely? How much money and time will be required to get to the breakeven point for cash flow?

Slide 10: Exit options

  • Who are the likely buyers of your company? What are the rationales? In what categories are they?

Slide 11: Funding requirements (aka, the Investment Ask)

  • How much are you trying to raise? How much runway will it give you to run your business? How will you use the money? What milestones will the money enable you to reach? When you reach each milestone, how much more valuable will your company be? 

Some people believe you should have two versions of your pitch deck – a simplified, stripped-down version you use to present, as well as a detailed version that you can email to investors as a follow-up. You would not want to present the details version and email the simplified version.  

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Additional Tips

You may be a Powerpoint wizard or Prezi master, but, as far as the aesthetics of the slide deck, we recommend that you do NOT use animations or Internet-dependent content, such as a live online demo. Keep the slides simple.

Also, try not to make last minute changes before an investor meeting, which would increase your risk of making a mistake. Work on your delivery; be prepared and rehearsed. Let your passion for your idea be expressed. Your passion for your idea + a good pitch deck = a better presentation in front of investors.

Below are several pitch deck resources you should review and integrate into the creation, design, and execution of your own pitch deck. Your goal at this point is to create a compelling presentation that defines your idea clearly (in relation to the problem or need it is addressing), succinctly elaborates on the market opportunity, and ultimately entices investment.

DocSend Pitch Deck Study

Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck Template

30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks

SlideBean Pitch Deck Examples from Successful Startups

Newchip has a special partnership with SlideBean, one of the leading professional presentation designers in the world. For more information on using SlideBean for your pitch deck presentation, please contact [email protected]