When you pitch your startup to investors, you want an outstanding presentation. In other words, you need a pitch deck.
A pitch deck – or a slide deck – is a presentation that provides a visual overview of a business or product to potential investors.
And it is vital if your startup is looking to raise capital.
The purpose is to help to convey information about your business clearly and concisely to potential investors, making it easier for them to understand your value proposition and decide whether to invest or work with the company.
“The pitch deck is often a short and very visual presentation that aims to convince the audience to initiate dialogue, request material and allocate time to indepth discussion and meetings.”
Jan Rosenbom, CCO at Keystones
A crucial factor in creating a successful pitch deck is to be concise – even if it is hard and your product is impressive.
But less is more, especially when you try to get important points across and increase your credibility.
Keep your pitch deck concise and to the point
Investors are busy people who see tons of pitch decks. Every time they get a new pitch deck, they must process a massive amount of business-related data from various segments.
The purpose of the pitch deck is to pique their interest and to make potential investors interested in learning more about your business.
To catch your audience’s attention, make the most of the first few minutes before the meeting starts, for example. by using this insider tip:
“At investor meetings, the first slide in the presentation often ends up being on the presenter’s screen for 1-2 minutes while the startup introduces themselves and the audience is getting ready. Instead of just having a logo on the first slide, use these valuable seconds to warm up the investors with a few summarizing bullet points.
And, of course, the last slide is equally essential. It will often be on the presenter’s screen during the subsequent 5-10 minutes Q&A session, so show your “mini executive summary” instead of a thank you slide or a question mark on the screen.”
Jan Rosenbom, CCO at Keystones
10 critical slides you should include in your pitch deck to win investors
1) Outline the problem you are solving
Without a problem, you don’t have a business.
With a problem, there is also an opportunity.
The problem/opportunity slide is (almost) the most important. And you have to put it right in the beginning.
Therefore, start by highlighting the problem you’re trying to solve.
Clearly define the following:
- pain point you are addressing
- for whom it is a problem
- and explain why it’s a problem worth solving.
If you frame the problem so that people can relate to it, you trigger your audiences’ empathy and create an understanding that it is a real problem that requires a real solution – delivered by you.
And if they can relate to the problem, you trigger their curiosity about your solution.
2) Present your solution
The problem/opportunity leads directly to the next slide, where you explain why your solution is unique and how it solves your target customers’ problems better than the existing products.
Be specific and use storytelling to convince your audience when describing your solution’s benefits. Stay focused on your customer’s challenges and how you improve their lives instead of going into details about your product.
Make it visual and share an impressive photo of your product, possibly in a context.
It is also the slide where you can share your vision and value proposition.
3) Demonstrate that there is a market for your product
Now you have outlined the problem and how you provide a solution to this problem. Then it is time to show that there is a market for your product.
In this slide, you want to showcase the market opportunity.
- Who is your ideal customer?
Clearly define your target market, including its characteristics, behaviors, and pain points. If you already have a customer base, you can include 2-3 testimonials from customers that demonstrate the benefits of your solution.
- What is the total market size?
In what countries will you sell your product, and how big a market share do you expect to obtain? Rely on factual data; beware that you don’t overestimate the reachable market share. The achievable market is smaller than the addressable market.
- Are there any mega trends in the market that supports your product?
Do you tap into any trends that will improve the market size in the upcoming years?
4) How is the competitive landscape?
Include a slide where you identify your main competitors and explain how your product or service is different – and better.
Regardless of the market you’re entering, every business faces competition in some shape or form. Even if you’re pioneering an entirely new market, potential customers will likely utilize alternative methods to address their needs. Otherwise, there would be no problem to solve.
Use this slide to outline your place in the competitive landscape and highlight what sets you apart from your rivals and alternatives.
Identify your critical advantages over the competition, or perhaps you have a unique factor that others lack.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to convey to customers why they should choose your business over others in the market.
5) Describe your business model
Next, you want to include a slide that explains your business or revenue model.
Investors want to know how your business generates revenue and the path to profitability. A well-crafted business model slide demonstrates that you clearly understand your market and have thought deeply about your company’s long-term growth potential.
When creating your business model slide, focus on these critical elements:
- Revenue Streams
Revenue streams refer to the different sources of revenue a company generates from its products or services. Use this slide to define how you plan to make money. Identify the various revenue streams in your business, such as product sales, subscription fees, or commissions. Explain how each revenue stream contributes to your overall business goals.
- What is your pricing strategy?
Clearly define your pricing strategy, including the different pricing tiers and any discounts or promotions you plan to offer.
6) Go-to-market strategy
A solid go-to-market strategy is vital to the success of any tech scaleup. It outlines how you will introduce your product or service to your target audience and generate initial traction in the market.
A sales and distribution model is essential, as it outlines how a company plans to reach its target audience and generate revenue. It demonstrates to potential investors that you have a clear plan for driving customer adoption and revenue growth.
In this slide, you outline how to sell your products to customers. It includes the channels where you plan to sell your products, such as direct sales, social media, search engine marketing, or perhaps through third-party distributors, as well as the pricing and promotion strategies used to drive sales. Be specific about your plan for each channel and how you will measure success.
Include specific milestones, timelines, and any partnerships or collaborations you plan to leverage.
7) The dream team
A brilliant idea is only useful with the right team to execute it effectively.
And this slide can be a deal breaker.
Introduce your team and highlight how you complement each other and have the right experience to grow your business and make it successful.
Share the team members’ relevant experience.
While some suggest placing the team slide earlier in the pitch deck, most investors prefer to learn about the overall context before delving into the details of the team.
8) Demonstrate traction
Demonstrate traction by including a slide that showcases your progress so far. Highlight any customers, partnerships, or key milestones that you have achieved.
Depending on your type of business, this slide could mention:
- Growth %
- Active users/customers
9) Financial projections and key metrics (KPIs)
Financial projections and key metrics are critical for any pitch deck for tech scaleups. These metrics demonstrate your understanding of the market, growth potential, and ability to manage finances effectively. A well-crafted financial projection and KPI slide show investors that you have a solid understanding of your financial position and how you plan to achieve your growth objectives. When creating this slide, consider these elements:
- Revenue Projections
Clearly outline the revenue projections for the following years, including the assumptions and growth rates you are using. Explain how you plan to achieve your revenue goals and what factors may impact your projections. Explain your growth projections based on existing traction (if possible).
- Key Metrics (KPIs)
Identify the key metrics you will track to measure your success. These may include customer acquisition costs, lifetime value, and gross margins. Be specific about what metrics you will track and how you plan to use them to drive growth.
- Risks and Assumptions
Be transparent about the risks and assumptions that underlie your financial projections. Explain what factors may impact your forecasts and how you plan to mitigate these risks.
10) Ask for the money
Finally, end with a slide that clearly outlines your request.
Be confident and make it a strong statement.
Your investors need to know exactly how much money you are raising. The amount is vital in the valuation of your company and the negotiation afterward should both parties want to collaborate.
Therefore, explain the funding you seek and how you plan to use it. Investors need to know precisely how their money will help you achieve your goals, and a solid plan is vital and creates trust.
Also, clearly define your runway or how long you can operate before running out of cash. Explain how you plan to extend your runway and what actions you will take if you need to raise additional capital.
And finally, if you already have some investors, this is the slide to mention them, as it will help build trust.
“Many early-stage startups are surprised when they find out that the pitch deck with nice pictures, graphs, and high-level statements is only the tip of the iceberg.
Interested investors will typically ask for more information, and the “reading deck” enters the stage here. The reading deck is designed to be read rather than presented, so it has to be self-explanatory and contain a great deal of well-written text.
The reading deck will often include data, analysis, and other supporting information to provide a more comprehensive business picture.”
Jan Rosenbom, CCO at Keystones
A few conclusive things to remember when making a pitch deck
To captivate your audience, don’t simply present the facts. Instead, aim to spark their interest and enthusiasm. Your presentation is not a comprehensive guide to your business but a means of generating interest and advancing to the next stage.
One effective approach is sharing anecdotes about how your clients use your product, their difficulties, and how your company can enhance their lives. The more relatable your stories are to potential investors, the greater the excitement you can generate for your venture.
A few more inputs:
- Prepare your pitch.
On that matter, Keystones shares 16 tips (in Danish) on making a great impression when pitching.
- Keep your presentation to max 20 minutes.
Make your pitch to the point and rehearse it several times until you know it inside out and can present it in 20 minutes. That leaves time for the investors to ask questions and see a demonstration of your product.
- Save your deck as a PDF.
The investors usually want to have the slide deck before or after the presentation. OBS. Save it as a PDF. Do not send a Powerpoint. By doing so, you can ensure that people who see it will see it as you intended it to be with your chosen font styles.
- Make sure your deck can stand alone.
Creating a pitch deck is a balance between simplicity and details. An investor will typically want to review the presentation again after your meeting. Hence, your deck must be able to communicate your business idea without you presenting it.
You can include an appendix if you have some vital additional information. Examples of relevant appendices could be:
- Persona descriptions
- Exit strategy
- Prototype screenshots or demo link
- Strategic partnerships (e.g., for distribution)
- Patents or IP licensing agreement