/Guide: How to create a pitch deck that will impress investors

Guide: How to create a pitch deck that will impress investors

  • Entrepreneurship is tough sufficient, and pitching your startup to investors can really feel like a efficiency. In addition to showcasing your public talking skills, you will even have to flaunt your design abilities.
  • We requested profitable entrepreneurs and investors how to do it proper. In quick, they are saying it’s best to hold it easy and inform a story in 10 slides or much less.
  • Their different suggestions embrace: Tailor your pitch to your viewers, exhibit why now’s the very best time to launch your enterprise, and remember to say what your organization really does.
  • We’ve included a number of sources to construct your personal deck, and a video by which the CEO of billion-dollar startup Carta walks us by means of his Series A and Series E pitch decks.
  • Visit BI Prime for extra tales.

They let you know not to choose a e book by its cowl — however investors will completely be utilizing your pitch deck to consider your organization’s potential, so you will need to make a stellar impression.

To that finish, we requested a sequence of profitable entrepreneurs and investors for his or her greatest recommendation on creating a formidable pitch deck:

  • Justin McLeod, the founder and CEO of Hinge, a courting app.
  • Kim Taylor, the founder and CEO of Cluster, which recruits for superior manufacturing roles.
  • Christina Carbonell and Galyn Bernard, the cofounders of Primary, a youngsters’s clothes model.
  • Megan O’Connor, the cofounder and CEO of Clark, a tutoring-software firm.
  • Jen Rubio, the cofounder, president, and chief model officer of Away, a journey model; Steph Korey was the CEO till 2019.
  • Masha Drokova, the founder and normal companion of Day One Ventures, an early-stage capital agency.
  • Anu Duggal, the founding companion at Female Founders Fund, which invests in early-stage know-how corporations run by girls.

Their major takeaways? Keep it easy, and embrace the knowledge that’s most related to every investor.

At the underside of this text, you will additionally discover the recording of a webinar by which Henry Ward, the CEO of billion-dollar startup Carta, walks us by means of his Series A and Series E pitch decks. Carta has thus far raised a whole of $448 million.

Read on for a sensible information to pitch decks, a breakdown of some spectacular examples, and a few instruments to get you began making your personal.

You may envision strolling into a room stuffed with investors, requesting $1 million to your firm, and strolling out a couple of minutes later, triumphant.

That’s not usually how issues work.

McLeod stated it is extra widespread (and simpler) to type a relationship with the investor earlier than making your pitch. That consists of asking the investor what sort of info they need to see in a deck and which numbers are necessary to them.

Taylor really helpful creating three completely different variations of your pitch deck. Specifically, you will want a quick advance copy, one for in-person conferences, and one other for follow-up calls.

Taylor warned founders not to embrace monetary info of their intro deck and “blindly send it to people without qualifying them.” She really helpful DocSend for this goal.

cluster title slide

Cluster’s title slide.

Kim Taylor/Cluster

Make certain to visually symbolize your model id

Ideally, by the point you are placing collectively a deck, “you have enough of a vision for the brand that you’re building” that you possibly can visually symbolize that model, Carbonell stated. Too usually she sees different founders’ decks “either not well designed or generically designed,” and lacking their “brand personality,” she stated.

Taylor reminded founders to design their title slide and never to depart it as an afterthought.

“First impressions matter!” she stated.

Keep your pitch deck concise.

A number of entrepreneurs talked about that they’d used the venture-capital agency Sequoia Capital’s pitch-deck template, which incorporates 10 slides, every with one key level.

And Taylor stated she makes use of Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule: “A pitch should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points.”

Your deck ought to define an important factors about your enterprise — not the whole lot about your enterprise.

As Bernard put it, your deck ought to “tell a story” so that investors “can understand where you think the business is going to go.”

It goes again to figuring out which numbers and metrics matter most to every investor. “If you throw all of your numbers into your deck, it may not tell a story,” Bernard stated, and the investors “may not latch on to the right point.”

Rubio stated founders ought to “paint a particular image of the one (or possibly two!) largest alternatives that you are working to leverage, after which focus your pitch on how you are going to strategy them.”

“Otherwise, it’s too easy to give the impression that you’re not clear on your purpose and the value you’re uniquely bringing to the table.”

Carbonell stated among the best items of recommendation she’d heard on this matter is to fake you are presenting the deck to your dad and mom.

In different phrases, do not be afraid to “brag a little bit” — your dad and mom need you to succeed — and “give them a little bit of context for some things,” since they may not be specialists within the area like you might be.

Carbonell stated this mindset had helped her spot any holes within the Primary pitch deck.

When you are creating a deck to use throughout in-person conferences, keep away from the temptation to cram each slide with info.

“Each slide should have one cohesive, clear point, and it should not take a lot of text to make that point,” O’Connor stated.

Remember you will be speaking throughout the presentation, she stated, “so you don’t need everything you’re going to say also on the slide.”

Clark Slide on team

Clark’s slide on the staff.

Megan O’Connor/Clark

“In the early stages, a VC is investing in the person (or team), not the company,” O’Connor stated. “They have to believe that you are the one that can accomplish the mission above anyone else.”

That’s why she recommends together with a blurb on the complete staff and their skilled backgrounds. During the pitch, you possibly can speak by means of your story because the founder.

Taylor stated that “people remember narrative and why you are doing something.” If your private or skilled background is related to the corporate, embrace that in your deck.

For instance, Taylor grew up in an advanced-manufacturing hub in Wisconsin, so she consists of that level when she’s pitching Cluster.

Yes, it sounds apparent. But the Primary founders stated it is easy to get so deep within the weeds that you overlook to inform investors what the aim of your organization is.

“Occasionally, we are so close to what we’re doing, what our actual product is and what we’re offering, that we forget to say it,” Bernard stated.

Outline each your grand imaginative and prescient and your concrete execution

Your pitch deck ought to handle two factors, McLeod stated: “Here’s the grand vision of where this is going to go and why this is a big idea” and “We’re going to really nail this one narrow thing really well.”

When McLeod was pitching Hinge, he emphasised the worldwide imaginative and prescient of adjusting courting tradition. But he additionally confirmed that he had gotten individuals utilizing the app within the first place.

Pitch Deck Brex Series B Presentation (5)

A slide from Brex’s pitch deck on market measurement.


Address the market panorama and competitors

Duggal stated one widespread mistake she sees in pitch decks is “not addressing competition or figuring out the market landscape.”

“When we think about investing in a company, we want to understand — that’s great that you have an interesting idea or you spotted something that has the potential to be an exciting business — but we also want to understand what is already in the market,” she stated.

D1V Deck v5 Clean Copy (1) page 017

A slide from Day One Ventures’ pitch deck on “why now?”

Day One Ventures

Don’t simply discuss the issue and your answer, Carbonell stated. Also reply the query “Why now?”

“It can be very helpful in persuading an investor not only that you have a good idea, but why now is the right time to pursue it and why it hasn’t been done before,” she added.

Drokova stated: “A deck is all about why [the business] should exist today and that you’re ready and capable to execute it. With Day One Ventures, it was about our insights into communications and PR, and seeing how much it helps early-stage companies grow in size and valuation, and how it assists with recruiting top talent.”

O’Connor stated investors are at all times occupied with listening to about your price to purchase a buyer. “At the very least,” she stated, “you need to be able to show that your CAC will decrease over time, and what your plan is for making that possible at scale.”

Early on, Korey stated, “you might not have enough data to successfully show anticipated traction.” In that case, “focus on other metrics that you can share,” together with qualitative suggestions out of your preliminary analysis.

“When the hard data doesn’t exist yet, there are other ways to prove that there’s an appetite for what you’re building and a path toward success,” Korey stated.

Series B deck public   vision copy 19

A slide from Front’s pitch deck on how capital will be used.


Investors need to know what you will be doing with their money.

“You need to be more specific than just letting the investors know you’re going to build the company and should be able to speak to things like headcount, office space, vendor agreements, R&D, and any other big expenditures for your business,” O’Connor stated.

Duggal stated each deck ought to embrace a five-year progress plan.

Carta Pitch Deck

A slide from Carta’s pitch deck on the payback interval.


The “payback period” is how lengthy it will take for investors to recuperate the price of their funding.

“Investors are going to give your company money because they believe they can eventually make a profit off of it,” O’Connor stated. “So in addition to clearly articulating how that will be possible, you’ll also need to share a specific timeline of when it’s going to happen.”

When the Primary founders began pitching investors, they realized they wanted to make their deck even easier.

“Not all of the points that we were making were coming across as clearly as we wanted to,” Carbonell stated. So they up to date the slides for the remainder of their investor conferences.

There are a lot of instruments out there to create successful shows, and relying in your staff’s design abilities, many companies on the market to make your deck shine. 

Most companies have entry to primary software program like Google Sheets, Power Point, and Apple Keynote, however listed below are 5 on-line companies that go additional.

Each provide a free trial, and supply choices for design and technical assist. In order of least costly to most for a premium annual subscription:

  • Slidebean ($96/yr to $228/yr) — Slidebean makes use of synthetic intelligence to mechanically populate slides along with your content material. 
  • Canva ($120/yr to $360/yr) —  Canva gives a full suite of instruments for creating model and advertising and marketing supplies.
  • Haiku Deck ($120/yr to $360/yr) — Haiku Deck has hundreds of templates for presenting on any related gadget.
  • Pitch Deck ($499/yr) — Pitch Deck is a platform that allows groups to observe the efficiency of particular person shows.
  • Prezi ($240/yr to $720/yr) — Prezi is a dynamic canvas software program that is extra like a whiteboard than a slideshow. 

Whichever possibility you select, you will need to be sure you can simply replace your content material and run the presentation easily, together with leaping between slides, with out an excessive amount of fumbling round. 

Also, having a backup PDF copy of your deck available could be a lifesaver within the occasion of a tech malfunction. 

Looking for extra steering on pitch decks? Check out these decks that helped startups increase tens of millions.

Now watch the CEO of unicorn startup Carta dissect his Series A and Series E pitch decks:



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