How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck

How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck

When I meet with new startup founders, the one question I get asked about is ‘raising money’. This is smart of them as fundraising is an essential core competence of any startup. As much as I enjoy talking about funding, I rarely to almost never heard from these entrepreneurs on ‘what does it take to get funded?

Hence, I want to spend some time talking about a subject that has the greatest importance in what is called the “pitch deck” and what it should comprise of.

So, let’s start with the fundamentals!

What is a Pitch Deck and/or investor pitch? 

The reason I want to talk about pitch decks is simple: I see too many that are simply not good or has missing information.

An investor pitch is a presentation of your business model that shows the potential for growth and viability. It is a summary of your business in 15-25 slides containing key information of your business idea.

Raising capital from investors is difficult and time consuming. It is key for a startup to get the  investor pitch deck close to perfection as possible by not forgetting to articulate a compelling and interesting story!

In this article, as an investor I am providing important advice for creating a strong, thorough, and engaging investor pitch deck, along with guidance on presenting to Private Equity and venture capital investors.


Important Do’s and Don’ts for Investor Pitch Decks
Too many startups make a number of avoidable mistakes when creating their investor pitch decks. Here is a list of preliminary do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Pitch Deck Do’s

  • Do catch the audience from the beginning, for example with a catchy slogan or intro.
  • Be enthusiastic, be yourself. You have all information in your hands.
  • Keep it short and concise (15-20 slides) and keep to the time-limit given for your presentation
  • Take the time given and if possible, use less time than allowed, leaving room for questions and comments.
  • Anticipate questions and prepare potential answers.
  • Do practice your pitch and improve content and presentation style ongoing.
  • Practice your pitch in front of a friend you can trust for rehearsal and who can – and will
  • criticise you. And practice again and again and again.
  • Dress up if the audience requires a more formal presentation.
  • If helpful prepare a checklist what to bring along with you in order not to forget anything.
  • Be well-prepared and double check if you have everything ready for the presentation in advance.
  • With all this, stay relaxed and be confident with your enterprise.

Pitch Deck Don’ts

  • Don’t be anxious and do mind your body language (practice in front of a mirror, if needed).
  • Don’t talk too much about obvious things.
  • Don’t have too many wordy slides.
  • Don’t rush through the slides.
  • Don’t read your slides but speak freely and tell a story.
  • Don’t provide excessive financial details, as that can be provided in a follow-up.
  • Don’t have a poor layout, bad graphics, or a low-quality “look and feel.”
  • Don’t try to cover everything in the pitch deck


Make Sure to Review Other Pitch Deck Examples or get it reviewed by at bootstrapping price point.


What Are the Key Slides You Want In Your Investor Pitch Deck?
You want your investor pitch deck to cover the following topics, roughly in the order set forth here and with titles along the lines of the following:

  1. Company Overview
  2. Mission/Vision of the Company
  3. The Problem
  4. The Solution
  5. Market Validation
  6. Market Size
  7. Competition
  8. Competitive Advantages
  9. Business Model
  10. Customer Acquisition
  11. Management Team
  12. Financial Projection
  13. Current Status/Milestones
  14. Ask
  15. Use of Funds


  1. Company Overview”

It’s an overview of the most important points about your company. You can summarize it in several bullet points.

For example, here is what your “Company Overview” page could contain:  A quick and easy way to understand your business, its products and services towards a potential investor.


  1. Mission/Vision

A good mission/Vision statement is useful tool for well-run business. It’s the “why” of business strategy.

  • It defines what the company does for its customers
  • It defines what the company does for its employees
  • It defines what the company does for its owners

The more concrete the story, the better. And keep that in mind for the actual mission statement wording: “The more concrete, the better”.


  1. The Problem 

The problem slide of your investor pitch deck or presentation is a key section of your investor deck the reason is that you really don’t have a business if you are not solving a problem. This slide gives you the opportunity to state the problem that exists.

It is always a great idea to make it as simple as possible.

One of the things you want to avoid, is having a wordy pitch deck, investors don’t have the time to read every line, so you want to state the problem in one or two sentences.

And when you have several problems to state, it’s best to use icons or text boxes to separate the different problems you are stating.


  1. The Solution 

In your investor pitch deck, having stated the problems that exist, the next slide gives you a perfect sequence to state the solution you are offering.

After stating the problem, It is advisable to use the same formula you used in stating the Problem, which is, to keep it short and simple using one or two sentences to state your main Solution point and if your Solution has different parts, make use of icons or text boxes to separate your Solution points if your Solution can’t be captured in one or two sentences.

Why now: The “Why now?” slide needs to focus on what’s going on in your industry and society at large that makes the timing of your business so prescient. Try to include the “Answer” to “why now” on this section of your pitch deck.


  1. Market Validation

When you look at AirBnB’s Investor Pitch Deck or Startup Pitch Deck, you would see that they have a market validation slide, while this slide is not a must have, it’s a good idea to have it in your startup pitch presentation or investor deck.

The market validation is where you put key market information to validate that your business solution really has a “market” or that it is viable.

This could be stating the number of products you have sold so far, or even putting profitable statistics of your competitors such as their annual revenue, products sold, etc.


  1. Market Size 

As a global standard, when stating your market size you want to have the previous performance and future expectation or projection of your market captured.

This would help the venture capitalist or angel investor that is going through your startup pitch deck; see the growth opportunity in your market.


  1. Competition 

Sometimes, there are entrepreneurs who don’t like to admit that they have competitors; this is not a very good idea.

As a matter of fact, when you say you don’t have competitors in your market, it shows two things:

  • The business is not lucrative that is why others are not interested.
  • The entrepreneur doesn’t know is market enough to know the competition.

See, every business has competition; it could be direct or indirect. See more on direct and indirect competition.

So, ensure you state your competition.


  1. Competitive Advantages 

After establishing the competition, the next thing is for you to state in your investor pitch deck is your unique advantages over the competition.

  • Is your delivery time faster?
  • Are you offering a better service at a lower price?
  • Do you have better technology?

You want to be very clear in stating the things that make your solution better than what already exists in the market.


  1. Business Model 

A key slide that startup investors pay attention to is your business model slide. This is because; this is the slide in your investor pitch deck, where they expect to see how you make money. So, use this slide to state your revenue model:

Are you operating a subscription model or one-off payment?

If you are selling a product, what’s the unit selling price and how many quantities do you project to sell per month, year, etc.?

Make sure that your business model slide won’t leave a startup investor or venture capitalist wondering how you make money.

Don’t mix up business model with business plan?


  1. Customer Acquisition

Think about it, if you have a good product, and you don’t have customers or people buying your product, that would result in zero sales!

In this slide, you want to show in your investor pitch deck or presentation, how you would acquire customers or clients, what strategies do you intend to employ?

State it! Ensure that your customer acquisition plan is actionable; it doesn’t help to state strategies that you cannot execute.


  1. Management Team 

Interestingly most investors would tell you that investors invest in people first before they invest in ideas!

So, if you have a solid team behind your business, be quick to state it, and more importantly, you want to show their credibility; why they are a good fit for your business.

This could be by stating their previous roles, and key achievements.

But one thing you don’t want to do is to use long sentences in stating why they are credible, it’s better to use bullet points in stating the different achievements for each team member.

This makes it easy for one to see the highlights of their achievements.


  1. Financial Projection

Okay! So how much do you project to make?

Well, the financial projections slide is where you want to give your projections.

As a standard, a 3- or 5-years projection is ideal! instead of stating you would make some big bucks overnight, state your financial projections in a way that it accommodates your business growth.

So, it’s expected that your total revenue for Year 2 should be greater than the revenue for Year 1.

Don’t forget to state your revenue, expenses, and profit/loss in this section.

Obviously, there’s an art to presenting all of this information in a way that shows your business as the most compelling money-spawning creation.


  1. Current Status/Milestones 

This is yet another very important slide investors want to see when you are pitching your idea or business to them. Through the years, I have seen businesses fail to raise funds because they could not state their traction, either while presenting it physically or on their deck.

If you have already made some progress with your business, this is the slide to state; it’s simply answering questions such as:

  • Where are you currently?
  • What have you achieved so far?

So, let’s say you have your prototype, active customers, you are already making a profit, and things like that, this is the slide you want to state it!


  1. Ask 

So, after stating all these amazing points in your slides and you have captured your reader’s attention, this slide gives you the opportunity to state what you want.

If you are seeking equity investment, how much is it and what is the percentage equity that you are offering in return?

Make it very clear in your investor pitch deck what you want. Now is the time to state what you want in your investor pitch deck or startup pitch deck and you know what? State it!


  1. Use of Funds

It’s important you note that the Use of Fund’s slide of your investor pitch deck can be merged with your ASK slide.

In this slide, you’ll want to articulate why investors should invest with you, how much investment you are seeking, and what you plan on using this investment.

Here are some of the questions you’ll want to answer in this slide:

  • How much capital are you requesting in order to get your product to the next level?
  • What is the breakdown of how you are planning to use this capital? (What are you going to spend it on?)
  • Why is this a good investment for your potential investors?



Now that you have all the essential pieces to a great investor pitch deck, the last and final piece of the puzzle is being able to convey it in an easy narrative that anyone can understand. And the best way to do this is to create a story around your pitch.


Interested in our pitch deck advice?

Read more about our approach and services on fundraising and Pitch Deck Analysis