What Should a Start-up Pitch Deck Include?

A start-up pitch deck must include key points that the investor is looking for in a potential investee.


A start-up pitch deck should be neither overly complicated nor too laid back. Creating a winning pitch deck is an art that you need to master with careful planning and execution. 

What is a start-up pitch deck?

A start-up pitch deck is a document, specifically a collection of slides that explains concisely about the company overview, its vision and mission, team, problem statement, the solution you are offering to address the problem statement, market opportunity for your offerings, a bird’s eye view of what your product/service will look like, your target customers, sales, and marketing strategies. In simple words, a potential investor should get a snapshot of your business by viewing your pitch. 

How is it the first step in your fundraising journey?

Every start-up that wants to raise capital needs to first work on creating an impactful pitch deck. Your deck is your start-up’s ‘why’ for acquiring funding. The more impressive your ‘why’ is, the better your chances are at raising investments. Although making a pin-point precise pitch deck is an art, it’s also the toughest to crack for early-stage start-ups. It’s also the first step to master before approaching the right investors.

Do’s and Don’ts for an Investor Pitch Deck

Most investors provide one opportunity for start-ups to present their pitches. Depending on the investors, your pitch must be sharpened to show precisely what they are looking for in an investee. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind while making an investor pitch deck

Dos:

Highlight important slides

Investors are mostly interested in key slides like your financials, problem statement and team. Highlight these slides and keep them at the focus of your pitch deck.

Present your traction achieved

Investors are interested to see everything you’ve already achieved before raising funds. Present the progress you’ve made so far in your pitch deck, add your milestones and add growth numbers clearly for them to see. 

Your pitch deck must tell a story

Your pitch deck must be created in a way that it tells a compelling story about your business. It shouldn’t just be a dump of facts and figures but a narrative of how your start-up adds value to the industry.

Don’ts

Mix your metrics 

Investors want to see clear and concise numbers and metrics. They don’t want a confusing concoction of data. So don’t mix metrics into a single slide or a poor depiction because it may lower your credibility in the eyes of the investor. Segregate them according to revenue received, sales, traffic, ARR (annual recurring revenue) and so on. 

Drag your pitch

Keep it short and precise. Show only the data which is most important for investors. Don’t include too many redundant slides and don’t add long text or too much creative copy. 

Use too many Jargons or Acronyms

It may confuse the investor and not give much room to consider your pitch seriously. They usually don’t have much time to allocate for each pitch so use your time and their attention judiciously. 

How to create an irresistible and compelling pitch deck

The key to creating an irresistible and compelling pitch deck is to restrict it to four important points:

  • The problem your start-up is solving
  • What exactly your product/service is
  • The market opportunity
  • Your business model

Why structuring your pitch is important

Structuring your pitch is important because it will capture the investor’s attention. A poorly structured or cluttered pitch can instantly put off an investor. With structuring, you keep all the key points of your start-up on the table so that investors are crystal clear on what’s in it for all the stakeholders.

What to cover and what to ignore

Here are some essential points to include and others to omit from your pitch deck

What to cover

  • Your company’s value proposition
  • Business roadmap
  • Marketing and Sales strategy
  • Competitor landscape

What to ignore

  • Excessive text and descriptions
  • Fund allocation
  • Estimations and guesswork
  • Forecasting and predictions not backed by credible statistics or data

 

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Depending on the investors, your pitch deck must be sharpened to show precisely what they are looking for in an investee.

What’s in it for me?

Before becoming a unicorn, your start-up has the single biggest milestone to cross, securing seed funding. Getting the first few rounds of funding are the most difficult part of raising investment for start-ups. Because this is when you need to prove that your company has the spark to grab investor interest. A pitch deck or deck slide is thus very important for early-stage start-ups. 

A lot of start-up founders who have never made a pitch deck before may not know where to start. But it always pays to be simple and straightforward if you don’t have experience creating a pitch deck. Restrict it to a maximum of 10-11 slides. List out the features or characteristics of your product/service and don’t forget to include your go-to market strategy. Also, the pitch is only one half of the interaction. Investors usually have a lot of questions they need answers for before they are ready to invest in a start-up. Prepare for potential questions beforehand. With ample preparation and research on past successful start-up pitches, you will be ready to win over the toughest investor. 

Anju Nambiar
Anju Nambiar
Anju has 5 years of experience covering business. She writes on startups, business life cycle and startup ecosystem. Her stints include Amazon and Adjetter Media Network.

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