- Tell your story - especially in the early stages you are your company and investors invest in you as a person. Make sure to tell what brought you here and why you will be the right person to build this business.
- Change perspectives - Try to change your perspective from time to time and think about what would be important to you if you were the one writing the check.
- Inspiration - Get inspiration from pitch decks of other companies or pitch deck templates. It will help you.
- Iteration - Your deck will never be finished because it’s a document that changes over time with any new piece of information that you get. Make sure to update it during your fundraise.
Creating a pitch deck is more of an art than science and, for a lot of questions, there is no right or wrong answer.
Founder A can raise a massive amount of funding with 30 slides - Founder B might do it with no slides at all.
All the input that I am giving to you here is meant to increase your chances of getting funded and you should use it as food for thought.
Because in the end, every fundraise, every pitch deck, and every business is different so make sure to adapt everything you learn to your needs.
But let’s start with the basics.
What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a presentation that you will send out or present to potential investors. It gives a brief overview of your company and is the standard document for every investment round.
The tricky part about a pitch deck is that it should be brief (10 to 15 slides), but detailed at the same time. You are expected to talk about everything ranging from the problem you are solving, to your solution and the team who is working on it.
You already get it. The pitch deck is insanely important. Because this is the first impression you will make on an investor and if you don’t manage to get their attention your chances of getting funding will go to almost zero.
You have to see your pitch deck as a kind of sales technique. If you do it correctly, it will help you stand out from the competition and the person looking at it will be eager to learn more about you. The pitch deck itself won't secure your funding, but it will be what gets your foot in the door.
What should be inside your pitch deck?
There is a common structure of slides and visualizations that you can use for your deck. It is important to understand that this is not an exact science and you should always customize the structure so that it fits your business. But generally speaking, it makes a lot of sense to stay inside certain boundaries. The most common structure of a deck can be found on our Pitch Deck Slides Guide.
What are your best tips for creating a pitch deck in 2022?
Besides the basics of what a pitch deck is, I want to show you my best tips today, so that you can build a compelling deck to present your startup.
#1 - Tell your story
Investors love to hear stories because stories appeal to the crocodile brain. That's a primitive place of raw emotion in the human brain. But founders often tell me they don’t know how to tell a story. To be honest, I think you are the story in most cases. How did you experience the problem and why did you decide to solve it? Talking about your own journey is very powerful and will show the investor why you are the right person to get this company off the ground.
#2 - Think like an investor
As a founder, you are mainly thinking about execution on a daily basis and the strategy for your specific company. Things like what’s the next problem that you have to solve and how can you do that? Or how can you stay ahead of the competition?
But most investors think differently. They try to understand how the world is changing on a macro level and where this change creates opportunities. For example, through the pandemic, more companies tried out remote work and a lot of them will now never change back. This creates massive new opportunities for new software in that space.
So try changing your thought process from time to time. Think like an investor by asking yourself:
- What is driving the business?
- What is the main reason to invest or not to invest?
- Where are the opportunities here?
- Why is the team capable of doing it?
- What else should be in the deck?
Thinking like this helps you understand what to include and what to leave out from the deck.
Bonus: You will quickly realize that a lot of the questions that you will be asked are the same with every investor. That's why we came up with a list of over 100+ real questions that you can expect to hear.
3# - Get inspired
When I built my first pitch deck, a mentor sent me some examples of pitch decks I should study. And to be honest, that helped a lot because until then, I didn’t have a clue what to include in a deck or how to visualize things like market size.
I really encourage you to do the same. Try to understand what messages the founders tried to bring across and in what ways they did it. You can either take a look at some real pitch deck examples or use the structure of a pitch deck template.
#4 - Nail the content
Do you know the average time investors spend looking at your pitch deck? Under four minutes! That’s not much time to convince them to write a check over hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So you have to make sure to only share the most crucial facts about your company and the opportunities you are seeing. Not 50 slides full of text. For me, a great deck is always about leaving as much out as possible while still explaining everything you need to understand.
#5 - Love the rejection and iterate
Investors aren't searching for reasons to reject your pitch. Instead, they're looking for a solid reason to invest.
I always ask for feedback from every investor who sees my pitch deck and use this input to iterate. With most of my fundraises, I ended up with a totally different - but highly improved- deck at the end.
#6 - Don’t be sloppy on design
You are totally right if you say that the content of your deck is the most important thing. But that doesn’t mean you should not work on the design. Good design has become a commodity and if you are not keeping up with that - chances are high that your deck will go right into the bin. So spend a solid amount of time polishing your slides and if you can’t do it yourself make sure to get a designer on board for that.
I hope these 6 little tips were helpful to understand what really matters when creating a pitch deck for your business. Now it’s your turn to get started and build your very own pitch deck.