The perfect pitch deck for your startup

27.10.2020 | Written by Ole Peterson

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What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a relatively short presentation in which you introduce your startup usually to investors. What makes it special is that it is more of a storytelling presentation and less focused on the bare figures. A good pitch deck is like a movie trailer for your startup, which should make you want to get to know the company better and possibly invest.

What do you need a pitch deck for?

Investors are naturally cautious when it comes to investing their money in companies. However, at the same time they have limited time and often up to 100 applications per month. A dry business plan with a lot of numbers and text can go unseen.

Therefore Pitch Decks: The attractively designed presentations are more likely to catch the eye and convey the most important points quickly and entertainingly.

With this example, it quickly becomes clear that a pitch deck is more than just a plain business plan.

At events, a good pitch can really get people excited about your startup in just a few minutes.

Once an investor has become aware of you through your pitch, a second step is to take a closer look at the more detailed business plan.

What does a perfect pitch deck look like?

There are a few basic rules to follow for the perfect pitch deck for your startup. It should not be too long, it should tell a story, and the presentation should not be overloaded with text and bullet points.

Telling a story while presenting your startup may not sound intuitive. What is meant by this is that you don’t just share the information, but that you draw it along a common thread and the viewer is given a process that makes sense chronologically and has a certain amount of tension. This becomes even more obvious when you look at the slides from the pitch deck template.

The 5 golden rules for a pitch deck

  1. Short presentation –> 10 to maximum 20 minutes
  • At events there is always a specific limit that should never be exceeded.
  1. 10-15 slides
  2. One topic per slide
  3. Large font, calm font size 30
  4. Clear demands on the last slide

The 10-20-30 rule by Guy Kawasaki is a further orientation aid. The three numbers here stand for: 10 slides, 20 minutes and font size 30 as guidelines for the pitch deck design.

A large font automatically protects you from overloading the foil with too much text. One theme per slide helps to keep a stringent presentation where nobody loses the thread.

When your pitch deck design is finished, try to cut half the words again. You will be surprised how much can be said with just a few words. Also, good pictures can not only provide a lot of information but also emotions to the audience, so integrate them if possible for a short but meaningful pitch deck.

The last slide in the pitch deck clearly tells you what you want for your startup: How much money do you want for how many shares? What do you need from your investors? Don’t leave them guessing!

In this example, the guidelines are followed to a large extent. The last slide contains a brief but very clear demand.

Pitch deck template

Below we will show you which slides your pitch deck could contain. Experience shows that the 10 slides in this order are capable of guiding the spectator well through the pitch, from one point to the next. So he stays on the ball the whole time and doesn’t switch off in between. Of course, everyone is free in the arrangement and later you will see in the pitch deck examples that this pitch deck template is more of a suggestion and less of a rule.

Slide 1: Introduction

Say briefly who you are, what the name of your startup is and what it does. It is about the very basic information and should not foreshadow anything yet.

Slide 2: The Team

Introduce your team and also highlight why the experience and skills of each team member are particularly beneficial to the company.

Slide 3 & 4: The problem and the solution

Two of the most important slides: Here you explain what the problem is and best of all, prove that it really is a problem. Find numbers that underline the frequency and/or severity of the problem. Slide 4 must be exactly coordinated with the previous slide and explain exactly why your product is the best solution for the problem. Suitable numbers are also an enormous advantage here!

Slide 5: Your product

Now you have the opportunity to explain the functionality of your product in more detail and introduce some features……..

Slide 6: The Market

Present the market for your product. Educate the viewer about the size, growth and characteristics of the market.

Slide 7: The competition and you

In the next step, analyze the competition in your respective market. Address your position in the market. Who are your competitors and who has which market share? The most important thing here is to distance yourself from your competitors in certain points - to be a little different. Clearly work out the unique selling point in your pitch.

Slide 8: Proof of Concept

Certainly a highlight for the cautious investor is the topic of validating the business model. Share your past sales and market activities and prove to the investors that you have a product and business model that is already in demand. Was there already Pre-Selling or is there already an MVP on the market?

Slide 9: The Business Model

Now in the next step you also have to prove that initial sales were not a coincidence and how the sales should be scaled. Explain how your startup generates revenues and profits and how these can be increased.

Slide 10: Your offer

What is actually a demand should ideally feel like an offer from you: Let the investor know exactly how much money you want for your startup and what you want to use it for. Also tell them how much the desired investment in shares is worth to you and create a clear first offer.

After viewing the slides from the pitch deck template, you can see how the storytelling takes place in a pitch. One reports, as in any other story, about a problem and its solution. For comprehension, there is an initial introduction of all the actors before getting to the problem and its solution. How the solution is implemented is the main plot of each story and takes place in the pitch by introducing the business model, market and proof of concept. The last slide then ideally makes you want to continue the story; i.e. an investment from the investor’s point of view.

Pitch deck example

Here is one more example in the promoted framework. You see that the focus is, as well as in the examples before, on the problem and its solution by the product, but also the rest of the arguments are brought across.

The first pitch deck is from Airbnb, a now very successful international player who, just like any other startup, was once looking for investors and had to convince them of his merits - obviously with success.

How your pitch becomes a money maker

When the pitch deck is neatly put together and the pitch deck template has become your custom presentation, it doesn’t end there. Pitches are often held in front of an audience and there are a few basic things to consider.

The presenter has to prepare very well for the pitch, has to be able to tell a stirring story and has to manage to make a positi impression, especially right at the beginning. This can be achieved by a concise hanger, a sentence that makes the listener wake up immediately, like a good headline that drives readers to read on. Think about it sufficiently, because already here a good pitch can differ from a less good one.

Good presentation can be practiced and is determined by body language and flow of speech. Speaking clearly and distinctly without going too fast, coupled with a conscious and upright posture, makes a big difference.

We have summarized the Dos and Don’ts for you here and briefly explained them.

Do

  • Tell a story
    • People love stories and remember them much better than mere facts and figures
  • Prepare well
    • A lecture comes across best when each part is really fits.
  • Start perfectly - good first impression
    • Draw the listeners directly into your spell - there are many possibilities, so be creative
  • Simplify difficult things
    • Especially technical founders face the challenge to make difficult subjects easy to understand. If this succeeds, it can really inspire viewers.

Don’t

  • Too much text
    • Too much text distracts from the essential and overloads the individual slides - therefore font size 30
  • Animations
    • Animations are way out of fashion and have not been popular for many years.
  • Loveless design and grammar mistakes
    • Both assume that the startup lacks interest in the pitch and thus in investments
  • Read out
    • Always speak freely; good preparation makes it possible When you read to the audience, the audience has no added value from you as the speaker.
  • Not making specific topics understandable
    • Only few people (investors) can understand technical terms and those who do not understand your startup will hardly invest.
  • Talk quietly and/or fast
    • Lets the viewer quickly switch off, as he will not be able to follow you.
  • Exceed the time limit
    • Exceeding time limits in a pitch is unfair to others who want to use their time and seems simply unprofessional.

If you follow these tips, your pitch can become a real success and provide financing for your startup. A good pitch can really move your business forward; however, it is important to stay loose. Also enjoy pitching your startup and possibly being on stage.

If the pitch has appealed to the investors, the second step will be to take a closer look at the numbers, so a good business plan should still be available.

If you still have questions about pitch decks or you would like to pitch your business model directly to us, you can book a free appointment at contact form or at this link to talk about your topics.

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