Maroof HS CPA Professional Corporation, Toronto

A Guide to Investor Pitch Deck

How to prepare the one, what to avoid and the tips for success.

Pitching is about hitting the bull’s eye to get that ‘YES’ from investors. But it’s not that simple!

Did you know 90% of start-ups fail? Yes, and, it’s the percentage of pitches that fail more. Avoiding common pitfalls while preparing your pitch deck can save plenty of things right off the bat.

Coming up with a killer pitch deck is imperative to secure the right funding for your new venture. You need to stand out from the crowd and provide the wow factor to get the investors to sign the cheque.

You only get to have one shot when it comes to presenting your concept to investors. So make sure that you have a solid investor pitch deck.

Let’s take a quick overview of how to create a winning pitch deck here.

What to include in your pitch deck?

A good pitch deck should be crisp, clear, and concise. Presenting your idea to the investors can be unnerving. But that’s how you build trust and credibility.

Gone are the days when entrepreneurs created a 100-page deck to woo the investors. If you keep your slides more than 15-20 today, you’ll probably lose investors even before you conclude.

We’ve listed the key slides to include in your pitch deck, and with these, you’re good to go!

Do not confuse the pitch deck with a business plan! A business plan is required, generally, at a later stage after the pitch deck. Some of the slides below can be combined with others to shorten the pitch deck.

| Suggested Read: How to build a business model using business model Canvas

Key Slides to include on Pitch Deck

Your pitch deck plays a pivotal role in getting the right funding from venture capitalists. You must pique their interest with a stunning presentation.

Below are the primary slides to include in your pitch deck presentation.

A brief overview of the company

In your pitch deck, your first slide should be a brief background of your company. Include the type of business you’re doing, your headquarters’ location, what your business is all about, and the team involved in achieving your goals.

Keep it concise while you sum up your entire business right from the start. Add a little back-story to let the investors know how it all started. At the same time, do not add too much text to make it boring.

Vision and Mission of the Company

The main objective of your company and what you intend to achieve in the foreseeable future should be present in this slide. Your future vision and how you align your values and goals to achieve it matter. Including them in your pitch deck is vital. Be thoughtful while writing the mission and vision of your company.

Info about the Problem being solved

Problems are everywhere. Understanding customers’ concerns and coming up with a unique solution matters the most. It is crucial for investors. They see from a long-term perspective. If you are aiming at a significant problem, you might be able to build the investor’s trust.

You must attempt to solve a real problem! If there is no problem, your products or services are looking for what?

The proposed solution(s)

Now that your problem is stated, now let’s solve it! 

How do you intend to the problem (or problems) stated in the previous slide? Your solution should be unique compared to your competitors. Your product should bring value to the table and solve the real problem consumers are facing.

The problem and solution slides are the most critical ones in any pitch deck so make sure you do a lot of brainstorming and research on this one.

All about the market opportunity

You can get a venture capitalist fund for your startup only if there is demand in the market for your product. This slide is more of a market validation showing that there is a market opportunity for the solution to the problem you are proposing.

Once you have researched thoroughly about your market, you need to include stats, figures, and the pain points of the customers you’re trying to solve. Presenting this in your pitch deck is a requisite, but without the right data, you might be in a deadlock. Ensure investors don’t shadow a doubt about your research.

Read: TAM, SAM and SOM in pitch decks and business plans

Value proposition

A value proposition is how your products and services differentiate from your competitors. It should be relevant and add true value to the customers. Your investors are your first customers. Adding your value proposition in your investor pitch deck will let the investors know whether your products can sell or not.

Who are the customers?

You need to explain who your target customers are and why you are focusing particularly on them. Discovering their weak spots and coming up with a reliable solution is what investors look at.

Do your research, talk to customers, and get their feedback before presenting.

Technologies used to Solve the Problem

Every business uses specific tools and technologies to deliver its products to customers. It’s the type of technology you use to solve matters. It would be pointless to use traditional means to provide services.

Investors see if you’re using cutting-edge technologies to solve the problem and how it will be profitable in the long haul.

It is possible that you are bringing new technology through your solution.

Competition & Differentiation

The differentiating factor between you and your competitors should be examined and specified in your pitch deck.

You need to stand out from the crowd and let the investors know that your idea is unique and your product is viable. Your strategy should outshine your competitors and be the best of the best.

What’s your Business Model?

The business model slide shows how you are going to make money out of the solution you are proposing. You present to your investors that there are revenues coming from the solution you just offered. For example, if you are a new social media platform you are going to build users. These users may not pay anything to you, however, you are going to use your customer base to generate advertising revenues.

Develop the whole business model and present it to investors.

Marketing strategy to sell your product

Once your product is developed, the right marketing strategy generates leads which are then converted to revenues. Present a strong practical and actionable marketing strategy.

Traction – Show the progress!

Show the current status of your project. What have you achieved so far,

Your product speaks for itself. Having an MVP in your hands shows the investor works much better than writing why your product is worth the money. Your prototype shouldn’t be a quick fix made without any consideration. You can also release your product (like the beta version) and collect early customer feedback. Many startups have beta test groups to gather feedback and improve their products. You can adopt a similar approach and get your product going.

It should be the foundation for your actual product and be able to stand apart from your competitors. Even if your product has issues or bugs, it needs to be differentiated from your competitors. Presenting your pitch deck with an MVP gives you solid ground.

All about the Financials and projected Financial Forecast

It is the most crucial slide from an investor’s perspective.

Present the high-level financials in your pitch deck. It’s not very smart to include too much detail in the pitch deck. Present the key figures and projected ratios to catch the interest of investors. At end of the day,  investors are looking to have a payout for their investment.

The Team

Include the key team members on this slide. Give brief two-three relevant pointers about each of them to show how this team can transform this idea into a successful business.

The Ask!

In the final slide, you “ask” for what you are looking for, the money!

Let the investors know how much money is needed and how it will be spent. Subsequently, how this spending will create value.

What not to include in your pitch deck?

Now that we’ve seen what to include in your pitch deck, here are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid. Your pitch deck can make or break chances of funding for your business. So, avoid making the following rookie mistakes.

Lengthy Pitch Decks

This is a common rookie mistake that should be avoided. No one likes reading endless pages or listening to a presentation for hours.

Keep your slides minimal, and cut to the chase. You don’t need to include everything in it. Ensure you clearly put your ideas and present them in a structured manner.

Adding too many paragraphs on your slides is a big NO.

It gets too clumsy with paragraphs on slides. Use bullet points and one-liners instead. Elaborate on them while presenting.

There’s no way investors are interested in reading paras on your slides. Presentations should be brief and to the point. Avoid adding every other detail in the slide.

Do not provide undue financial details.

It is essential to add financial details since investors are funding your startup. A pitch deck is one of many steps to kick start the funding process. If your pitch is successful, you will be asked to present a detailed business plan and go through due diligence.

Avoid going over the top. Be authentic and present your ideas precisely.

Read: Why your business could not get funding.

Using Technical Jargon

Of course, you might be more eager to explain how your product works or talk about product perspective, but investors may not know much of the technicalities. Use simple words and weave an intriguing story rather than using too much technical jargon to avoid distortion in the communication.

Underestimating the competitors

The most common rookie mistake made is underestimating the competitors. Your investors are keen to know the competitors and what the competitive climate looks like.

Never say you do not have any competition and do not keep your research focused on similar business models. Go beyond the scope and tell the investors about the market.

 Outdated pitch deck Can Cost You

Keep your pitch deck up-to-date all the time. Once your business has gained traction, you need to update your pitch deck while preseting it to the investors.

Keeping the deck unprofessional

If you think using flashy colours and fonts can gain your investors’ attention, you’re wrong! Of course, it should be visually appealing but not extravagant.

Keep it minimalistic.

Place the images, stats, and infographics clearly with the right fonts. Do not use extra-large or extra-small fonts. Go for subtle colours instead of radiant ones, be it for your pictures or texts. Make sure it does not look like a high school project either! You may not have to prove your PowerPoint or keynote skills all at once.

Tips for a successful pitch

We now know what to include in a pitch deck and what to avoid as well. You need to know the nitty-gritty of your business for a successful pitch deck.

Here are a few tips for creating a stellar pitch to help get the funding for your start-up.

Weave a Compelling Story

Stories are intriguing no matter the age. Instead of keeping your pitch deck monotonous and boring, explain with a story. Capture the investor’s attention with a compelling story and see how it’ll work. Weave an engaging one and keep them hooked.

Present with passion

Building a start-up is no easy feat.

There is always a passionate businessman behind a successful organization. And if someone is investing in your venture, they need to know if you’re genuinely passionate about it or not. It builds credibility and trust in you for them.

Design the slides well

A lot of pitch decks either have too many texts in the slides that totally deviate any investor from listening to your presentation. Use powerful words and sum them up in pointers instead of using long paragraphs. Follow the primary design elements for a successful pitch deck.

Get your team members

Team members are the heart of your venture. With a talented team, you can make headway. Investors need to know who you work with too. Get them on board and tell the investors about each of their accomplishments. Also, talk about how your team helped in transforming your idea into reality.

Be Ready for the next step

Once you gave a killer presentation, be ready for the next steps. Have your business plan, detailed financial projections, and any other information needed in due diligence ready with you.

Keep it concise

Ultimately, your pitch deck should be short and to the point. It should be powerful enough to hook the investors till the end and get them to sign the cheque. That said, do not forget to take all your technical documents, datasheets, stats, figures, and executive summary for your pitch deck.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, funding helps jump-start your business and to get that, presenting a winning pitch deck is paramount.

Do your research, come up with unique strategies, and see if the idea is feasible on a long-term basis. Your pitch deck should be visually appealing and demonstrated clearly with a blueprint of your product to build credibility.

Creating a pitch deck may not be every entrepreneur’s cup of tea. Not all of us are gifted with a sense of art. However, that doesn’t mean you have to present a bad-looking investor pitch deck. If you need it, ask for help from professionals.

Need help with your business plan writing, investor pitch deck, or financial projections?

Get in touch with us today and let us help you convert your idea into a successful brand!

 

Fatima Aslam

Fatima Aslam

Fatima Aslam writes exclusively for Maroof HS CPA Professional Corporation and Innovation Hub on common topics related to business.

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Fatima Aslam

Fatima Aslam

Fatima Aslam writes exclusively for Maroof HS CPA Professional Corporation and Innovation Hub on common topics related to business.

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