Pitch Deck Slides: A Complete Guide

This article will guide you on creating effective pitch deck slides, including essential do’s and don’ts, common red flags, must-haves, and real-life examples from companies that have successfully raised venture capital.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a summary of a company story, and we will use a set of slides to give arguments on why this company is awesome and why people should invest in it.

But first - let’s talk pitch deck structure 

The structure I'm about to lay out is one we've refined over the years, drawing on our experiences and the analysis of hundreds of successful pitch decks from companies like Airbnb and Uber combined with effective storytelling techniques.

Why emphasize storytelling?

Because the secret of any solid pitch deck is its ability to tell a story. Depending on the company, this story can take different angles and approaches but should generally follow a similar story arc. A compelling story can illustrate how your team has navigated challenges, creatively seized opportunities, the revenue you’ve generated, or your A-team, making your business case not just understood but felt. Think that the goal of this great story is to capture a potential investor’s attention for future meetings. 

These four guiding questions will help you frame the structure of your pitch deck:

  1. Why is the market ripe for disruption? What’s broken? 
  2. What have you created? How does this solution solve an existing problem?
  3. Can you prove that the market needs your solution? Does your growth back up this claim? How fast are you growing? 
  4. Can you and your team scale this company? 

Let’s tie these questions and how they relate to structuring your pitch deck. The first act of the deck is all about grabbing your audience's attention, setting the scene, and establishing what's currently out there—the status quo. In the second act, it's time to get readers excited, showcasing the solution and product-market fit through compelling and clear data. The third act is where everything comes together—you deliver the knockout punch, making a clear case for why investing in your company is an outstanding opportunity.

Act 1

Cover Page:

First impressions matter.

Keep it concise and very clean: just your company's name, logo, and a catchy tagline that could fit in a tweet. The tagline should be a brief 5-7-word summary of what thcompany does. This is your opportunity to hook readers. Consider it the headline of your startup's story. 

Traction Teaser:

If your company is performing exceptionally well, I recommend adding this slide to your pitch deck. It can serve as a powerful hook to capture a potential investor’s interest by providing a snapshot of your success early on, as well as biasing the reader before learning more about your company.

I generally favor charts over plain numbers. While a number is just a static figure, a chart portrays a story.

If your growth figures aren’t particularly jaw-dropping, it's okay to leave this slide out.


Great companies are often born from their ability to solve pressing problems. Uber tackled inefficient taxi services, Slack reduced excessive emails and meetings, and Dropbox streamlined file syncing across devices.

If done correctly, this slide can create a powerful 'aha' moment early in your pitch deck. You can generate a revelation by highlighting a common, frustrating issue that's so obvious yet unnoticed. This could be the key to engaging a potential investor right from the start. However, be cautious, as this slide can also be where your pitch begins to unravel if based on shaky claims that do not resonate with your audience. 

Major red flags in problem slides are subjective claims, talking about your solution instead of what you are solving, and text-heavy slides.

Well-done problem slides should be:

  • Objective 
  • Undebatable
  • Data-backed
  • Short

Market Overview / Business Opportunity

It is important to educate readers on the industry in which your company operates. But more than educating them, you need to excite them. You must be able to prove that this is an industry that is ripe for disruption and constantly growing, with a target market that's thriving and easy to break into. 

Some companies aren’t necessarily solving a problem but rather tackling a business opportunity that has arisen. Examples here are mobile games, which certainly don’t solve a problem. 

* I've seen many pitch decks where founders mistakenly state the market overview slide as their total addressable market (TAM), claiming that the entire industry size is their addressable market. These are not the same thing. This mistake can make you look inexperienced and potentially work against you.

Act 2

The Solution

Think of solution slides as a mirror to the problem slide. Here, you want to state how you are breaking the status quo.

Great solution slides are short and to the point, explaining the essence of your product or service at its core. Don’t involve technology or features; it’s not time to talk about the product yet; we are presenting our thesis at this stage. 

Product / Features

Now that you've introduced your solution and how it disrupts the status quo, it's time to see and learn about your product and its key features.

For the product section, I suggest using visual slides that highlight just how impressive your product is. Ideally, you might include 1-2 slides dedicated to the product and its main features. The goal is for investors to take a look at your product and quickly grasp what it does, understand the UI, and recognize the effort you've put into its creation. You could add some phrases to describe what people are seeing.

Features / Benefits 

List the key features of your product and directly link each to a clear benefit, showing how it improves the customer's situation or resolves their pain points. Avoid overwhelming investors with a huge list of features— less is more. Focus on the unique ones that truly set you apart from the competition. 

How it Works

This slide is still part of the solution section of the pitch deck, and is particularly useful for explaining more complex products. The challenge here is simplifying the information to a point where -almost- anyone can understand how a product works. 

Ideally, this slide should feature a step-by-step list that outlines how users interact with the product. There's no need for an exhaustive list with all the nitty gritty details—we're not looking for that level of detail in a pitch deck. However, by this point, investors should have a clear understanding of what the product does, its capabilities, and its overall functionality.

Tech Infrastructure

This slide is usually aimed at the more tech-savvy investor, and is the one place in the pitch deck where we recommend getting slightly more technical. 

Many companies solve this with diagrams that detail their tech architecture, while others list the features in their backend from a more technical perspective.  

Target Audience

This slide is crucial, especially for early-stage companies. What you want to do here is demonstrate a deep understanding of who will use your product. Defining your target audience precisely helps investors see that you know exactly whom you're selling to and that you've thought about how to reach them effectively. The more demographics and detailed information you can provide, the better. 

This slide will be very highly linked to your Go-to-Market slide, which will talk about how you’ll get these people to pay you for your product/service. Getting the target audience slide right can be a testament to potential investors about your company's potential scalability.

Use Case / Case Study

If your product is somewhat complex,  it can be challenging for others to grasp exactly what it does and visualize it with real people/companies. Showcasing a Use Case is an excellent strategy here. 

A good use case slide provides concrete examples of how a company could enhance a process or optimize a key metric. A great use case goes further, drawing on a real scenario from one of your customers. It details specific metrics and narrates a brief story of how your product facilitated a deal, including the outcomes and improvements seen post-implementation.

Business Model

How does your company make money? 

That is the fundamental question this slide has to answer. 

Do not overcomplicate it, don’t add more details than required, and simply let potential investors know how you will monetize your product. 


This slide should focus on your expansion plans assuming that you raise capital. You should break down the main product milestones and what’s coming in the following months/years. Outline key achievements and future plans. This slide should communicate your company's journey and strategic plans moving forward.

Act 3


This slide revolves around numbers. Picture a sole metric as a snapshot and a chart as an unfolding narrative, almost cinematic - a story. Simply stating that your company has generated $1M in total revenue is intriguing, but the real interest lies in how you got there.

What portion of this revenue was earned just last month? How does this compare to the preceding months? Were there specific milestones or strategies that significantly shifted the trajectory represented in your charts? There is no faking a traction slide; it is what it is - and that’s why it’s so important. It presents facts as they are.

Traction slides can validate many aspects of your company: Product-Market fit, scalability potential, and the founding team’s capacity.  Make sure that you do a thorough job of defining what you’ve achieved. 

Unit Economics / KPIs

Raising capital is all about showing that you understand your growth, where it’s coming from, and, of course, how it will accelerate with the capital you are raising. 

If you have enough traction, then I recommend adding a slide that showcases that you understand that growth and are measuring the appropriate metrics.  Depending on the nature of your company, some KPIs are highly relevant. Think churn rate, CAC/LTV ratio, AOV, ARPU per user, or retention rate (to name a few).


This is amongst the most important slides of any pitch deck and one that is often overlooked. A great Go-To-Market slide talks about 2, maybe 3, very clear, very specific channels that you are using to grow your customer base and that you will continue to use. Do not fall into the common trap of listing numerous efforts; this shows a complete lack of focus and portrays you as inexperienced.

To to solve this slide, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What have you achieved so far? - Detail the efforts and strategies that have brought your company to its current state.
  • What current actions are showing potential? - Highlight ongoing initiatives that are yielding promising results.
  • What are your next steps? - Outline your plan to use additional capital to reach the next fundable milestone.

Market Size / TAM

The Market Size slide, or the TAM, addresses a critical question: what is the ultimate scale this company can achieve? How big can the company grow? 

You want the reader to understand the potential of your company—how big does this company get in its target market? That’s the TAM. This might sound a bit technical, but it’s essentially estimating the revenue potential if this company successfully reaches the entirety of the target audience. That's what TAM is all about - NOT the size of the problem or the size of a certain industry. 

Follow this logic to calculate your TAM

million potential clients * $ARPU (individual customer value)

Startups are exciting to investors if their TAM is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Again, it’s not about inflating your numbers; it’s about this self-assessment: is my company potential big enough to get investors excited? 

Not all companies can grow that big, and that’s OK. Just know which type of company you are and which type of investor you can target. 


Most businesses face competition. Claiming no competitors on a competitor slide is a significant red flag. If an investor knows that there are competitors in your market and confronts you with this knowledge during a pitch, it usually means the end of that opportunity. In their eyes, it signifies poor market research, a critical flaw.

Most companies enter markets with established players. It’s not about having better features or prices; it's about understanding something unique about the target market that others have missed. These insights are what can set a company apart from its competitors.

You can approach this slide as a simple business grid chart, a table comparing features, or a simple summary of your core competitors.

Secret Sauce 

This slide is sometimes refered to this slide as the 'Competitive Advatnafes'—it's essentially your chance to brag about why your company is uniquely positioned to beat the competition.

This slide should highlight your unique advantages, such as being the first to market or having unique features that competitors lack. It is by no means a recap of what you’ve outlined on the solution part of the deck or a very extensive list with multiple features


In the startup world (and more particularly - the VC world), your network can be as crucial as your idea. Investors frequently place their bets as much on the founders as they do on the products they’ve developed. 

A key way for founders to build trust is by spotlighting endorsements from prominent investors and illustrating their past professional achievements. It will not only give validation to your company, but you as an individual (or as a founding team).

If you don’t have any traction yet, this slide must prove your team's capability to launch the company toward the next fundable milestone. For example, if you're creating a tech product, having a technical co-founder or CTO is essential. Similarly, if your pitch centers on a major marketing initiative, it's crucial to have a person responsible for marketing or growth on your team. This showcases the alignment of your team's expertise with your strategic priorities. 

Financial Projections

The Financials slide is pretty straightforward.

If you’ve been operating, then in theory, you would have added the historical data from your operations. So this slide should tell a story of growth. Ideally, 3-5 years of financial projections for your company.

Founders typically add a simple table with their SG&A, COGS, CAPEX, and revenue- with a final profit margin and percentage number, requiring you to do some financial modeling. If you're looking for a budgeting template to run your financials, our financial modeling template is a great tool to get started.

And remember, keep it simple. You should not add here your P&L or your Balance Sheet, that is not the goal of this slide.  

We've also helped hundreds of startup founders understand driver-based financial modeling, which helps them understand how to model their financial data and run projections for their companies. If you wish to learn more about this service, check it out here:

The Ask

The fundraising slide must clearly showcase the amount of capital you are seeking and define the next fundable milestone, as previously discussed.

It’s common to see slides stating the funding covers "18 months of operations." This is acceptable if the financial projections align with reaching a significant business milestone—it's about hitting these metrics, not just passing time.

In this slide, I like using a pie chart to visually showcase the allocation of funds, grouping expenses into categories like Growth, R&D, and Operations. Avoid listing salaries as a standalone category; instead, incorporate them into relevant operational budgets.

If you’ve already secured commitments, detail these terms and indicate how much of the round is already pledged. Without secured funding, omit specific terms to leave space for negotiation.

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