A pitch deck is usually a 10-20 slide presentation designed to give a short summary of your company, your business plan and your startup vision. It also serves very different purposes, from trying to get a meeting with a new investor, to presenting in front of a stage, and each one of them should follow a different structure.
A demo day presentation, for example, should be very visual and contain very little text. It’s going to be seen from afar and you’re going to do all the talking. On the other hand, a pitch presentation that you’re planning to email should be completely self-explanatory. It’s going to be seen on a laptop monitor, so small font is not so bad.
In these cases it’s also very useful to track your investor’s activity on the presentation, to figure out if they actually read the 100% of the slides; this can be critical when determining the frequency for follow up emails. In our case, it was key to raising our most recent round of funding. A number of pitch deck platforms offer this as a feature.
Here’s a video we made about how to create a pitch deck:
If you made it here, you are probably looking for inspiration to create a pitch deck for your own startup. Yeah, you’ve come to the right place. Let me start by saying that this might not be the best approach to take when pitching investors: “Each investor deck should be tailored to the company’s strengths." Let's begin by covering some basics:
The story you tell about your idea, team and concept validation (yes, metrics!!) is what will ultimately determine if your deck is appealing or not. Still, getting some inspiration from previously successful startups is definitely a good place to start.
This is one of the most searched references on the internet, probably because it’s a company so familiar to us all. As you will see, this is a classic 10 Slide Investor Deck template, not too far from Dave McClure’s Startup Viagra.
We’ve also taken the liberty of redesigning the original slides using Slidebean's Pitch Deck Templates, and wrote a full article about the process and a teardown of the original content. You can find that here:
This is the Airbnb slide layout:
The killer slide in this presentation is their business model slide because it lays out their revenue model in the simplest possible way. They make a 10% commission on each transaction, period.
Also, notice how simple the problem slide has been laid out on the presentation: 3 simple bullets are enough to portray the problem.
Even though we redesigned the original elevator pitch, the simplicity and the small amount of elements in each slide was inherent from the original deck. As we’ve mentioned before, less is more when talking about presentations.
For the ninth anniversary of the founding of Uber, it's co-founder Garret Camp shared the first slides they created in late 2008. At the beginning, Uber was originally called UberCab, and it has evolved from a simple idea into a major platform that has improved the car service industry.
Here you have Uber's 25 slide deck! There's a lot to be learned from their first ever pitch:
It’s rather hard to imagine a world without Facebook today. But back in 2004, 21 year old Eduardo Saverin was just another entrepreneur trying to convince people to put money into a growing company called thefacebook.com, co-founded by him and his friend Mark Zuckerberg.
The story about how they founded one of the most successful companies in history was dramatically portrayed in the 2010 movie: The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg himself has admitted that the movie, as many other biopics, is inaccurate in many aspects. But he also acknowledges that the movie gets a lot of details right.
One of them is that Eduardo did in fact go to New York in 2004 at the time when thefacebook.com was launched, to try and sell Facebook’s initial idea of ads to potential clients.
Facebook’s original deck was basically a media kit containing the company’s value proposition, key metrics and Online Marketing Services.
At that time the company wasn’t making any money from The Facebook, so their presentation wasn’t based on revenue traction (actually they were still figuring out their business model overall). Instead, they bet on solid numbers such as their user engagement, customer base and growth metrics.
Here's the Facebook slide layout:
The biggest difference you’ll find from this presentation to an investor deck used today is that there’s no Problem Slide. Facebook was pretty much creating the necessity for college students to interact in the digital world. A created necessity that turned so real and massive soon enough it was obvious it would need to transcend colleges and universities in the US.
Our slide deck at the 500 Startups demo day was the culmination of a 2 startup accelerator process, hours of rehearsal and dozens of adjustments thanks to the feedback from our mentors. Pitching on a Demo Day event is very different from pitching to an investor on a one-on-one meeting. I've blogged about it before:
Related Read: A complete guide to creating a pitch deck presentation
Furthermore, if we advertise Slidebean as a presentation builder, our presentations need to ROCK, which does put a lot of pressure for any demo day or on stage pitches we need to do.
Here's the latest version of our deck:
Slidebean slide layout:
Notice the BIG difference in the number of slides. Remember this is a demo day deck, so it is expected that somebody will be standing in front of the presentation.
Most slides have very little text and only one or two large images, so you can sweep over the presentation much faster. If you look at the video, you'll notice that each slide stays on the screen just a few seconds.
Related read: What is a pitch deck presentation