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.
Related Article: 35 best pitch deck templates
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.
We have a video about how to create a pitch deck for investors.
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.
Since Sequoia Capital has quite the reputation for investments, it makes sense to take a page out of their book. This pitch deck is perfect for companies that are getting ready to develop a pitch when seeking investors. Similar to a business plan, a pitch helps to answer potential questions that an investor will have before putting up their money in your business. This presentation slideshow has slides that build upon each other to create your overall pitch.
Each slide of the pitch deck will help you walk your potential investors through the investment opportunity you’re offering them. The slides included in the Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck Template each have a specific purpose that leads them down the path of discovery into your pitch.
This slide is your opener. You’re presenting the problem that your target market has and works to set up your pitch. This problem is what is creating the need for your service, widget, or other solution that your company offers. Often, you want this slide to be a problem that isn’t up for debate and that you can verify exists while staying away from problematic terminology.
This slide follows up the problem by showing your solution to the previous slide’s problem. Without going into technical details or too much jargon that could turn off investors, you’ll want to lay out your solution with benefits that it offers towards the problem.
The next slide covers a potential question that many investors will have in that why is now the time? Why does this problem need an answer now? Why is now the time to capitalize on this problem? This slide is the perfect opportunity to discuss the market validation that exists.
This slide is your chance to let investors know about the scalability of this opportunity. Give your potential investors a chance to see what your share of the market can be once funded.
The competition slide is where you can show your market research skills by showing what competitors currently exist in your market, and how your solution is a better fit for consumers. This slide is where you explain how your company can create their own niche based on what other companies are currently doing.
Your product slide is where you get a chance to really get down to the meat and potatoes of the product you’re offering and what investors are putting their money into. This part is where you can go into more details about your product as the solution.
The business model that you present to your investors can make a huge difference in how your pitch is received. Investors want your company to succeed and make money because that means their investment is going to pay them back. Most investors want to see a solid business model that will create returns for them.
This slide is your time to shine a light on all those behind the company. Highlight what each of these team members brings to the project and why they are right for the future of the company.
This one is an additional slide that can be useful for discussing others that play an essential role in the company and the potential for growth.
Your financial slide can be the basics about your company’s current financials that help to explain why you’ll need the investor’s help and why you believe that the company’s future depends on that investment to move forward to the next stage. This slide is helping to get the investor to see your current success before moving on to the final slide, fundraising where you’re giving the investor the ask of your pitch.
Your final slide is almost like your call to action. You’re laying down the terms of what you’re asking for from investors. You are breaking down what the initial investment you’re looking for, and what is predicted to happen from this investment.
The Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck can be changed to fit your particular needs, such as removing slides or revising the order of slides presented.
Related read: What is a pitch deck presentation