How to Create a Pitch Deck for Investors [Templates + Design Tips]

How to Create a Pitch Deck for Investors [Templates + Design Tips]
Masooma Memon

Written by:
Masooma Memon

Sep 09, 2021

A pitch deck is a presentation that entrepreneurs and startups founders use to highlight their business, intrigue investors and potentially raise funding to grow their company.

Because it plays a useful role in telling effective visual stories, you can’t undermine the role a solid pitch deck plays in convincing investors.

But the question is: how do you create a pitch deck that actually wins investors?

Let’s answer that for you in this piece. We’ll look at:

  • What a pitch deck is and why you need one
  • What slides to include in your pitch deck and what documents to bundle it with
  • The secrets to creating a winning investor presentation including design tips to follow

Let’s jump in.

If you're ready to create your pitch deck, head over to our presentation software and put together a powerful investor deck in minutes. Use ready-to-go templates inspired from real-life startups, add your branding and more.

 

Table of Contents

What is a Pitch Deck?

Slides Your Pitch Deck Should Include

Important Documents to Include With Your Pitch

Pitch Deck Best Practices & Design Tips

 

What is a Pitch Deck?

First, a quick recap: a pitch deck — aka an investor or startup pitch deck — is a presentation that you create to give investors a quick overview of your business and its growth potential.

Think of it as the vehicle that transports your business idea’s value proposition and potential from your mind to your audience’s minds.

The aim? To make it to the next meeting, secure funding, get someone to join your team or anything else depending on who you’re presenting to.

You can create a pitch deck using any presentation software. But if you want your pitch deck to stand out, you need to make sure it doesn't look like any other PowerPoint presentation.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

 

When Do You Need a Pitch Deck?

You need a pitch deck whenever you need to pitch your business to anyone.

This could be anyone from a venture capitalist to someone you think will make a great co-founder. It could also be the astute-looking panel of judges in a startup pitching competition.

Whoever you’re presenting to, you need a pitch deck to succinctly and powerfully convey your ideas and request.

Sure, you can also explain your idea verbally. But that’s an ineffective way of presenting your business idea considering you could either underdeliver or overdeliver the needed information.

A pitch deck lets you use visuals like images, graphics, screenshots and videos that help convey your message better and leave a lasting impact in the minds of your audience.

For example, you can share your financial projections and showcase your mobile app more effectively with a pitch deck presentation than verbally or without visual aids.

With that, let's look at what to include in an effective pitch deck.

 

Slides Your Pitch Deck Should Include

The key to a successful pitch deck is to make sure you cover your basics and include all the slides your investors want to see.

Typically, good pitch decks include anywhere around 10 slides. This isn’t a set-in-stone rule though, and you can go above or below this number depending on the slides you need.

Or, you can experiment with an infographic-style pitch deck — similar to Piccsy’s infographic pitch deck.

But, a general rule of thumb is to keep your presentation deck short.

The reason? When you're fighting for your audience’s attention, a 30-slide long presentation never helps. In contrast, a short and powerful presentation is always a winner.

That said, here’s a brief pitch deck outline of the important slides you need.

 

1. Title

The title is the first slide that shows in your pitch deck. So, you can call it your impression-building slide that sets the scene for your business ideas.

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Pay attention to the visual elements (colors, fonts and any images) since they set the overall mood — more on this in a bit.

Also, it’s best to be minimal here. Meaning: your name and your business’s name are enough. You can also add a short and snappy tagline if you have one.

 

2. Introduction

The introduction slide is where you introduce yourself to build credibility. The shorter the intro, the better since you want to focus on the business idea, not yourself.

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You can also use this slide to communicate your unique selling point (USP) or value proposition, like in the example above. Or, describe what your business is and what it does quickly.

 

3. Problem

Up till now, the title and intro slides were a mere formality. The problem slide, however, is where you start building your story.

Use whatever visual cues you need to showcase your problem in the best possible way. You can start with a story that puts your investors in your customers' shoes, like in the example below:

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

You’ll want to make sure you communicate your target buyer’s problem effectively. Fail here and it’s likely you won’t be able to convince your audience of your product’s need.

Also, you can always start your presentation with the problem and skip the introduction. There are no hard and fast rules — use whatever works to get investors’ attention and make your case.

 

4. Solution

Once you've presented the problem, it's time to follow up with a viable solution — your service or product.

You can introduce the solution in any number of ways — share your product MVP or a list of the features you offer; whatever makes a convincing case.

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If it makes sense, throw in another slide here that shares product features.

But, in your presentation, focus more on the benefits each feature offers instead of the feature itself. Approach this slide in a way that it relates to the problem stated and shows how your business idea can solve it instead of just promoting your product.

That said, it’s best you don’t present a laundry list of features. Keep them to the top 3-4 features of your product or service.

The human brain can only hold seven — give or take two — things in their working memory at a time.

So focusing on a handful of features is your best bet to ensure your audience doesn’t forget your business idea.

Put simply, remember: less is more.

You can also combine your problem and solution slides and present all the information in one slide — this can help your audience connect the dots and see how your solution fits into context.

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5. Market Size, Opportunity and Trends

Sure, there’s an itch that your product can scratch. But is it an itch worth scratching?

Put another way: is there a market for those interested in scratching the itch? Answer that in this slide.

You can show the market size with the help of numbers, or use data visualization like a pie chart or bar graph to make your point.

Customize this presentation theme and make it your own!Edit and Download

Another way to go about this slide is to focus on the market trends and why it's the right time for your business to come into the picture. You can show this with the help of a timeline that visualizes the evolution of consumer behavior, for example.

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The point is, showcase the need for your product. But instead of plainly sharing your findings or numbers, use visual aids like graphs, bar charts, surveys and more to make your point.

Visuals present data in a visually appealing format, therefore, making it easy to understand and digest.

 

6. Product Comparison

If your product has competitors, you’ll want to pull up a product comparison slide to make a visually engaging case for how your product compares to others.

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This way, you won’t lose your audience’s attention while effectively positioning your product as the hero the market needs.

SaaS businesses find product comparison slides especially useful for comparing features and pricing. But you can also use product comparisons for other businesses, such as real estate.

 

7. Testimonials

Adding customer testimonials brings social proof to the table — a great way to impress your audience, increase trust and further build on the need for your product or service.

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Don’t have anyone saying nice words about your product (yet)? No problem.

You can still use this slide to feature complaining customer reviews on your competitors. Make sure the reviews you curate all point out to the same problem that your product will help solve.

 

8. Team

If you already have more than one person involved in your company at this point, you’ll also need a slide that introduces your team.

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Your team slide can also show potential investors, or folks you’re convincing to join you and the brilliant minds who are working with you on your idea as advisors.

Pro-tip: Show real human faces instead of using generic stock photos of teamwork. The former is a more authentic way to go about building trust and connecting with your audience.

 

9. Traction

In this slide, show investors what you have achieved till now. If you already have a growing user base, you can visually show it with the help of a line graph.

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If you don't have any traction at this point, don't worry about this slide. Focus on highlighting your business idea and its potential as much as you can.

 

10. Financials

This slide features your business idea’s financial projections. You can present this in the form of a table, or use data visualization to make the information easier to digest.

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In this slide, include data on how you’ll charge people, how you concluded that’d pay the amount and how the plan will help you hit your financial milestones.

 

11. Sales & Marketing Strategy

Interested investors will also want to know the plan you have to reach the goals and financial projections you’ve highlighted — this is where your sales and marketing strategy comes in.

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To this end, use a flowchart, a graphic list of steps, timeline or any other visual to summarize your sales and marketing plan. You can also use bullets with icons to showcase key tactics.

 

12. Call-to-Action

Finally, you’ll need a slide that makes the ask.

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You don’t need anything fancy here. If you’ve told a compelling story, your audience will be happy to get in touch, splash out money or take whatever step you want them to.

Don’t forget to add your contact details to this slide.

 

Important Documents to Include With Your Pitch

With what to add to your presentation deck out of the way, let’s look at the documents you need with it to make a strong and compelling case:

 

1. Cover Letter

Your cover letter shares a 1-2-page long persuasive story that sets the stage for your business idea.

Think of it as an icebreaker that convinces investors or anyone else who is your target audience to view your business idea.

Here's a cover letter template you can use for your own investor pitch:

sales associate cover letter template
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

If you're looking for cover letter designs, head over to our template library and check out our full collection of cover letter templates to find one you like.

 

2. Elevator Pitch Statement

All of us know the always-wanted-but-much-dreaded one-page pitch that summarizes a business idea.

Essentially, an elevator statement shouldn’t read longer than 20-30 seconds — the time it takes to ride an elevator.

And, to ensure you win your audience’s attention, be sure to make this pitch memorable, to the point and interesting.

 

3. Business Plan

A business plan includes the A to Z of how you plan to put your business on its feet.

Meaning: you need a detailed marketing plan, sales strategy, competitors analysis, financial plan, risk analysis — just about anything you’ll do when you win funds.

Here's a business plan template you can use to get a head start:

A startup business plan template available in Visme.
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Looking for more templates and design options? Check out our complete collection of business plan templates — fully designed and ready-to-go.

 

4. Financial Report

If the finances blueprint in your business plan isn’t in-depth enough, you’ll need a separate model.

The plan? Thoroughly explain how you’ll use the investment. And, how you plan to generate profits while factoring in market trends, customer pocket and economic drivers among other things.

Here's a financial report template you can use:

dark blue yellow and white annual report template for businesses with a modern theme, icons and a map
Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

If you’re in a later stage of your startup, provide an up-to-date look at your metrics including an outline of how you’ve used up finances so far.

Providing a data-driven model like this shows you’re well-positioned to responsibly use investors’ money and drive profits.

 

Pitch Deck Best Practices & Design Tips

The slides above are a must-have for a successful pitch deck. But to take your presentation to the next level, there are some best practices and design tips you should keep in mind.

Let's get into the meat and potatoes of how to create a pitch deck so that you have a winner at your hands:

 

1. Leverage storytelling techniques

Good stories stick.

They’re persuasive.

And, they tug at your audience’s emotions to encourage them to decide in your favor — yes, we make decisions mostly based on emotions with some logic backing it.

Try any of these storytelling formulas for your presentation:

The before-after-bridge formula.

Start with describing a world with a specific problem (before). Go on to share a world without the problem (after). Now, introduce your business idea (the bridge).

The PAS formula.

This stands for Problem, Agitate and Solution.

And it goes like this: describe a problem (read: your target buyer’s problem), develop the problem and offer a solution to it (your product or service).

TED talk presenter Nancy Duarte’s formula for great talks.

It involves zooming back and forth between what is (the status quo) and what could be (the future that could be). Then, pack in the climax with your business idea (the bliss).

Whichever storytelling framework you work with, make sure you structure your presentation well for a smooth flow.

Here's a video to help you learn more about presentation structures:

 

2. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

The more you emphasize the benefits of your business idea, the more effective your pitch will be.

Back in 2007, Dropbox succeeded at raising $1.7 billion in funding. It also got backing from investors like JP Morgan.

And how did they do it? By focusing on the benefits of their idea. To this end, they talked about revolutionizing how people store and share data.

So you know what to do, right? Delve into the benefits; how your product will make its customers’ life easy.

 

3. Show, Don’t Tell

Whenever possible, give people reasons to invest in your idea by showing how it works.

Take a look at Tinder's pitch deck example:

Tinder earned $50 million + in funding in just three rounds with this deck.

How? By showing what their business idea will do.

They start with a relatable story. Then they ‘show’ the solution by featuring their app in their presentation.

You can steal this idea too. Use wireframes, a minimum viable product, even mockup screenshots — anything that helps people visualize the solution you’re offering.

And in case you’re wondering why this works, know that by showing, you’re tapping into your audience’s imagination to get them to say yes. This is the same reason why storytelling is so effective in persuading people.

 

4. Make Your Pitch Deck Look Professional

Using a DIY design tool like Visme can help with this even if your designing chops aren't all that polished. It will make your pitch deck look different from other presentations that look more or less the same when designed in PowerPoint.

Pitch Deck Templates

To top that, you can use presentation templates to save your time. Because, realistically speaking, you only need to customize the template to your needs.

Even as you use an amazing tool to create your presentation, keep the following presentation design tips in mind:

 

Don’t clutter your slides.

We’ve already said this before: use as few slides as you can.

But while you’re at it, make sure each slide is minimally designed to leave a lasting impression.

Because, here’s the thing: clutter fails to grasp your audience’s attention. And, the last thing you want is an investor scratching their head, trying to breathe sense into the mess that your slides are.

To create breathable, clutter-free slides: use only visuals that you need — no unnecessary icons or graphics.

Make sure every design element earns its keep by serving a purpose.

 

Use legible fonts.

Steer clear of a font that demands your audience to squint to read your message.

Instead, work with easily readable presentation fonts like Verdana, Georgia, Montserrat and more.

Presentation do's and don'ts for using fonts and colors.

Make sure the font size is no less than 24 points.

Lastly, stick with 2-3 fonts at most. More fonts will only create distractions and undermine your design’s cleanliness.

 

Work with good color contrasts.

It’s best to work on your business’s brand identity as early as you can.

The reason? It helps you leave a memorable impression on your audience.

If you’re in the very early stages of pitching your idea though, you might not be focused on it until you get investment rolling. In which case, we recommend you take the time to carefully choose colors for your presentation.

Presentation do's and don'ts for consistent design.

Essentially, colors leave a psychological impact on your viewers. For instance, red communicates passion. Blue inspires trust. Yellow stands for optimism and so on.

This means you can’t randomly play with any color for your presentation slides.

To increase your odds of leaving a lasting impression, study color psychology before finalizing your deck’s color scheme.

Also, make sure you work with a color contrast that’s legible. This ensures the deck is easy to understand.

 

5. Craft Compelling Pitch Deck Copy

With your design nailed, work on your copy.

The aim is simple: keep your copy simple, succinct and to the point.

A presentation deck is no place to be wordy. Instead, limit to 6-8 lines per slide — roughly 30 words per slide.

You can also try the 5 x 5 x 5 rule of writing presentation copy:

  • 5 lines of text per slide with
  • 5 words per line and placing only
  • 5 lines of text-heavy slides in a row

Or, you can experiment with the 2/4/8 rule that says:

  • Change to a new slide after every 2 minutes with
  • 4 bullet points per slide and no more than
  • 8 words per bullet point

No matter which method you choose to write your presentation copy, the core is the same: limit your text.

To do so, start with writing your copy without worrying about word count. Then go on to edit ruthlessly. Prune words that are too technical or contribute fluff.

Get rid of jargon too — use simple words instead so your audience doesn’t have to stress to keep up with your message.

Plus, avoid abbreviations and rewrite sentences to shorten them.

 

6. Practice Your Presentation Delivery

Lastly, it’s important you present with confidence. This is key to hitting your funding goals.

Make sure you practice everything — what you’ll say, how you’ll say it (your tone) and how you’ll time your speech and the slides.

You’ll also want to practice speaking at a steady pace. If you go too slow, you risk boring your audience.

On the flip side, going too fast, a common presentation mistake, often means you won’t be able to drive home your message.

And, as you practice: get rid of the ‘umms’ and ‘ahs.’ Keep your presentation delivery natural, even conversational. But never read off from your presentation — it’s a huge audience turn-off.

Not to mention, try to maintain eye contact (despite the fact that it can be overwhelming). Having a hard time doing that? Look at your crowd’s foreheads.

 

Create a Pitch Deck That Wins Over Investors

And that’s all folks. We’re hopeful you’re feeling confident about how to create a pitch deck.

Remember: it’s all about your target buyers and how your business can help them.

So, focus on the benefits and the problem your product will solve. Tell a relatable story around it. And finally, present it with confidence.

Don’t forget to create a visually convincing presentation deck. If you want a head start, sign up for Visme and start creating an attention-grabbing investor pitch deck now.

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    About the Author

    Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed, actionable blog posts for SaaS and marketing brands who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.

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