How to Create a Pitch Deck for Your Startup

Woman presenting her pitch deck.

One of the most powerful tools you'll have by your side when talking to prospective partners is your pitch deck. Most importantly, an effective pitch deck can help you raise money from potential investors by helping to convey your business idea and startup's unique competitive advantage.

A pitch deck should articulate your goals and describe how you plan on accomplishing them to help you secure the capital to bring your business idea to life or scale your startup.

Recommended: Check out our review of the best pitch deck software for startups.

The Basics of Startup Pitch Decks

What Is a Pitch Deck?

A pitch deck is a presentation about your startup's mission, the problem you're solving, market size and opportunity, product or service, go to market strategy, traction, competitive landscape, and information about yourself and your team. Overall, all the slides included are geared towards telling a compelling story about your company to help you raise money, find partners, or spark interest in your startup.

Why Do Startups Need a Pitch Deck?

Pitch decks are commonly used when a startup is seeking funding, especially venture capital. A solid pitch deck can increase investor confidence making them more likely to deploy capital into your company.

Additionally, while you can use this pitch deck presentation for potential investors, you can also use it as a proposal to other possible partners and refine your business model at an early stage.

How to Create a Startup Pitch Deck

Whether you're in an early stage or Series E, a great pitch deck is integral to conveying your startup's value and securing necessary funding. Pitch decks are typically brief but informative and include visual elements to help with the pitch presentation.

While you can opt to use a pitch deck template, you can also create a successful pitch deck yourself. Here's what to include to create a pitch deck for your startup:

1. Introduction to Your Startup

The first slide or 'business model slide' of your presentation should simply introduce your business idea as well as your business model. A value proposition is often included in this slide so that investors or potential partners can clearly understand how your startup helps others.

The introduction slide should use vocabulary that is simple to understand and should not include any technical language that might confuse or distract from the presented information.

2. The Problem Your Company is Solving

The real value of a product or service is its ability to solve a problem that many people are experiencing. The second slide in your pitch deck communicates how your startup is solving this pain point and why it matters.

There are a few common ways to convey the problem your startup is solving; telling an impactful story or including data and statistics. If you choose to rely on data to convey this, look for trends in the market that could prove the demand for your particular service or product and include it in your problem slide.

3. Target Market and Market Size

For investors or partners to feel your startup is investable, they'll want to know if they will get their money back. Having a slide that focuses on your target market helps to confirm the market size and opportunity to potential investors.

This can include demographics, market trends, user testimony, or statistics indicating there is a market opportunity to be seized. Plus, conveying to investors the market size for your business idea helps them understand how much market share the startup could initially take.

4. The Solution

This is your chance to position your startup as the solution to the problem you stated earlier in your presentation. Of course, the solution should already have been generally stated as the value proposition on the first slide, but this is your opportunity to take it a step further. 

Don't fall into the trap of just stating all the features your product or service offers. Investors want to know the actual value behind those features and what customers could gain by signing up for your product or service.

5. Validation and/or Traction

The traction or validation of the business model your startup has seen should be conveyed with hard, empirical evidence in your pitch deck. Investors don't just want slides and a presentation; they want data showing that what you are saying is actually true. 

Once you start offering your product or service for purchase, you should be tracking important key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure customer feedback and the reception of the product.

Demonstrating all growth and traction data points in your pitch deck conveys how much demand the market has for your service or product as well as how it is being received by your target market.

6. Marketing and Sales Strategy

The next slide of your pitch deck needs to communicate how you will get your product or service into the hands of your customers on a wide scale. Your pitch deck should state all of your startup's growth channels and the business strategy you have in place to execute the delivery of your product or service to your target market.

If you are in the early stage, this may include your go to market strategy.

7. Industry Landscape

You might think the less competition you present to investors, the better, but the opposite is actually true. Investors want to see a proof of concept, and if nobody has done what you are planning on doing, it will be very hard to convince them it will work.

Including a slide on industry landscape is a great way to show investors what other companies are doing and your unique competitive advantage against them.

8. Introduce Your Team

Investors are walking into your pitch with preconceived notions on what works and what doesn't work. You want to prove that you have all the pieces of your team put together that can contribute to the startup's success. 

The goal of the team slide is to build credibility by conveying the capability and experience of your team to execute your business plan.

9. Share Financials

One of the most important pieces of the entire presentation is your financials because this is where investors see if the investment is really worth it. Three to five years is generally enough time to project into the future and give investors a realistic idea of where the startup will end up. 

Do not become frustrated if your projections are low in the first year or two — that is normal. As long as your projections have exponential growth in the near-distant future, it will likely be enough to convince investors to support your startup.

10. Investment and Use of Funds

You'll want to show investors exactly where their money will end up. Investors want to make sure that their money will be handled responsibly and with respect — even if they already like the company.

Giving clear plans on how much capital you need and how you will use the money could even lead to some investors giving you great feedback on their thoughts on how you could use the money.