Building your pitch deck: A slide-by-slide walkthrough


As a startup founder, your pitch deck is one of the best weapons in your fundraising arsenal. This article will give you the essential elements of a successful pitch deck and provide tips for creating a strong and persuasive presentation.
In our last article, Executing the raise: The pitch , you learned that your pitch serves as a persuasive way to communicate the essence of your business idea and value to potential investors. 
Now that you’ve gone through your foundational pitch steps — building your narrative, gathering your data and determining exactly who you may want to pitch to — you have enough information to start building your pitch deck.
Depending on your strengths, creating a strong deck can take anywhere from a week to a couple of months, since you’ll want to get feedback on it before actually using it to pitch to investors.
Here’s how to build a pitch deck that opens the door to further conversations with VCs and makes a lasting impression.

How to create a pitch deck that gets you to “yes”

It’s been said before, and we’ll say it again: Your pitch should be a story. A good story. A great one, even.
Defining your narrative — including market opportunity, product, team, etc. — should be 80% of the work you put into building a successful presentation. In your pitch deck, work your way from describing an urgent market need to illustrating why your product is the right solution.
Don’t get lost in the weeds describing your product in minute detail; instead, highlight key successes and outcomes, and draw attention to your fantastic team and why your people are perfectly suited for the mission at hand.
When delivering your pitch, keep these thoughts in mind:
  1. The first five to 10 minutes of a pitch are absolutely critical to focus attention. Be highly selective about what you present during these first key minutes, and ruthlessly cut anything that doesn’t meet your main objective.
  2. Before you open the floor to objections or questions, make sure you get to the “wow” factor in your pitch deck.
  3. Help your audience along the way by anchoring your pitch deck in the familiar, while also surprising and delighting them with one or two truly unique, powerful things.
  4. The length of your pitch deck will depend on the venue and forum, but in general, keep it to 12-24 slides.
  5. The order of recommended slides is flexible, depending on your company, product and audience. Think about your narrative as you’re creating the order. What sequence of slides helps you best tell your story?

The slide walkthrough: Here are the pieces you must include

1. Company name. If you’ve already begun to create a brand strategy, use your brand elements here (colors, fonts, logo) to give your VC audience a quick taste of who you are as a company.
2. Introduction: A brief overview of your company and its purpose. One short sentence will do on this slide! You can deliver the longer introduction verbally.

3. Problem: Concisely and clearly identify the problem you are aiming to solve.

4. Solution: Clearly state how your product or service solves the problem.

5. Market opportunity: Describe the market size and overall potential for your solution. This section will include charts and graphs of things like Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Available Market (SAM), Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM), market segmentation and market growth rate.

6. Product-market fit: Show your evidence for the alignment of your product to the needs of a specific market or customer segment. You’ll need visuals in this section that show things like market research, customer feedback and testimonials, revenue growth, engagement metrics and monetization.

7. Go-to-market strategy: Describe how you plan to acquire and retain customers. Are you marketing-led, product-led or sales-led? How do you plan to make money? Who is your target customer? What’s your pricing model?

8. Differentiation: Analyze the competitive landscape and spotlight what sets you apart and how you are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of your target market.

9. Financial snapshot: On these slides, you’ll provide an overview of your startup’s financial situation, including current revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, net income and burn rate.

10. Team: Champion your team and showcase their talents, experience and accomplishments.

11. Financial projections: Provide a forecast of your revenue, expenses and profits. Lay a plan for what you’ll accomplish together in the next 12-24 months.

12. Thank you: Indicate the end of the pitch by including a slide that simply says, “Thanks” or “Thank you.”

Bonus: If you have room, add one or two slides outlining your vision and mission.

The final check: Reviewing and revising your pitch deck

A great pitch doesn’t just give investors the nuts and bolts of your company. It also lets you showcase your storytelling abilities and your passion for your company. Investors are looking for a sound business plan, and they want to partner with a team that is committed to a strong company vision.
Understanding the key elements of your pitch deck gives you a big head start when you sit down to map out your slides and add those cool visuals and metrics.
Here’s your checklist for they key slides to include in your pitch deck:
●      Company name.
●      Introduction.
●      Problem.
●      Solution.
●      Market opportunity.
●      Product-market fit.
●      Go-to-market strategy.
●      Differentiation.
●      Financial snapshot.
●      Team.
●      Financial projections.
●      Thank you.

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