What Is a Pitch Deck? Definition and Tips

As described in my book, The Art of Startup Fundraising, ultimately founders need two different sets of pitch decks. One version will be with a lot of text and information which will be shared with people via email. The other version will be the pitch deck that entrepreneurs present to investors in person with more visuals. Having more visuals will contribute to having investors focused on you.

I do a deep dive on pitch decks in a piece that I published not long ago where I cover the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here). Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). In any case, below are essentially the slides that you want to include inside your presentation:

The solution needs to be concise and very clear. Especially if you are a tech startup, your solution needs to be scalable. Scalability is the capability of a system to increase its total output under an increased load when resources are added. This is what investors essentially want to see. A company in which they can invest in order to have the wheel turn much faster.

Moreover, it makes sense on the solution to outline why it makes sense now. As you may know timing is everything in business and being at the right time in history is what really matters. Being too early or too late to market can be the main cause of failure for startups.

Avoid statements referencing you being the only one doing this, you being the clear leader, etc. Just like Mark Cuban puts it, there are at least 100 people that have come up with that idea before you and other companies that may be tackling that same problem with a different approach.

This slide should show the month over month growth of the business (e.g. revenue, metrics, etc). This is the slide where you would include hopefully the famous hockey stick that investors want to see on every pitch deck they review. Getting to this type of “promise land“ for startups is not easy.

The team is probably one of the most important slides in any pitch deck. The investor wants to know who is driving the bus and what makes them so unique to execute on that mission and vision. Note there are at least 100 other people that have also thought about your same idea. For that reason idea is 10% and 90% is from execution.

If you have the right people seated on the right seats of the bus the company will end up finding its direction to success. Unfortunately when you are investing in a first time founder you are also investing in that individual‘s education and all the mistakes he or she will make during the early days. This is always part of the journey and there is no way to go around it.

Perhaps another slide that you want to include is one that describes how much capital each competitor has already raised in the past and at what valuation. This could help in providing some perspective of how much the market is paying. This could also play in your favor when the time comes to negotiate the terms of the deal or proceeding with a potential investment.

This slide is more important than entrepreneurs normally think. When you first connect with an institutional investor they will ask for your pitch deck. 3 months later they will ask you on your next meeting where things are at and then they will make a decision. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to be more on the conservative side and to over deliver. Worst thing that can happen is for you to completely miss the mark and under promise.

On the ask slide you want to be strategic. Do not put a specific amount that you are raising. For example, if you would like to raise $5 million, I would suggest putting a range between $3 million and $5 million. Firms have limitations on their investment which means that if you place $5 million in your pitch deck and that firm has a mandate to not invest over $3 million, you will most likely have them pass. By including the range from $3 million to $5 million on the raise amount you are also including such firms. For that reason you want to be attractive to as many targets as possible, so go with ranges instead of specific amounts.

Most founders forget to include in their pitch deck their contact information. If you have a large following on social media you should include the links on the cover slide. I find this would provide social proof. Interested investors will most likely look you up and will also reach out to people in common in order to ask for references.

How to Create a Pitch Deck for Investors in 2022 – Free Template included!

Benefits of a good pitch deck

There are several benefits to creating a pitch deck including:

Reinforcing company branding

It can be an opportunity to brand your product or project and use it as a marketing tool even after you have finished your presentation. You may also learn to refine your companys message for marketing elsewhere. For example, your pitch deck might become the template you use in business conferences or public meetings. You can also add it to your employers website or the companys portfolio.

Creating awareness

A pitch deck can help you get media coverage for your product or project. If your presentation attracts interest, investors may do their research by reading articles and watching videos about your product and your role within the company. Typically, this results in additional publicity to help more people learn about the need your idea fulfills. This increased awareness can help you attract more customers and partners to strengthen your company.

Helping raise capital

A well-polished deck can be an effective tool for raising capital from investors. Creating a deck that conveys enough information and details about your product or project can help secure funding. It also reassures investors and others that you know how to market your product which may increase the chances of receiving support.

Generating interest

Focusing on the design and clarity to communicate your value proposition and market potential allows you to generate more interest among potential investors, customers or business partners. You can also share your presentation to gain insights into how others perceive your business idea. Understanding others opinions can help you improve your product or project and make it more desirable to customers.

Sending a powerful message

A pitch deck may require you to develop a clear, basic and concise message about your business idea. Generally, this becomes the basis for other marketing materials such as social media advertisements, corporate videos or your company’s profile. It can also be helpful when speaking to potential customers or discussing your business idea with other colleagues. This message may help you identify whats most important within your organization and convey it to others.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck, also known as an investor or a startup pitch deck, is a business overview used to raise capital or gain clients or customers. The pitch deck, usually presented as a series of slides on a projection screen or in a PowerPoint, accompanies a verbal presentation.

Pitch decks are best for face-to-face or video call meetings, so your audience can see your slides while listening to your presentation. The slides allow you to show your ideas to people outside of your company and hopefully instill an interest that will lead to investment or customer support. A great pitch deck looks professional, makes a strong first impression and is creative and well-researched.

What to include in a pitch deck

A great pitch deck tells an engaging story and answers all possible questions a potential investor, partner or customer may have about the business or product. Be sure to include the following information and elements in your pitch deck:

Slide 1: The overview

Start by clearly and concisely stating what your business or product does. Include an image or your companys logo. Use blank space on the slide to draw attention to your statement.

Slide 2: The problem

Describe an issue you see in your industry or market. Explain how you found the problem using facts, if possible. Keep the writing concise and use your verbal presentation to fully explain the issue in the market.

Slide 3: The opportunity

Use data to demonstrate that there is a need for a solution to this problem. Create a chart or graph that helps illustrate the need for your product.

Slide 4: The solution

Share solutions that could solve the problem compared to your competitors products or responses.

Slide 5: The product

Demonstrate how your solution is better than anything else on the current market. Be confident and clear in your explanation.

Slide 6: The business model

Show that you have researched every aspect of your business. Share charts and graphs demonstrating how your business will perform based on data.

Slide 7: The competition

Discuss what your competitors are doing. Show examples of their products or services. Point out flaws or missed opportunities.

Slide 8: The value

Explain why you will do better in the marketplace than your competitors. Use data and research to support your reasoning.

Slide 9: The marketing plan

Share a clear and specific plan for marketing your product. Include projections for how you expect your marketing to impact sales.

Slide 10: The team

Provide biographies for the members of your team. Share their accomplishments and explain how they will add to the value of the business.

Slide 11: The financials

Discuss how much capital you need to reach your goals. Share what capital you have already raised. Project what sort of return possible investors can expect should they choose to contribute.

What not to include in a pitch deck

Pitch decks should support your verbal presentation but still provide enough information that a possible investor or client could review without your talking points and understand what your business does. Avoid the following when creating your pitch deck:

A lengthy first slide

Your first slide should immediately explain the purpose of your business. State what your business does and include your companys logo or an image of your product. It is not necessary to include bullet points or paragraphs describing your business.

Technical details

A few technical details are good but you do not want to overwhelm or confuse your audience by sharing too much. Your audience wants to know why your product will be successful in the market and not necessarily the intricacies of how it works. Investors will ask additional questions about your pitch if they need more technical information.


Animation can distract your audience from what you are saying. You and your product should be the focus of the presentation, not unrelated slideshow elements.

Busy templates

Select a template for your pitch deck that is professional and simple. A template that has too many features will distract from your presentation.

Too many slides

Keep your pitch deck short and simple. Include enough information that your audience feels confident in your product or company but do not make it so long that they start to lose interest.

Absence of images

Include images, charts and graphs in your pitch deck that support what you are saying in your presentation. Make sure the images are high quality and relevant to what you are discussing.

Pitch deck tips

You can follow these tips as you build your pitch deck:


What is a pitch deck?

While pitch decks vary in size, the average length is 12 to 14 slides (and never longer than 20), with each slide presenting one clear idea. Although its order can change depending on how you wish to tell your story, the general slides to include are: 1. Company vision.

What does a pitch deck include?

What to include in your pitch deck
  • Vision and value proposition. This is a quick one-sentence overview of your business and the value that you provide to your customers. …
  • The problem. …
  • Target market and opportunity. …
  • The solution. …
  • Revenue model or business model. …
  • Traction and validation/roadmap. …
  • Marketing and sales strategy. …
  • Team.

How do you structure a pitch deck?

11 tips for creating a pitch deck that will get you funded
  • Consider your audience. – …
  • Focus your message. – …
  • Give your audience the right information. – …
  • Use your numbers and data to tell a story. – …
  • Pack an emotional punch. – …
  • Convey a sense of urgency. – …
  • Get straight to the point. – …
  • Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it honest. –

What is a pitch deck for investors?

90% of the pitch decks we get use Calibri as their primary font. This means that visually, most of our pitch decks blend together. If you want to stand out visually, I strongly suggest that you explore fonts other than Calibri. Don’t be afraid to download and install new fonts.

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