4 Critical Pitch Deck Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Learn to recognize and avoid common pitch deck mistakes. Get advice from VCs and angel investors on how to correct them, come out on top, and get funded.

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Short answer

What are the most common pitch deck mistakes?

  1. They fail to answer critical questions
  2. They fail to present a narrative
  3. They fail to stand out in their design
  4. They fail to track engagement and make informed iterations

99% of pitch decks fail to secure funding.

You've poured your heart and soul into your startup and you’re confident that it will create waves in the market. But the facts say that 99% of startup pitch decks fail to secure crucial funding. Are you good enough to be in the top 1 percent?

A poor pitch deck can leave you (proverbially) staring at someone else leaving the investor’s office with the funds you deserve, again, and again, and again…

You may not know it, but it's likely you are making common mistakes when creating your pitch deck. This can and should be avoided.

Let me show you how.

Top 4 reasons pitch decks fail

It's a hard pill to swallow, but most startup pitch decks don't make the cut. Despite the long hours, the painstaking research, and the passion poured into these presentations, still they fall short.

Why do most pitch decks fail?

1) They don’t answer 9 critical questions

An effective company pitch deck is your golden ticket to answer the burning questions in every investor's mind. They're looking for solid evidence, not just sparkling promises.

9 critical questions any company pitch deck has to answer to persuade investors:

  1. How do you know there’s a need for your solution?

  2. What’s the competitive landscape like?

  3. What’s your target market?

  4. What’s your competitive advantage?

  5. What’s your track record?

  6. How are you planning to make money?

  7. Is your customer base expanding?

  8. Are existing customers satisfied with your solution?

  9. How are you planning to spend the investors’ money?

If your deck doesn't provide clear, concise, and compelling answers to these questions, it may leave investors with more doubts than confidence.

It’s crucial to weave these answers into your story in a way that connects with investors and leaves them convinced about the potential of your startup.

2) They don't present a narrative

A pitch deck sells a vision. If you already have traction and your future is secure you hardly need a pitch deck because you don’t need an investment.

Investors are on the lookout for a big idea. Something with the potential to disrupt a market and achieve the hyper-growth that their investment model relies on. They want to back a dream (a feasible vision), not another competitor in an already crowded market.

To give your dream substance and get investors excited, you have to weave it into a narrative with real-world examples, visualizations, and comparisons of how your vision takes form.

Scrollytelling is the best design approach for creating a narrative pitch deck.

3) They fail to stand out in their design

Pitch deck design isn't just about making decks look good. It's about making your information clear, engaging, and memorable.

Traditionally, pitch decks have been static, presented using slideshows. This classic approach is functional and familiar, but it won’t differentiate you from the hundreds of other pitch decks that investors sift through everyday.

But you can give investors a dynamic and immersive content experience that instantly hooks them in with our modern interactive pitch deck creator on your side.

You can see the difference between a static and an interactive pitch deck below:

Static pitch deck example
Static PDF or PPT
Interactive pitch deck example
Interactive Storydoc

4) They fail to track engagement and make informed iterations

One of our clients named Buzzer was an early-stage startup behind a promising sales enablement platform. They were struggling to get investors’ attention and decided to change their pitch decks to interactive Storydocs.

They made smart use of our deck analytics to track every step of investors’ interactions with their decks to see what resonated the most.

And they used what they learned to give investors what they craved and get the funding.

“I did a lot of A/B testing and optimizing, creating around a hundred versions along the way. With our investment deck, I was able to make tweaks that boosted the reading completion rate from just over 40% to almost 100%."

—Assaf Klinger, CEO of Buzzer

Buzzer case study

How to improve your pitch deck? Advice from VCs & angel investors

The best source for concrete examples of how to write your pitch deck naturally comes from investors.

Investors know what they’re looking for and they’ve seen a thousand ways in which founders mess up. Here’s what some of them have to say…

1) Tell a story

Founders should craft their pitch decks as a compelling story, keeping in mind that the audience is an investor, not a customer. The investor is trying to understand the potential return on their investment and the team's capability to solve the problem.

2) Research your investors and personalize

Entrepreneurs should research the investor they're reaching out to and understand why that particular investor is a good fit for their startup. This shows the investor that the entrepreneur has done their homework.

3) Make sure your content is relevant and authentic

  1. The first slide is crucial and should convey the purpose of the startup. It should address the "why" behind the business.

  2. The pitch deck should also highlight why the team or founder is the right fit to solve the problem.

  3. Incorporating authentic testimonials from early users can be impactful.

  4. Predicting and answering potential investor questions in the pitch deck shows preparation and understanding of the industry and potential objections.

  5. The pitch deck should be simple and easy to follow. Overloading it with content can lose the investor's interest.

4) Get feedback and iterate

Entrepreneurs should constantly seek feedback on their pitch decks and iterate based on that feedback. They should have multiple versions tailored for different audiences.

5) Look for engagement and interaction

During the pitch, it's essential to keep the conversation interactive and engaging. If the investor isn't asking questions, they might have lost interest.

Founders should anticipate potential questions from investors and address them in their pitch decks.

6) Make the ask detailed and clear

Beyond seeking financial investment, founders should also highlight other forms of support or value they seek from the investor.

VC pitch deck examples

Interactive pitch deck templates

Your company pitch deck is your startup's ticket to a brighter future. Instead of using static, snooze-inducing slides, why not make your pitch a memorable experience?

Turn your vision into an immersive journey, captivating investors from the first slide to the last by upgrading from PowerPoint to an interactive pitch deck creator.

Grab a pitch deck template and use it to create an irresistible startup pitch deck.

No templates found
Dominika Krukowska

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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