How to Create the Pitch Deck Investors Are Looking for?

Learn how to make a pitch deck that gets you funded. Get tips for creating decks investors love. Learn the best structure and what to include in a pitch deck.

How to create a pitch deck

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Short answer

What to include in a pitch deck?

  1. Title slide

  2. Introduction

  3. Problem

  4. Solution

  5. Market size and opportunity

  6. Business and revenue model

  7. Traction and validation

  8. Marketing/growth strategy

  9. Team

  10. Financials

  11. Investment and use of funds

Read detailed breakdown further down ⤵

99% of pitch decks fail. Are you any different?

On average investor spend 10-20 seconds assessing a pitch deck. And if your deck does not include the info they're looking for, investors will simply disqualify you.

We’ve analyzed over 100,000 pitch deck sessions and ended up with basic slides that hold the information investors want to get.

If you include these slides in your pitch deck, and apply my advice on how to build them, you’ll make a top 1% pitch deck, and earn a good chance of getting funded.

Let’s go!

“The best pitch decks don't feel like they were created for the benefit of venture capitalists. They feel like an outgrowth of the work the startup is already doing.”

— Michael Wolfe
Startup founder, entrepreneur, and investor

amotz harari - head of marketing at storydoc

How to structure your pitch deck as a narrative?

AIf you hope to grab attention and win hearts and minds your pitch deck better be structured in the form of a narrative presentation.

Why? Because humans think in stories, and this applies to investors too.

To get investors interested and get them to care, your pitch deck must follow a story framework that conveys all the necessary information, but in a way that’s fun and easy to follow. AKA a narrative deck.


Recommended pitch deck storyline format:

Team slide example

1) Unique Value Proposition

  • What do you solve?
  • For whom?
  • What differentiates you?


2) Big idea (elevator pitch)

  • What is the world like before your solution?
  • What is the world like after your solution?
  • Why are you uniquely positioned to succeed?
  • Why now?


3) Problem

  • What pain points are prospects experiencing?
  • What are the financial and emotional costs?
  • What shortcomings do the current solutions have?


4) Solution

  • What do you usually do?
  • How does your solution solve people's pain?
  • What's uniquely valuable in your solution?


5) Market & Vision

  • What's the competitive landscape like?
  • How do you intend to disrupt it?
  • Why now?
  • How is it all measured in numbers?

6) Business plan (hard numbers)

  • How are you going to make money?
  • How are you going to scale your business?
  • How can you do it better with more money?


7) Traction

  • Do you have clients?
  • Do you have revenue?
  • What's your growth rate? Fast enough?
  • What's your churn rate? Leaky bucket?
  • What are your realistic future projections?


8) Team

  1. Do you have the skills and experience to succeed?
  2. Do you work well together?
  3. Why is your team the only one for the job?


9) The ask

  • How much funding do you need?
  • Why is it the time to invest now (or never)?
  • What do you plan to do with the money?


10) Next step

  • What (small) commitment do you ask for?
  • How can the reader take action?
  • What happens if they fail to act now?

What makes a good pitch deck?

A good pitch deck, in the eyes of investors, gets straight to the point.

Be clear and upfront about what you bring to the table and why your investors should care.

You should back up any claims you make with hard data and wrap it all up in a captivating narrative.

An effective pitch deck should showcase deep knowledge of your industry and market, but deliver it in simple terms that any person with only basic knowledge of your industry will understand.

Michael Wolfe, a startup founder, entrepreneur, and investor says any good pitch deck should have a straightforward format to it. He says:


“The best pitch decks portray:

  • This is what we are doing.

  • This is how we are going to do it.

  • We can do it better if we get some money in.

  • This thing is going to happen with or without you.

  • Are you in or are you out?”

- Michael Wolfe, a startup founder, entrepreneur, and investor.

What makes a bad pitch deck?

A bad pitch deck is simply a pitch deck that gets rejected. It’s an unfortunate truth that 99% of pitch decks are therefore bad.

The main reason for failure is not successfully standing out, but other reasons can be unattractive design, confusing messaging, or being irrelevant to a particular investment program.


Reasons your current pitch deck is bad

(And you may not even know it)

  • Your deck looks like it was designed by your 1st-grade teacher (or you have no design)

  • Your pitch deck HAS a beautiful design but it looks like all the rest

  • Your deck is filled to the brim with text

  • Your deck does not have original graphics supporting your text

  • Your pitch deck content goes too deep into technical stuff that investors don’t care about

  • Your deck messaging has any of these faults: it’s too long, convoluted, complex, inconsistent, misleading, fantastical, antagonistic, overly emotional, or reveals ignorance

  • Your pitch deck is irrelevant to the target investors or not made according to their specifications

  • Your deck is dry as a biscuit and does not tell a compelling story

NOTE: Using PowerPoint to create your pitch deck means putting the fate of your business in the hands of 35-year-old technology that has barely evolved since its inception.

If you want to stand out in a sea of competitors, you should always use a dedicated pitch deck creator.

Grab a template - skip the theory and get to work

I like to hear myself talk, but not everyone does (just ask my wife).

So if you don’t care about the bits and bytes of building each pitch deck slide to perfection just grab one of our pitch deck templates.

All our customizable templates apply the insights and best practices I’m about to share with you, so don’t worry about knowing why it works, just be confident that it does.

Grab a template and get to work.

No templates found

How to make a pitch deck that gets noticed and gets funded

Now’s the interesting part!

Let’s cover pitch deck best practices and the theory behind it. I’ll let you in on what goes into making a top 1% pitch deck. We’ll break it down into each critical slide and see what it looks like in practice.

NOTE: My advise for you here is based on insights and conclusions from real-world trials and our extensive data from over 100,000 pitch deck reading sessions.

11 slides to include in your pitch deck

  1. Title slide (visual hook)
  2. Introduction (UVP + textual hook)
  3. Problem (suffered by your audience)
  4. Solution (you have that no one else does)
  5. Market size and opportunity (why now?)
  6. Business and revenue model (and their projected evolution over time)
  7. Traction and validation
  8. Marketing/growth strategy
  9. Team (authority & experience)
  10. Financials
  11. Investment and use of funds (the ask)

1) Title slide

The title slide is like the cover of a book, a YouTube video thumbnail, or an SEO page title, it’s the first thing the investor sees and it’s your very first impression.

The title is the single most important piece of your pitch deck.

It can pull investors in, or scare them away. But most often it just bores them to death.

It’s very hard to make a pitch deck title slide that stands out and grabs attention.

But here’s what our data shows will help you nail it:


Add subtle (non-distracting) movement

Movement helps to anchor the eye, it grabs attention and points it to where you want it to go.
Direct attention to the title text by adding movement that goes towards the title text and not away from it.

Make sure the movement does not distract from the text, it can’t be too fast or too big so that it can’t be ignored.

Make sure the movement does not make your title text hard to read like placing the the text on top of a video.


Show your product in action

Showing your product makes you unique and specific, which is the opposite of generic (the enemy of all pitch decks).

Include a video that shows how your product works, and how people happily interact with it.

Or add a high-res image of your product showing a central feature.


Make your title text a short version of your UVP

The title text is your “Open sesame!”. If you say what investors are looking for, the door will open.

And what are they looking for? A clear statement of what you’re about. It should be a short version of your UVP in 16 words or less.

You can add a tagline to get in there some extra dazzle. But make it short.


Here’s a title slide example for Airbnb:

How to make a pitch deck title slide

2) Introduction

Based on our research, it takes investors just 10-20 seconds to decide if they want to read your pitch further.

The main slide they go to to access your pitch is your introduction or overview slide.

Consider this slide your executive summary. This means it needs to be a snapshot of the entire deck in one slide.

Here’s how it’s done…


Offer your unique value proposition

Describe what you offer that no one else does. Preferably something that no one else can (or investors will ask why bigger competitors won’t just rip you off).

Your customer value proposition should describe who your offer is for and what needs it satisfies.

Make it short and make it simple.


Provide a short overview of your product or service

Your overview should be easily understandable even to investors who aren’t familiar with your industry or technology.

However, since an overview can involve a lot of text, which often becomes cumbersome, I recommend using a text to video AI tool to transform these descriptions into more engaging video content.

A video can’t overflow the space it is given, and it’s visual and auditory, and hence more engaging.


Here’s an example of what an introduction slide by DropBox:

How to build a pitch deck introduction slide

3) The problem

In this section of your pitch deck, you should point out a gap in your target market and explain how your solution aims to bridge that gap.


The main questions investors will ask you:

  • Is the problem you solve critical enough for people to pay for it?

  • Is it so critical that they would pay any price?

  • Is it commonplace enough to have a sufficient market for large growth?

The best way to go about this is by wrapping it up in a relatable user story.

The user story should describe some of the common pain points your target customers are experiencing and why it’s critical to solve them.

Show the necessity of your solution in the marketplace in a way that makes it impossible for investors to imagine a world without it.


Here's an example problem slide for Netflix:

how to create a pitch deck problem sl

4) Your solution

Once you’ve identified the main problems you aim to solve, it’s time to dive deeper into what it is your solution actually does and how customers use it to change their lives for the better.

Remember that investors are particularly busy people and they usually don’t care about the technical specifications.

Don’t make them work hard. Keep things simple and easy to grasp.

Simplify:

  • Write clear and short (avoid walls of text). Stick to one-liners as much as posible.
  • Support your statements with visuals, such as product demos or interface screenshots.
  • Present your solution as simple digestible chunks. Break a process into stages, complex tech into fundamental components, and a user journey into steps.


Here's an example solution slide for Tinder:

how to make a pitch deck solution slide

5) Market size and opportunity

This is where you go into detail about your target market potential and where you position yourself within that market.

Don’t downplay the importance of this slide.

Your assessment will inform a potential investor’s decision about whether your startup has what it takes to earn them money.

A carelessly prepared evaluation of your market size and opportunity will reflect on your perceived professionalism and aptitude.


What’s the competitive landscape like:

  • How many competitors are there?

  • What is the likelihood of your company succeeding in this landscape?

  • How much money is there to be made?

  • Is your business idea innovative enough to break into the market?

  • How has your industry evolved over time? Is there any further growth potential?

Your data should be easy to digest, persuasive, and (preferably) beautifully designed.

You can achieve this by using charts, graphs, and infographics to visualize the data.


Here’s an example of a market opportunity slide for WeWork:

Team slide example

6) Business and revenue model

Now that you showed investors how much money you can make out of your product or service, it’s time to provide details of how you’re going to arrive at these numbers.


Outline your main revenue model

Where will the money come from? Will most of it come from active revenue streams (a one-time fee or a subscription to use your solution), passive ones (advertisements and affiliate revenue), or will it be a combination of both?


Elaborate on your positioning in the market

Is it a premium solution for the high-end market? Or, does your competitive advantage lie in a more affordable offer?

If your company has tiered pricing, make sure to present the different pricing plans and explain the main differences between them.

If you have already validated your revenue streams prior to pitching to investors, you’re already at an advantage.

Present the results of your market tests that show customers are willing to pay your price in order to minimize the fear of risk in potential investors.


Below are 2 examples of a revenue model slides for YouTube and Netflix:

how to create a pitch deck business model slide
how to build a pitch deck revenue model slide

7) Traction and validation

In this part, you need to support your business model with numbers.


Present any milestones you have already achieved

Show the critical milestones you’ve attained. It can be anything from your profit margin or the number of sales to the number of return customers. At this point, anything that shows regular growth will work to your advantage.


Follow up with a roadmap of the milestones

What are you planning to achieve next with the help of the investors’ money?


Here’s an example of a traction and validation slide for Uber:

how to make a pitch deck

8) Marketing strategy

Presenting a detailed marketing strategy will prove to investors that you have at least one growth engine in place and that you have a clear way forward for growth.

If you're unsure of how to best tackle this next part, it's worth reaching out to a certified business mentor.


Main questions the marketing slide should answer:

  • What marketing channels are you going to use to get new customers?

  • Why are these particular channels most suitable for your business?

  • Will you focus your efforts on online acquisition, such as pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and social media marketing, or offline acquisition, such as print advertising, events, and B2B partnerships?

  • What’s the approximate cost of acquisition and anticipated Return on Investment?

  • How is your marketing strategy different from what your competition is already doing?


Here’s an example of a marketing strategy slide:

how to make a pitch deck marketing strategy slide

The example shows a great way to cover all the talking points without overloading investors with information. It uses tabs to encourage interaction and progressively expose information as the reader requires it.

Tabs are great. We know from our data that they increase the chances your deck being read in full by 41%.

9) Team

Even the best business will fail without the right people leading it. Investors know this all too well.

The best idea in the world is no use to them if the people involved can’t carry it out.

That’s why you should dedicate a separate team slide to describe your organizational structure and the key members of your team.

Investors will want to know your team’s experience and skills in order to gauge your chances for success.

Just, don’t make the mistake of including their entire life history. Under each team member’s photo, include a short bio-style description listing the main skills and achievements that will be crucial in scaling your business.


Here’s an example of a team slide:

how to make a pitch deck team slide

10) Financials

Before any potential investor throws money at your venture, they will need to assess the financial health of your company.

In order for them to do that, you will need to provide at least 3 years of projections, including an income statement, sales forecast, and cash flow forecast.


Investors mainly want to check 2 things:

  1. If your venture is headed in the right direction.

  2. And if you can make reasonable predictions regarding sales, revenue, and cash flow.

Investors have been in it long enough to smell hockey stick projections from a mile away. Be ambitious, yet realistic. Don’t promise investors more than you can actually deliver.


Here’s an example of a financials slide:

create a pitch deck financial slide

11) Investment and use of funds

This is where you ask for money.

You wouldn’t believe how many startup founders get so preoccupied with crafting the perfect pitch deck that they forget to ask for money. Sounds surreal, I know, but it’s true.

Make it clear how much money you need to turn your vision into reality.

On top of that, investors are going to want to know how you’re going to spend their funds.

Explain why their money is crucial to scaling your company fast and back it up with concrete projections.

Add a percentage breakdown of how you’re planning to allocate these funds, along with the main milestones these investments will help you achieve.

This will help investors understand how their money is going to create value.

create a pitch deck investment request slide

How to measure the effectiveness of your pitch deck?

If you're overconfident like me, you know everything you make is pure gold. But I urge you to resist this gut feeling and let data be the judge.

But how do you measure your deck is as effective as you think?

You can’t. Not if you’re using PowerPoint or the likes of it.

However, Storydoc (and tools like it) makes this possible for you. Storydoc decks come with an out-of-the-box pitch deck analytics dashboard that gives you instant metrics after you click send.

You don’t have to guess anymore what investors are doing on your deck.

Using our data you know exactly how far down investors scrolled, which slides they read with intent and which they skipped over, what tab they clicked, which video they viewed, and how long, who they shared the deck with, and a lot more.

All that’s left for you to do is analyze the performance data, AB test, and apply improvements until your deck is as effective as it can be, and you’re on the fast track to get funded.

how to track a pitch deck

Note: to get a great first pitch deck version you can run it by this immensely useful AI-powered pitch deck review tool by Haje Jan Kamps. It’ll help you verify that you're headed in the right direction.

I tested it out. It's really thorough. The report I got from the tool is added below.

Chasi Agency pitch deck
Amotz Harari, Head of Marketing

I lead a team of marketing gentlemen and women dedicated to eradicating Death-by-PowerPoint wherever it lurks. Our mission is to enable decision-making by removing the affliction of bad content from the inboxes of businesses and individuals worldwide.

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