What is a Pitch Deck & What Makes It Fundable (+Examples)

Learn about the definition of a pitch deck, what it includes, types of pitch decks. Get examples, templates, and tools to make a good winning pitch deck.

what is a pitch deck

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Short answer

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a presentation showcasing your plan for a new business to investors or VC funds. Pitch decks are used for in-person presentations or as reading material. The purpose of a pitch deck is to convince investors to fund your endeavor.

A good pitch deck should include a clear definition of the problem you tackle, your unique solution, a compelling business model, and a go-to-market strategy.

What does a pitch deck look like?

There are many ways to put together a pitch deck, but most pitch decks will pretty much look the same - a 10-20 slides presentation with brand colors and visuals depicting atmosphere, a product or data.

Yet to stand out you have to do things differently.

Below is an example of what an outstanding deck looks like - a modern web story with multimedia and interactive content.

Why 99% of pitch decks fail

Pitch decks can feel intimidating because so much depends on this single document (especially if it's your first one).

Even if you’re not intimidated (good for you!) and you’re a true magician when pitching your business idea face-to-face, some investors nowadays ask for your deck by email as a preliminary step before they ever bring you into their office to meet them.

The challenge is making a self-sufficient deck that brings your idea and enthusiasm to life without your in-person help.

In this article, you’ll learn all there is to know about pitch decks, what they’re used for, who needs them, and how to make your own world-class deck as well as the effort and resources it will require.

By the end of this article, you’ll have critical information for success that 99% of your peers don’t have.

What is the purpose of using a pitch deck?

The main purpose of a pitch deck is to pique the interest of potential investors. The main challenge of a pitch deck is NOT getting investor buy-in, but rather avoiding being disqualified right then and there.

It’s a common mistake to think that a pitch deck is supposed to persuade investors to invest in your startup, project, or business idea, but in reality that’s still a ways away. You have to be considered for evaluation first.

Every investor or VC has their own investment criteria, and since investors are drowned by people asking for their money they are looking to disqualify you based on those criteria.

In the words of Gordon Miller, an entrepreneur and investor, “Investors aren’t looking to say “Yes”, they are looking to say “No.””

Who needs a pitch deck?

Pitch decks are used by startup founders or entrepreneurs to seek funding for their business ventures by showing high growth potential and a strategy for scaling their business (fast).

Who does NOT need a pitch deck?

1) You do not need a pitch deck if you don’t yet have any of the following planned out in detail:

  • A business model

  • Market analysis

  • Competitive analysis

  • Costs of building your business

  • A growth plan

  • A GTM (go-to-market) strategy

If you don’t have all of the above then no investor will take you, so don’t bother.

2) You don’t need a pitch deck if your business is too specific so that you have to hand-pick a handful of very particular investors. In that case, you should talk to them and prepare a document tailored to their specification.

3) You don’t need a pitch deck if you can fund your business on your own, whether through your own capital or because your business is already generating revenue (any money you take from investors will dilute your holdings in your company).

4) If you’re looking to close business deals and acquire new clients. Then you need a sales pitch deck or a product pitch deck, not to be confused with a pitch deck for investors.

What does a pitch deck include?

Some investors can be very particular about the pitch deck structure that they expect to see. Whenever possible, you should clarify the outline with potential investors and build your pitch deck accordingly.

That said, there are still some basic slides that are to be expected by most investors and VCs.

10 basic slides 99% of investors will require from you:

  1. Introduction

  2. The problem

  3. Your solution

  4. Market size and opportunity

  5. Business and revenue model

  6. Traction and validation

  7. Marketing strategy

  8. Team (authority, experience, and skills)

  9. Financials

  10. Investment and use of funds

For more information on this go read our post on the the nitty gritty details of what to include in a pitch deck.

Here's our recommended pitch deck storyline:

Team slide example

What types of pitch decks are there?

  1. Intro pitch deck: This is the initial investor deck you send to grab the interest of potential investors and secure a meeting.
  2. First meeting pitch deck: This is a detailed presentation for your first face-to-face with investors.
  3. Post-meeting pitch deck: This company overview deck includes in brief the main points covered in the meeting with investors with a focus on the interests and concerns investors voiced in the meeting.
  4. Subsequent meeting pitch decks: As discussions progress, your deck might need to evolve to address deeper questions and provide more detailed data. These pitch decks may include decks like Market research, Product roadmap, Marketing plan, Sales plan, and others.

You should know - there are many pitch deck types for different industries and use cases. You can find everything we have below.

Pitch deck sub-types (customizable templates)

Pitch deck type
See more

Seed pitch deck VS Series A/B/C pitch deck

The seed pitch deck is the deck you present to investors when you’re looking to secure your first-ever round of funding.

A seed pitch deck is typically short and focused on presenting your business's grand vision and big idea. It attempts to answer “why an investor should be interested in what you have to offer?”.

A Series A/B/C pitch deck needs to be more financially heavy than a seed pitch deck since at this point you have been running your business for over a year.

A series pitch deck should include your current financial results and proof of traction, and conclude with ambitious yet realistic financial projections and milestones.

If in doubt, you can always reach out to a startup coach to help guide you through the process.

Static vs. interactive pitch deck

The main difference between static and interactive decks is that static decks follow the traditional format of text-based slides accompanied by images, while interactive decks enable you to create engaging multimedia content.

Another difference is that you can only insert old-school links or image links in static decks, whereas interactive decks allow you to embed lead-gen tools, including calendars, to get readers to book that next meeting straight from the deck.

Airbnb's static deck vs an interactive remake of the same deck:

Static Airbnb pitch deck
Interactive Storydoc remake

Is a pitch deck the same as an investor deck?

Pitch deck and investor deck are terms sometimes used interchangeably. The term “pitch deck” in this context is used to describe a brief document containing basic information about your company and introducing your vision to someone with no prior knowledge of it.

The term “investor deck” is used to describe a more detailed deck with an in-depth analysis of your unique value proposition, market opportunity, and go-to-market strategy.

When in doubt, it can be beneficial to ask potential investors what they expect to see at any stage of the investment process.

Is a pitch deck the same as a sales deck?

The main 2 differences between a pitch deck and a sales deck are their purpose and audience. The purpose of a pitch deck is to convince potential investors that your company is worth funding by promising them the desired return on their investment (ROI).

The purpose of a sales deck is to get prospects to become paying customers of your company by presenting how it’s going to change their lives for the better.

If you want to expand your knowledge you can read our posts on how to create a sales deck that makes you irresistible to buyers, or check out some Unique Sales Deck Examples that Outsell the Rest.

Is a pitch deck the same as a marketing deck?

A pitch deck is a document used to gain investor buy-in during a funding round, whereas a marketing deck is an umbrella term that can mean a host of different things depending on the context it’s used:

  • A marketing pitch deck is a presentation shown externally to potential investors by founders of marketing agencies in the hopes of getting the necessary funding.

  • A marketing sales deck is a presentation shown externally to prospective clients of marketing agencies in order to educate them about your offering and close deals.

  • An internal marketing deck can be shown internally to the general managers and business owners, or to stakeholders to demonstrate a company’s marketing or advertising efforts and present key metrics.

How do you build a pitch deck?

In order to build a successful pitch deck, the design of your presentation needs to be as important as its contents.

There are 4 best practices that can make all the difference between whether an investor gets all the way down or bounces after the first slide:

1) Don’t overload investors with information

I know this sounds like a total cliché, but less is genuinely more when it comes to pitch decks. If you need an entire wall of text to get your point across, perhaps it’s not as clear as you were hoping.

Narrow it down to a couple of bullet points and skip that 5th table to show investors that you value your time.

2) Always personalize your decks.

Investors can smell generic from a mile away. Even if it’s the 100th deck you’re sending out this week, they need to feel like you crafted it specifically for them. By including a personal note, you can get 68% more people to read your deck in full.

3) Stay consistent

When your deck looks like you just haphazardly threw together a bunch of slides from different presentations you had on your disc, it doesn’t bode well.

Certain presentation makers, such as Storydoc, will auto-extract your branding information and automatically apply it to all slides.

You can keep your slides consistent by ensuring that the color combination, brand logos, fonts, spacing, and more retain the same format throughout your pitch deck.

4) Visualize your data

If investors need to make sense of your data to decide whether or not your business is a good fit for them, they’re not going to bother reading.

Instead, make the decision process easier for them by visualizing hard data with the help of charts and graphs.

Team slide example

Can I design a pitch deck myself or do I need to hire a professional?

You can absolutely design a pitch deck yourself using pitch deck designer tool like Storydoc on the market. If you already have a designer in-house, you can also get them to design your pitch deck.

If, however, there’s even the slightest chance your pitch deck could end up looking like it was created for a high school project, you may be better off letting a professional handle it.

When investors see a poorly designed deck, they’re already predisposed to disliking your entire presentation. Your chances of shaking that bad first impression are close to none.

How much does it cost to make a pitch deck?

Creating a pitch deck on your own depends on the tool or set of tools you use to create it:

  • Google Slides is free

  • PowerPoint is free with a Microsoft Office license

  • Canva Pro subscription costs $12.99 per month; the Basic version is free.

  • Pitch.com subscription costs $8 per member per month when billed annually, the Starter plan is free.

  • Storydoc subscription costs $40 per seat per month

You may also need design tools like Adobe Photoshop or Figma, which also come at a price.

Hiring a professional designer to create your pitch deck would cost around $100 per hour. The number of hours depends on your needs and the number of iterations you’ll require, but could take anywhere from 3-8 hours.

What is the best software for creating a pitch deck?

There are 3 different types of tools available on the market for creating a pitch deck:

1) Legacy tools

Such as PowerPoint or Google Slides, that allow you to create traditional slideshow presentations. They have limited integration and customization options, and typically follow pre-designed patterns.

2) Mid-way tools

Such as Pitch, Canva, and Visme, which come with a wide variety of templates to choose from and customize.

These are more aesthetically pleasing than your average PPT, but don’t offer anything truly new in terms of features.

3) Dedicated pitch deck creators

Such as Storydoc, that provide next-gen interactive templates optimized for engagement, conversions, and performance.

They let you design on autopilot, as well as customize and personalize your decks at scale. You can also include smart CTAs to get investors to book that next meeting straight away.

For more information, check out our ultimate list of the best presentation software.

storydoc pitch deck software

Where can I see examples of pitch decks?

You can find the best pitch deck examples in this post with all the pitch deck examples worth taking inspiration from. The best part is that you can simply take any example on the page and use it as a template for your own pitch deck.

Where can I find pitch deck templates?

If you have itchy hands and can’t wait to start creating your pitch deck, I highly advise that you visit Storydoc’s pitch deck templates gallery.

These templates go way beyond looking pretty—they have been optimized for engaging investors regardless of whether they view your deck on desktop or their phone in-between meetings.

Just pick a templates from the gallery below.

No templates found
Amotz Harari, Head of Marketing

I lead Storydoc's 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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