Have you ever wondered what to include in an investor pitch deck and what separates successful pitch decks from those that fail to create even the faintest of ripple?
If yes, you’re at the right place. In this post, we’ll lay down all the things you need to do to hold investors’ attention long enough to show them what your service or product is all about and why they should invest in your venture.
Mind you, there’s no substitute for an awesome product though. You can’t make up for your shortcomings in that department with a sizzling hot pitch deck. That’s just impossible, so don’t even bother.
If you want the investors to fund your project, you need both — a great product or service that’s backed by an impressive pitch deck.
If you’re confident about your product, you’ve got a head start over competition. Because by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what to include in a successful investor pitch deck.
Let’s dive right in.
What’s an Investor Pitch Deck?
In simple words, it’s a presentation of 10-20 slides summarizing the business opportunity that you’re presenting to investors and giving an overview of your company and its business plan.
Get the required tools
There’s more than one way to create a pitch deck. While there are many writing and design software you can leverage, we usually recommend using Power Point to build your pitch deck fast and easy.
You can even download our free investor pitch deck template to get you started right away.
How Many Slides Should A Pitch Deck Have?
There are different viewpoints on this. However, most agree that an investor pitch deck should not be overly long. If you create 10-14 slides, you should be fine. For this post, we’ve used 11 slides though.
However, before we look at the actual slides, let’s look at the main goal of a pitch deck.
Goals For The Investor Pitch Deck
“Money, money, money,” You may well be saying, because after all, you are creating the investor pitch deck to get funds.
That may be so, but the goal of a pitch deck is not to get funding, at least not right away. Rather, it is to convince investors to ask you for the next meeting.
Sounds counterintuitive? Well, here’s a simple explanation.
Say you’re an investor and someone presents to you an awesome pitch deck. The product seems right as the people behind it, but would you be willing to fund the project after just a 20-minute meeting? Of course not. You would want to know more about the project and the team, among other things, before handing a check.
The goal of your pitch deck should be to pique investors’ interests in your company and grant you the next meeting.
How can you achieve this goal?
That’s up next, so continue reading to find out what to include in an investor pitch deck.
11 Slides to Include in Your Investor Pitch Deck
Slide 1 – The Elevator Pitch
In one or two sentences, give the investors an overview of your business, as well as the unique value you will provide to your clients. Remember, you should keep this part — much like the rest of the presentation — simple and short.
Think about it in this way: What would you say if you had to describe your business in a single tweet (140-280 characters) to your parents?
Some companies, especially tech businesses, like to draw a comparison with another famous company in their value proposition. For instance, they may say something like: “We’re OLA for pets.”
This tactic can work, but only if the comparison is relevant. If you use the name of a well-known company only to suggest growth potential, the whole plan may well fall flat on its face.
Slide 2 – The Problem
What problem is your business solving? None? Good luck with your pitch deck then.
Investors are not likely to waste their time on products or services that don’t address any pain points. The reason is simple. If there’s no demand or need, who the heck will you be selling your offering to?
If your product or service does address a challenge, use this section to describe the problem, as well as exactly who has that problem (aka your target market). If you want, you can address the existing solutions available to consumers. However, it’s best not to waste a lot of time on what the competition is doing on this particular slide, since you’ll get a chance to talk about it later.
Needless to say, avoid using technical language. Ideally, use storytelling to describe the challenge your target audience are facing. If you can make the problem real, you’ll have a better chance at getting your message through.
Slide 3 – Target market and opportunity
In this slide, talk about your ideal customer in greater detail. Also, mention the size of your target market, as well as how you plan to position yourself in the market. Ideally, you would include relevant data to show investors not only the scope but also the scale of the problem that you’re addressing.
Depending on your business model, you may want to divide your target market into segments that you’re going to address using different marketing strategies, and perhaps also with a different set of products/services.
One word of caution: Resist the temptation to project your market size bigger than it actually is. Instead of getting impressed, investors may think you haven’t done your homework properly.
For instance, if you are coming up with a new travel mobile app, and you describe “everyone” as your audience, that will look not only unpractical but also unprofessional. It could also mean that your app offers only basic functionalities, since it’s not possible for one app to meet all the demands of all people.
Therefore, be very specific and show investors that you have a targeted and reachable market. The more specific your investor pitch is, the more realistic it will sound and the greater the chance of its impressing potential investors.
Slide 4 – The Solution
Now is the time to dive deep into the product or service you’re offering. Describe how it will address the challenges you mentioned in the second slide.
You may be tempted to show this slide at the beginning, but try not to do that. Instead, use the storytelling technique where you first talk about the problem and show how bad it is, and then finally how your product will solve or improve things by addressing the core of the problem.
Also, some entrepreneurs are so excited about their product that they focus solely on it rather than on the problem the consumers face. We recommend you don’t make that mistake and instead, always focus on the user’s benefit. Moreover, use stories and pictures when describing your solution to get your message across more effectively.
Slide 5 – Business model
How is your product or service going to make money?
This is the main question you must answer in this section. Your answer should be clear and to-the-point.
Tell the potential investors how much you will charge, who pays the bills, and, if required, discuss the competitive landscape. Show the investors how your pricing compares to your competitors’.
Are you offering your product at a lower price to undercut your market rivals and gain a competitive edge?
Do you plan to position your product as a high-end, premium item?
Before you move on to the next slide, provide investors with answers to such questions.
Slide 6 – Traction & Validation
Have you already made some sales? Are there any early adopters using the product? If yes, talk about these topics here.
Investors like it better if you can show them you’ve already proved a few aspects of your business model, since this mitigates their risk to a certain extent. Any proof that your product indeed solves the identified problem can work to your advantage and shorten your path to raise funding. So, if you have any proofs of concept, flaunt them.
You can talk about your major milestones in this slide as well. Outline the goals you have achieved so far and those you are targeting right now.
Slide 7 – Sales and Marketing Strategy
How do you plan to reach out and capture your target market?
What sales channels you will use to win customers?
Answer these questions in this slide. Getting new customers is usually the hardest challenge for a new business, so it’s necessary to show you are on top of things in this area.
In case you plan to follow a sales and marketing process that’s unique to your business niche, describe your go-to-market plan in clear, easy-to-understand language.
Slide 8 – Team
Investors want to know why they should trust you and your team. They want reassurance that they are backing the right people. This slide gives you the chance to impress your potential financial sponsors. Describe your current team members here, who they are, what they have achieved in the past, and what their main role will be in the new venture.
Slide 9 – Key Financials
In this slide, share your high-level financials with the investors. Specifically speaking, outline the sales projection, profit and loss statement, and cash flow projection for the next three to five years.
Since this is your pitch deck, there’s no need for you to give investors in-depth financial information because spreadsheets are not easy to read and understand when shown in a presentation or slides. Therefore, restrict yourself to simple visual charts that demonstrate sales growth, total number of customers, expenses, and profits. If investors are interested, you will have future opportunities to sit with them and dive in your financial spreadsheets.
Slide 10 – Competition
This is where you talk about the competitive landscape and how your business fits into it. Also, demonstrate what advantages you have over your competitors, what sets you apart from the crowd, and why consumers will pick you over others. If you have a “secret sauce” that others don’t, highlight it here.
Slide 11 – Investment
How much money do you need to fund your venture?
This is the slide where you ask for funds. Mention the exact amount, instead of giving a ballpark figure, and explain why you need the amount you’ve stated.
Lastly, demonstrate to investors how you will use the funds. You don’t have to give an account of every dollar you receive, but give a detailed overview of how you will be spending your funds.
Other Slides You May Want To Include In Your Investor Pitch Deck
It’s important to keep the pitch deck simple and short, but sometimes you may want to add a few additional slides to help you make the case. Here are some additional slides commonly found in investor pitch deck presentations.
You want investors’ money, but exactly how do you plan to deliver a return on their investments? You can outline your plan in the “exit strategy” slide. Possible options include inviting in additional round investors, selling the whole business in the medium to long term, or going down the IPO route (Initial Public Offering). In short, show investors how they will get a return on their investment.
Do you have a prototype of your product ready? Then you can use this slide to show investors how your product works. If you are offering an online service, you can use screenshots to show what it does. Demos are extremely useful as they add a tangible aspect to your business pitch.
Does the success of your business rely on a key strategic partnership? For instance, you may need a distribution partner to take your offering to the targeted audience. If that’s the case, describe your strategic partnerships to the investors.
Learning what to include in an investor pitch deck and creating a killer presentation is just the start of your entrepreneurial journey. Delivering an investors’ presentation to a roomful of people can seem a nerve-racking ordeal. After all, all you have is 20 odd minutes to convince investors that your project is worth investing in. If that wasn’t enough, there are scores of entrepreneurs vying the same thing as you.
All the same, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You can impress investors by preparing well and keeping things simple, short, and sweet. Use our simple formula discussed in this post or download our free investor pitch deck template.
And remember, as long as you have a great product or service idea to go along with your awesome investor pitch deck, you are already on the right track.