Ultimately, the answer to “How to create a pitch deck?” can be broken into four parts:
- What is a pitch deck?
- How can I create a pitch deck?
- What software should I use to create my pitch deck?
- What are the key slides to include in my pitch deck?
1. What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a short presentation that delivers a quick but thorough overview of your company: from mission/vision & target market to traction & business model. Most pitch decks are created for a specific audience such as angel investors, venture capitalists, customers, or even business partners.
Pitch decks are an entrepreneur’s primary communication tool to contact potential investors — whether via email, or during in-person meetings. The best pitch decks can serve as both a “presenter” deck (meant to accompany an oral pitch) and a “reader deck” (which investors can read and understand on their own).
2. How can I create a pitch deck?
Creating a solid pitch deck that persuades your audience is a challenging task. There are three general choices to build a successful pitch deck:
- Do it yourself: As a startup founder, you know your business better than anyone else, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can tell the story the best. Being embedded in the day-to-day operations makes it challenging for most founders to get to the “birds-eye view” that is required for an investor presentation.An investor (former Goldman Sachs partner) once told me: “if you imagine your startup as Disneyland, [the founder] is always too caught up in explaining the newest ride rather than the entire theme park.”However, if you feel confident in your abilities, all you need is a presentation tool such as PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, Canva, or Figma to create your pitch deck from scratch!
Regardless of the software you choose, always make sure you can export your deck to PDF (so you can easily share via email without formatting discrepancies or dependencies).
- Download a template: Pitch deck templates are an excellent alternative to hiring an expert (which typically costs thousands of dollars) so you can design a professional investor presentation for a fraction of the cost.That said, you should not just buy some generic presentation template created by a designer with no fundraising experience: not all templates are created equal.Whether you use an industry-specific pitch deck template or one of the proven frameworks (ie. Y-Combinator, Sequoia Capital, or Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule), you should always choose a purpose-built (rather than generic) template.
- Hire an expert: Many startups choose to work with a pitch deck expert to create their investor presentation. Not only do you get the benefit of third-party fundraising expertise, but they also offer a low-noise, outsider’s view of your startup, which is why consultants are often better than founders at summarizing what a startup does. Founders often slip into the pitfalls of over-explaining their technology or feature set & neglecting the overall opportunity and ROI.While you should be cautious about paying too much for a pitch deck (I’ve seen rates as high as $10k per deck), you should also ensure that whoever you hire has the right experience to take your deck to the next level.A good pitch deck is usually between 10 – 15 slides at least (20 at-most). At a rate of ~$50-100 per slide, that comes to around $1–2k for a pitch deck.
Often, working with an individual pitch deck expert rather than an agency can give you better results: if you’re hiring a cheap, outsourced service or a faceless agency, you’re likely paying for a junior designer (fresh out-of-college) who has never pitched something themselves before — you’d be better off designing the pitch deck yourself.
It’s only worth outsourcing your deck to experts with a track record of success: ie. marquee logos, testimonials, and portfolio examples.
3. What is the software used to create pitch decks?
There are a variety of different options for creating pitch decks: ranging from the usual culprits (ie. PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides), to the more exotic options like Canva & Figma.
- PowerPoint: Microsoft’s PowerPoint is one of those staples, go-to software tools people use to develop slide-based presentations like pitch decks. You can create versatile slides and styles. The biggest benefit of PowerPoint is their built-in themes which allow you to quickly apply your custom branding for fonts and colors.
- Keynote: An excellent pitch deck Keynote presentation helps you create a gripping narrative. Keynote has different ways to add animations, pictures, and transitions. Keynote lacks PowerPoint’s powerful theming features, but it is still preferred by many Mac/Apple users.
- Figma: Figma is a free tool used primarily by UI/UX designers for application design. However, with their growing community & plugins, Figma has become a tool preferred by many designers for a wide variety of vector artwork. Check out our pitch deck template designed to be edited in Figma: use the built-in component feature to easily to add & bulk edit repeating elements throughout your presentation.
- Canva: The story of Canva’s very-own pitch deck and their growth to billions is incredible in itself. Add your content, drag-n-drop photos, and modify fonts/colors with just a few clicks in Canva. Virtually anyone can design an exquisite presentation with Canva, especially if you use a template like this!
Most pitch decks have ten to fifteen slides, each of which plays a crucial role in the presentation:
- Cover Slide: The ideal title slide should include the company name, logo, and a catchy tagline.
- Problem Slide: Describe the problem or pain points that your solution addresses
- Solution Slide: Focus on how your product or service benefits the customer and solve the pain points.
- Market Slide: Analyze the present market condition with metrics and trends, as well as the target audience of your product/service.
- Competition Slide: Discuss what makes your offering unique and superior to existing/incumbent solutions.
- Traction Slide: Showcase the success and experience of your business with metrics, charts, logos, etc.
- Business Model Slide: Break down your business plan & revenue streams to show how your business earns money.
- Team Slide: Highlights the details and experience of the team members of your company.
- Financials Slide: Describes the present and future growth of the company quantitatively, including budget details, revenue projections, and annual cash flow.
- Ask Slide: Explains the reasons for seeking investment, funding requirements, and what you plan to do with that money over time.
- Contact Slide: Includes a call-to-action and contact details (ie. phone, website, and social media) so prospects can reach out to you for next steps quickly.
Every pitch demands a unique approach tailored to its audience. Build your dream pitch decks with various templates and capture the investors quickly. It’s always a good idea to look at successful pitch deck examples in your space when designing your investor presentation.