Pitch Deck Guide

Problem Slide

Learn how to build a winning problem slide for your pitch deck with this step-by-step guide.

β€œI never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent…”

β€” Thomas Edison

Entrepreneurial problem solving is the process of bridging the gap by resolving societal, business, or technology issues by pioneering innovative solutions. A true entrepreneur can envision an opportunity gap to find the difference between what is and what could be.

Some founders may choose to lead with an opportunity slide (instead of the problem slide) for products and services that don’t necessarily solve a problem, but instead focus on developing something new (ie. real estate projects, hospitality and entertainment products)

If you want to build the next big startup, you must solve a widely shared, high-cost pain point with an effective solution. A compelling and relatable problem slide is the lynchpin of a winning pitch deck. Investors are most enthused about finding startups that address undervalued market opportunities and solve big problems.

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How to create a problem slide for your pitch deck

Follow along with this brief guide for what you should include in your pitch deck’s problem slide:

Pitch Deck Guide: Contents of Great Slides

1. Content of the problem slide

  • 1-2 sentence, easy-to-grasp description of the problem you solve
  • Be sure to include who this problem affects (target users)
  • (Optional) shortlist of the key pain points
  • Any relevant statistics to showcase the prevalence of said problem
Pitch Deck Guide: Key Questions to Address for Great Slides

2. Questions the problem slide should address

  • What is the problem or opportunity your startup addresses?
  • Who does it affect? Is this a big enough problem to be worth solving?
  • Why does this problem exist?
  • How do people currently (attempt to) solve this problem?
Pitch Deck Guide: Common Mistakes to Avoid

3. Common problem slide blunders

  • Explaining the problem in terms that are hard to understand or relate to
  • Using jargon or technical terms where simple words would suffice
  • Addressing a problem or opportunity that is too small
  • Solving a problem that users don’t already spend money to solve
  • Jumping ahead to the solution or target users
Pitch Deck Guide: Design Tips for Great Slides

4. Design tips for problem slides

  • Use no more than <250 characters text
  • Choose clear, readable fonts and colors
  • Avoid jargon and replace with simple terms (ELI5: explain like I’m five)
  • Keep it concise & to-the-point (see Guy Kawasaki‘s 10/20/30 rule)
Inspiration from the experts

Example pitch deck problem slides from Airbnb, Uber, Copy.ai & more

The best problem slides explain a relatable and widespread problem in terms that anyone could understand. This slide should convey a deep understanding of your customers pain points and how existing solutions fail.

The key is to present the problem in a way your audience can easily relate to & understand. Everything should be explained in the simplest possible term. Using visuals such as infographics to spotlight data points that convey your message is a fantastic approach.

Most problem slides focus around a brief one-sentence statement that describes the key problem the startup solves. Below are some examples of winning problem slides from pitch decks for household names like Airbnb, Uber, and Sequoia Capital:

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