Top 10 Tips: How to Build a Pitch Deck

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A pitch deck can make or break you and your startup’s ability to get funding, but making a good pitch deck is easier than you might think. Two things you have to remember are that you are telling a story and you have to keep it as simple and visual as possible.

If you still do not have a completed product, you can read more about how to develop one effectively here. Go ahead I’ll wait; good product development will help you in developing your deck.

Now, follow these steps on how to design each of your slides and you will be well on your way to telling a great story. At the end of this article, you'll find more resources for building great decks as well as a Cards-Against-Humanity-esque pitch deck game. 

1. Cover

This will be the first thing people see and can be either the easiest or hardest slide for you. Its components are simple, but meaningful: name, logo, and tagline.

Your tagline should be a short and simple 5 to 7-word sentence that can summarize what your startup does in an impactful and memorable way. Your audience should be able to generally understand what your company does with just this slide.

2. Problem.

Before talking about what you do, establish why you do it. Create a connection with the audience. Make three simple problem statements, and highlight your key words/phrases. Someone skimming your slide should be able to clearly see the problems you are addressing summarized in those three key words/phrases.

3. Solution.

Now this is your time to shine! After stating your problems and all hope seems lost, you come in and show how you are the solution. Summarize your solution into three key words/phrases, your core value propositions. Talk about the benefits, not the features of your offering. No one wants to invest in features.

3. Market Validation.

Data is key. Show investors that people would actually purchase your product/service. Reference a company in your space, or similar space, to give investors a real idea of your market opportunity. Do not be afraid to utilize the success of your competitors to your advantage.

4. Market Size.

Data is still key. Alright, so people will use your product. Now how many of these people are there? Show the size of your opportunity and provide third party proof of this. Go further and project and/or report your success so far.

5. Product.

Seeing is believing. Finally, show and tell investors what you do. Reserve this slide for your core functionality not all functionality. Keep it simple, define what you do in 3 to 4-words (if any at all) and utilize pictures and graphics. Show customer experiences, the market, the users, the platform, etc.

A pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement.
— Guy Kawasaki

6. Business Model.

This is what it all comes down to. Simplify and summarize how you make money and how your company creates value into a single line. Go even further and touch on the potential your company has in the future by providing a simple projection.

7. Adoption Strategy.

How are you getting to your customers? Summarize 2 to 3 core customer acquisition strategies (utilize your key partners). Ultimately, this needs to be better, more scalable, and more profitable than your competitors.

8. Competition.

Where do you stand against competitors? Use visuals! Create a 2-axis diagram to define the two core differentiators of your startup, and use this to compare against competition. This keeps the focus on you and can show how you are literally on top.

9. Team.

This is where you show off those pretty faces. Keep your team slide to only your founding members and focus on their competencies and experience more than education and titles. An investor wants to be able to see that you are competent and experienced, not just well educated.

10. Ask.

What do you need? If you ask for money, have financials and a timeframe to support what you are asking for and why. You could, and should, also ask for mentorship, board members, advisors, business connections, and/or anything else that they could potentially provide you with.

At the end of the day, how you decide to present your company is all on you. None of this is set in stone. Except, if you follow this, then you should not have any problems.

Just remember, tell your story, keep it simple, and know it well.


Check out other successful startup’s pitch decks and emulate them. You can find a legendary list of 30 great pitch decks here.

We found the pitch perfect holiday gift for startups:

Pitch Deck, a game about making ridiculous, creative pitches for objectively bad startup ideas.  Kickstart it here . 

Pitch Deck, a game about making ridiculous, creative pitches for objectively bad startup ideas. Kickstart it here

amanda eakinSputnik ATX