You have a good business idea and would like to realize it? In most cases, new projects fail because of the lack of money. In order to successfully solicit funds from third parties, you need an impeccable presentation of the idea and the team. The “pitch deck” is basically nothing more than a presentation structure that has proven itself in practice. On 10 – 13 slides, you inspire financiers with your overall concept.
Without going into too much detail, you briefly and concisely present the facts, arouse emotions and tell the story of your start-up. Let’s face it: ideas abound. That’s why investors sift through hundreds of applications every month. The pitch deck gives decision makers an overview. Only those who can arouse interest are shortlisted. That makes it all the more important to give your all when putting together the slides!
Cover page of the pitch deck
Looking at the cover page, everyone should immediately know what is behind the overall presentation. It is important to choose a snappy slogan that immediately engages the reader and arouses curiosity. With Airbnb, for example, this was “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” Depending on your taste, you can also include a suitable quote or a very short (!) introduction of the core idea on the cover page. It is also important that you name contact persons and leave contact details. In short: The first slide is a kind of business card that should arouse interest.
About the team and the founders
Experienced investors testify: it makes much more sense to invest in people than in projects! The reason for this is simple. An idea can be as good as it is – if it is not implemented well, it is bound to fail. For this reason, this slide should not be neglected at all. Introduce all key team members and describe what expertise and experience they bring to the table. Especially if you have already helped a start-up to succeed, this can make an impression.
Presentation of the problem
Successful products or services always solve a problem. This slide briefly explains what that problem is. You do not have to limit yourself to a single point. Ask which aspects are particularly interesting for the intended target group. Ideally, only those problems that have not yet been solved by the market should be included on this sheet.
How is the problem solved?
The value of your product lies in the way it solves the problem of the target group. Only because it promises relief, it will be bought. It is important that you do not get bogged down in details when presenting the solution to the problem. People often make the mistake of throwing around technical terms. Remember that you are very deep in the subject matter. The reader of the presentation may not even be familiar with the industry you come from. Therefore, make it as easy as possible for them and explain your concept briefly and in simple language.
Presentation of the product
Here you can be a little more specific and present your product in more detail. This can be in the form of a picture – or you can include a video or link to a website. Also the access to a demo version can promise success, if it is a piece of software. But don’t forget that the first impression is crucial. Therefore, put your product in the best light and make it “tangible” for the reader.
How should the product be marketed?
Investors want to get a quick return on their potential investment. For this reason, you need to explain how the start-up plans to make money quickly. Market studies provide information on the extent to which the product has a chance of establishing itself on the market. Here you should not trick, but honestly explain how you plan to compete. This also includes briefly touching on possible marketing strategies.
What is the unique selling proposition?
One of the best arguments for your idea is the unique selling proposition. There are many different solutions to every problem. What makes your product stand out from all other (possible) competitors? Investors are eager to put their money into unique projects. Where exactly is the added value for your “ideal customer” ?
Presentation of competitors in the pitch deck
If you deny here that there are competitors at all, this is usually not well received! A realistic depiction of the market makes much more sense. How established are competitors? How does the product being presented stand out from the competition? To what extent will one be able to prevail against them? Funders expect a straightforward and convincing argumentation. A positioning cross, for example, can be used as a graphical representation.
Explanation of the business model and forecast
This slide is about concrete figures and well-founded forecasts. Ideally, you have already prepared a financial plan and can now score points. Outline which revenue sources exist and estimate the amount of future sales. Again, it is important not to get carried away. The point is not to derive complicated references to revenue sources and expenses. What are the core data investors need to know?
Proof of concept, testimonials & milestones
In some countries like the U.S., entrepreneurs have a much easier time raising funds. In Germany, VCs are much more conservative and therefore need more “guarantees”. The absolute minimum is therefore the submission of a feasibility study. However, it is better if the business has already been running for some time. On this slide you present customer testimonials and present first revenues.
Capital requirements and call to action
In the best case, the investor will be absolutely thrilled after reading your pitch deck. If not, a good call-to-action can provide the final push. Without digressing, you now explain the amount you have in mind and what the investor can expect in return.
Avoid common mistakes
Nobody is perfect. Nevertheless, the following mistakes can be avoided in order to make the best impression with your pitch deck.
- Missing branding
You should definitely include your “corporate identity” in the graphic design. Nothing is worse than coming up with generic slides. Both font, colors and design should be in line with the brand concept. The only exception is the slide that deals with the problem to be solved. Here you better don’t integrate your logo – to avoid negative associations.
- Inappropriate design
It is always a good idea to have the slides created by a graphic designer. If you want to do the job yourself, you have to consider some basic things. Many make the mistake of choosing a font that is too small. In this case, 28 is recommended. This not only increases readability, but also forces you to keep it short! It is also best to avoid animations and graphic gimmicks that distract from the content.
- Cursory errors
The text should be free of any spelling mistakes. Why should investors choose your company if you already prove that your work is sloppy during the pitch?
How to create a pitch deck?
You basically have two options here. You can either create the slides yourself or hire someone else to do it. Companies like Pitchguru, Slidebean or Unicornpitch offer you their service. The cost per slide is around 30 €. A complete pitch deck costs around 330 €. Especially if you don’t have a graphic designer in your team, this is a good investment in the future of your company.
Or you can sit down at the computer yourself to create the presentation. Using PowerPoint is the obvious choice. Google Slides and Apple Keynotes are also free programs to get passable results. However, Haiku Deck, Prezi, Slidebean, Pitch or Canva (Pro)* offer much more extensive possibilities to create presentations. However, you have to reckon with subscription fees, which range from 10 to 50 € per month.
Pitch Deck: Conclusion
The Pitch Deck is an important tool to put your idea in perspective. However, the core idea behind your product will only become tangible if you follow basic rules. Limit your presentation to basic ideas, the most important facts and proposed solutions. Tell the story of your company and arouse emotions! To leave a lasting impression, however, the pitch deck must be coherently designed and absolutely error-free. If you are not familiar with graphic design, you can get help from a third party. In many cases this may be a good idea. There is no second chance to make a good first impression!