Pitch Deck Template

We unpack what makes the perfect pitch deck to present to investors, with a free downloadable template for you to use to create your own.

Pitch Deck Template

September 7, 2021

You've come up with a great idea, researched how to create your product or service and forged ahead with launching a startup. The next stage for many new founders is to start raising money through fundraising to help their business grow. But how do you go about it?

Investment isn't something that is easy to secure. Whether your potential investors are friends and family, banks and loan companies, angel investors or venture capital firms, no one is going to give you their hard-earned money unless they believe in you and your business. Crucially, they also need to think they stand a good chance of making a return on their investment.

Some investors will see and hear hundreds of different pitches every year. That's why if you get an opportunity you have to grab their attention. It's no good rambling on for hours or presenting a 100-page business plan as an investor will quickly lose interest. They want to see the main highlights and quickly decide if your idea shows promise. So how do you stand out from the crowd?

The answer is to create a pitch deck. It tells the story of you, your business and why you are worth the investment. In this article, we'll look at what a pitch deck is, how to design it and what you should include. We've also included a free template to help get you started with creating your own!

What is a pitch deck?

A startup pitch deck is a visual presentation used by startups to provide potential investors with key details about their company, product and performance. The presentation usually consists of 10-20 slides, with each slide focusing on a different topic. What you include is down to your personal choice but most pitch decks usually focus on why their product solves a problem, advantages over competitors, and ultimately, why they are worth investing in.

Think of your business pitch deck as a cross between a short story and an elevator pitch. You only want to include the details that are absolutely essential and you want to do so in a way that an audience or a reader has no trouble understanding. You might use your pitch deck to email out to interested parties in the hope of securing a meeting or as a visual accompaniment to a presentation. Whichever way you plan to use it, the pitch deck shouldn't leave an investor in doubt about what you do, what your product does, and why you are the right business to invest in.

How to design a pitch deck

There are lots of resources available for designing a pitch deck: some paid and some free. Depending on the size of your budget you can pay a specialist digital software company to produce a one-off design or sign up for a subscription to a site like Slidebean or Visme to use their own templates and designs.

There are benefits to using paid software to create your template – for instance, there are often more designs and customisable options – but it's not essential. 

Tools such as Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to create basic, easy to use slides. There are also sites such as Canva that have a number of free templates that you can use, with the option to customise the layout and deck design. Our free pitch deck template also gives the perfect starting point for creating your own pitch deck.

Unless you are pitching an idea for a graphic design business, investors aren't going to expect an all-singing, all-dancing pitch deck. What you have to say is still more important than how you say it. That being said, there are some rules to creating a great pitch deck that you should follow.

Tell a story

What's interesting about your business? Is it the product, the team you've put together or the career background you've had? 

Writing down a list of facts and figures or creating a series of graphs isn't going to compel someone to invest. In fact, it's going to leave them feeling cold.

Incorporate your passion for the business, how it started and why it matters to you.

Make it legible

How many times have you sat in a presentation and struggled to read anything on the screen?  When designing your pitch deck ask yourself if:

  • The text is large enough to read
  • The background and text colour doesn't clash or absorb one or the other
  • The font is easy to understand
  • The paragraphs are not too text-heavy – in this case, you might want to consider using bullet points

This doesn't just apply to a pitch deck you'll be using as part of a face to face meeting either. If you email a pitch deck out to investors and they are struggling to understand what they are supposed to be looking at, then they will just give up.

Use of graphs and charts

Is a picture worth a thousand words? In the right context, it can be. Images, infographics and even screenshots, if used correctly, are really useful to quickly drive home a point or convey some more information that would take too long to explain. However, it's only useful if your audience understands what it is. If it doesn't help make your point; it isn't worth including.

If you are using charts and graphs, be sure to include headings, labels and axis titles. And don't make them overly complicated. If you are using a graph to show your projected revenue, all you need to include is the timeline on one axis and revenue on the other. The information will do the talking – especially if the line is moving in an upward trajectory!

An investor doesn't want to spend any more time than is needed making sense of your pitch. The easier you can make it for them, the more involved they are going to be. 

Terminology

It almost goes without saying that you know your business inside and out. You will have spent countless hours refining your idea, analysing the market and evaluating your competitors. However, just because you know what you are talking about, don't assume that everyone else does. 

It's fine to use technical terms relating to your niche product or industry, as long as you explain what they mean. Throwing lots of acronyms around or using terminology that only you understand risks misleading your reader or making them feel just plain stupid.

What to include in a pitch deck?

There isn't a hard and fast rule about what you can include. If you look at examples of pitch decks used by global companies and businesses, you will find that all of them are slightly different. Some are longer than 20 slides, some are shorter than 10 and some have different sections completely.

That being said, there are some core slides and topics that you will want to spend more time on. 

We've limited our list to 12 slides that covers all of the key points you'll want to make when presenting your pitch to investors. It also helps to keep your pitch concise and to the point. Even in a short presentation, no one is going to be able to remember everything that you discuss. That's why it's to showcase the parts that matter. 

You do have the option of adding more slides or swapping the order around, but make sure they have a good flow. Starting with a slide about the solution to a problem you haven't explained, or focusing on investment before you've set out who you are and what you do is just going to confuse people.

Here are the 12 slides we use in our templates.

1. Company information

Start with a brief overview of your business, telling your reader or audience who you are and what you do. Include your company name, logo and contact information.

2. Problem

Chances are you came up with the idea for your startup because there was a gap in the market or the product or service you wanted to use just didn't exist. 

Explain to your audience what problem you are solving and why it is important.

3. Solution

Write out your business's value proposition on this slide. How does your product or service solve the problem? What does it do that nothing else on the market can achieve? 

4. Product

The purpose of this slide is more than just simply re-stating the 'solution' from the earlier section. You need to detail:

  • What your product does
  • How it works
  • What the key features are, including your pricing model
  • What future improvements (if any) do you have in the pipeline

If you have any images of your product or even a short video clip of it in use, then this is where to add it. 

5. Market Opportunity

Focus on your product's market size and how you plan to tap into it. It's important that you don't just pluck these figures out of thin air. Attach credible sources and market trends to back up your key metrics.

6. Competition

Who else offers a solution to the problem you have identified? Even in the most niche of industries, you are going to have at least one or two competitors. 

7. Competitive Advantages

You could rephrase this title as 'why you should invest in me and not a competitor'. Focus on what makes you or your company different.  

Do you have a team of highly qualified individuals? Can your product do something that nothing else on the market is capable of?

8. Traction

This is a measure of what growth you have since your launched your business idea. You might not yet have any customers but you should still be able to provide an investor with an expectation of the demand for your product. 

9. Business Model

Investors are going to pay special attention to this part of the presentation. They want to know what revenue you are forecasting and what the level of sales will look like in the future months and years. 

10. Investment

What level of investment do you already have and who has invested? If you have already secured funding from other sources, then make sure you list it here. Investors are encouraged by others individuals and companies that have backed a likely winner. 

You will also need to list what investment you are looking for and what you plan to do with it. It doesn't have to be an extensive spreadsheet of itemised categories, but you do need to set out a general plan. 

11. Meet the team

Unless you are launching this venture on your own, you will have a team of people who are going to be involved. 

Provide some background on all of the key individuals (including you). What are your and your team's experience and expertise? Why is this business going to be a success?

12. Thank you 

Treat this as a closing summary; possibly including a key message or brand tagline. You also want to make sure you've listed your contact details and company information again in case investors want to get in touch with you.

You might think this sounds like a lot of effort but it really can make the difference between launching a successful business and struggling for months or years with a lack of investment. Taking the time to make the best pitch deck you can will help to secure meetings and wow investors at presentations.

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Aaron Shaw

A full stack software engineer and designer by trade, Aaron has built a range of compelling web and mobile solutions for both small startups and large corporations across the globe, including the likes of Google, Red Bull and Unilever.