The ten most vital components of a startup pitch deck, backed by VCs, angel buyers, and different specialists — with actual examples from founders

The 10 most important elements of a startup pitch deck, backed by VCs, angel investors, and other experts — with real examples from founders

  • Allison Byers, CEO of Scroobious, a brand new video-pitching platform for entrepreneurs, shared with Enterprise Insider the ten most vital components of a startup pitch deck.
  • She collected these components from tons of of pitch deck iterations and shows and ran them by a big community of buyers to get their insights.
  • A great pitch deck ought to begin with a concise mission assertion or origin story, define an issue, and provide a transparent resolution.
  • Again up your proposal with market sizing, aggressive evaluation, and go-to-market and buyer acquisition methods. 
  • Buyers will wish to know extra about you, so be sure that to insert slides that element your background and your workforce’s experience and finish with a thanks and your contact data.
  • Go to Enterprise Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

What do buyers wish to see in startup pitch decks? For founders searching for funding for his or her corporations, that is the million-dollar (or multimillion-dollar) query. 

And it is one Allison Byers, CEO of Scroobious, a brand new video pitching-platform for entrepreneurs, has got down to reply — for herself and for her neighborhood of startup founders.

After years of gathering private pitching expertise — first because the copresident and director of startup medical system firm Digital Cognition Applied sciences (DCT), the place she efficiently helped elevate $9.6 million for the corporate, and later by conducting market analysis on pitching and interviewing early-stage buyers as groundwork for her present startup — Byers got here up with 10 components buyers wish to see lined in pitch decks.

pitch deck - Allison Byers

Byers’ checklist of the ten most vital components in a pitch deck.

Allison Byers

“This was the results of tons of of pitch deck iterations and a minimum of 100 pitch shows,” Byers advised Enterprise Insider. She then put this checklist in entrance of dozens of buyers, together with angel, VC, non-public fairness, and household workplace buyers, asking if the slides lined what they wished to see.

“The varied set of buyers I spoke with overwhelmingly supported this construction, and whereas no deck will make everybody joyful, I imagine these are the core components to fulfill most,” she stated.

Here is a breakdown of the ten key components, with visible examples from actual pitch decks.

1. A mission, imaginative and prescient, or origin story

One of the best mission statements are easy and take the guesswork out of what it’s precisely the startup does. These first few slides are additionally a fantastic place to share the corporate’s origin story — the rationale for creating the corporate, a private connection to an issue, and the founder’s experience.

“How would you clarify what your organization does to a 3rd grader?” Byers stated. “Use that language in your slide and in your presentation.”

Testing out a possible mission assertion on family and friends and asking them to explain what your organization does can even assist. Most definitely, they’re going to restate your mission in even less complicated phrases. If they do not, they had been doubtless so confused by what you stated they tuned out if you had been speaking.

An ideal instance of a robust mission assertion comes from collaborating Scroobious beta founder Demetri Harrison, founder and CEO of on-demand haircut and styling firm Tunsure.

Tunsure Before

An earlier model of Tunsure’s mission assertion.

Demetri Harrison

Tunsure After (1)

Tunsure’s present mission assertion.

Demetri Harrison

“He had crafted a imaginative and prescient assertion in a format he thought buyers wished to see, nevertheless it was generalized and did not convey the foundation of his imaginative and prescient for his firm,” Byers stated. “We received to the guts of his origin story and put his mission in language anybody can perceive and relate to.”

2. The issue

Founders have the unenviable job of convincing buyers the issue they’re seeking to remedy is actual and must be addressed ASAP.

To do this, Byers recommended quantifying the issue when it comes to {dollars} or different figures. 

As with the mission assertion, these ache factors should be addressed in plain language that is accessible to the common particular person.

“It will also be good to phrase the issue when it comes to the chance it presents,” Byers stated.

Take the next instance from one other beta member, Malinda Coler, founder and CEO of on-line studying and training platform LessonsUp.

LessonUp Before

An earlier model of LessonsUp’s downside assertion.

Malinda Coler

LessonsUp After

LessonsUp’s present downside assertion.

Malinda Coler

“We modified the textual content to easy sentences that many individuals will personally relate to and added a statistic that calls out the issue in an acute means,” Byers stated.

She cautioned that an excessive amount of information will be overwhelming to potential buyers, so placing a steadiness is essential.

Scroobious Before

An earlier model of Scroobious’ downside assertion.

Allison Byers

“I struggled with this myself,” Byers stated. “There’s a mountain of knowledge highlighting each the funding hole for various founders and likewise the chance that exists for buyers to fund an undervalued asset class.”

“I used to be presenting a lot information that it dampened the impression,” she added.

Scroobious After

Scroobious’ present downside assertion.

Allison Byers

“Pairing a strong assertion with a single supporting information level attracts extra consideration,” she stated.

3. The answer you provide 

As soon as founders nail describing the issue, the answer they provide has to tie again to the ache factors introduced. This slide is an effective place to incorporate screenshots or illustrations that visually clarify what your organization provides.

“Do not make the investor do the work of tying your narrative collectively,” Byers stated.

“Most individuals, buyers included, aren’t accustomed to your {industry} or terminology and sometimes will not ask if it is assumed they need to already know what one thing means,” she added. “Write out acronyms and simplify your language, even should you’re coping with difficult science or know-how.”

Whereas the examples of the earlier than and after Byers shared from beta member Joel Francois, cofounder and CEO of offline advertising engagement platform Helius Energy, look related, there’s one key distinction. 

“We added highly effective header statements all through his deck for a robust narrative that creates a steady move amongst his sections,” she stated. “This headline assertion instantly follows the earlier slide that outlines the issue.”

Helius Power Before

An earlier model of Helius Energy’s resolution slide.

Joel Francois

Helius Power After

Helius Energy’s present resolution slide.

Joel Francois

4. The enterprise mannequin and the way you may earn a living 

Right here, founders have to elucidate who their prospects are and the way they plan to monetize their enterprise. If there are a number of buyer sorts, executives might want to plan what every group will probably be charged.

“Buyers wish to know that you simply perceive your major income sources and the cash-flow implications of your corporation mannequin,” Byers stated. She beneficial that founders organize their enterprise mannequin slides earlier than their market dimension slides.

“Buyers want the context of the way you earn a living and what your common income per buyer is to know the place your market dimension numbers come from,” she stated.

5. The market dimension 

It is a slide many founders typically overlook — and in the event that they do put one thing collectively, it typically misses the mark.

Byers stated that many take a “top-down strategy,” corresponding to, “The cosmetics market is $X billions. If we seize simply X%, it is a $X billion alternative.”

“This is not convincing to buyers and it is not specific to your corporation,” she stated.

As an alternative, startups ought to deal with a “bottom-up” strategy to market sizing. This implies doing the next:

  • Outline what the entire addressable market is in a means that is related and concludes there is a sufficiently big viewers for a return on funding.
  • Present an estimate of the sizes of the “serviceable” market — that’s, individuals who will be reached — and “obtainable” market — that’s, individuals who will be satisfied to develop into prospects — which ought to information the corporate’s focus for the subsequent 12 to 18 months.

Market Size Terminology

These are the three market dimension calculations buyers are in search of, per Scroobious.

Allison Byers

6. The competitors 

How your organization’s providing stands out in comparison with choices already out there within the market — that is what a contest slide ought to have the ability to convey, at a look. 

Per Scroobious, a competitor “matrix” ought to:

  • Embrace details about the founder’s startup within the first column, adopted by 4 to 5 of probably the most related opponents within the subsequent columns
  • Record the tangible advantages of every firm for the client so that they’re clear to non-industry audiences

Byers shared the next competitor slide from Anna Western, founder and CEO of the visible bookmarking software Prism.

Prism Competitor Matrix

Prism’s competitor matrix.

Anna Western

“Her competitor decisions talk the place she sees her product within the current panorama and her buyer advantages are distinct and simple to know,” Byers stated.

7. An evidence of why your organization is required now 

Buyers wish to know the way founders can instantly handle the wants and realities that exist as a consequence of COVID-19 and the associated financial and social circumstances which have resulted, Byers stated.

“Emphasize how your resolution is accelerated by the world at the moment, however not outlined or depending on it,” she stated. “We live by surreal instances, however at the moment’s restrictions aren’t everlasting.”

Byers shared a slide from a Scroobious beta member, Quinn Wang, founder and CEO of Quadrant Eye, an organization that gives distant eye exams, that communicates how her firm is addressing an issue brought on by the pandemic whereas additionally demonstrating the way it can keep related in the long run.

Quadrant Eye Why Now

Quadrant Eye’s “Why now?” slide.

Quinn Wang

This portion of the deck can be a fantastic place to share any proof of idea or momentum, Byers stated.

8. The go-to-market and buyer acquisition technique

Founders do not profit from itemizing generic advertising techniques, corresponding to social media advertisements, partnerships, or word-of-mouth advertising — however there’s additionally no must go too deep into the weeds and illustrate what your advertising spend will probably be per channel, Byers stated. 

The objective as an alternative ought to be to current the particular, related channels which are distinctive to your corporation.

For example of this, Byers pointed to monetary modeling platform MRGN’s go-to-market slides from their pitch deck.


Go-to-market instance from MRGN.



Go-to-market instance from MRGN.


“Understand that your promoting technique ought to align with the lifetime worth of your buyer,” she stated. “In case your prospects have a excessive common income potential, increased price channels like strategic partnerships make sense. In case your prospects have a low common income, your acquisition prices additionally should be low.”

9. Staff and founder match 

The sooner stage the startup is in, the larger the wager buyers are taking up the founding management workforce to take the monetary backing and ship on the said mission with a return on funding.

“You should persuade an investor that they need to belief you with their cash,” Byers stated. “You might have described your origin story initially of your presentation, however that is your probability to state why you and your workforce are the precise folks to be constructing your resolution to the issue.”

The CEO beneficial making use of bullets that get straight to the purpose and spotlight key expertise. She recommended addressing the next questions:

  • What information and abilities have you ever developed that make you a match for the duty? 
  • How are you supplementing what it’s a must to provide with different workforce members or advisors?

Scroobious Team

Scroobious’ workforce match.

Allison Byers

“Make sure to talk your information or connection to the customers of your resolution in addition to your ability set,” Byers stated. “That is significantly vital for underrepresented founders, whose options would possibly serve segments the place buyers haven’t got the first-hand expertise.”

10. A thanks along with your contact data

You have made it to the tip of your pitch deck. Now what? Easy: Embrace a thanks be aware, contact data, and any applicable social media handles.

Scroobious Thank You

Scroobious’ closing slide.

Allison Byers

“When you’re presenting, be honest if you thank the buyers,” Byers stated. “The significance of your ardour and authenticity cannot be overstated.”

Finally, founders are the specialists of their very own companies, not buyers. And a successful deck comes all the way down to not simply merely addressing what the investor desires to listen to, however delivering a “key worth proposition,” she stated.

“Telling your story in a means that’s genuine and significant to you’ll at all times win over making an attempt to inform the story you suppose another person desires to listen to,” Byers added.

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