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What is a Pitch Deck Presentation: A complete presentation guide with examples

What is a pitch deck?

A. pitch deck is usually a 10-20 slide presentation that contains a brief summary of your company, your business plan and your startup vision. A pitch presentation deck also serves very different purposes, from trying to get a meeting with a new investor to presenting to a stage, and each of them should follow a different structure.

A presentation for a demo day For example, it should be very visual and contain little text. She will be seen from afar and you will do all the talking. On the other hand, one pitch presentation that you want to send by e-mail should be completely self-explanatory. It will be seen on a laptop monitor, so a small font isn't too bad.

In these cases it is also very useful to follow your investor's activity on the presentation to find out if he has actually read the slides 100%; this can be crucial in determining the frequency of follow-up emails. In our case, that was key to raising our final round of funding. A number of pitch deck platforms offer this as a function.

What should be included in a pitch presentation?

A number of writers, venture capitalists, startup founders, and evangelists have created different versions of what they see as necessary elements for successful pitching presentations. Most of them agree on the following:

  1. problem
  2. solution
  3. product
  4. Market size
  5. Business model
  6. Underlying magic
  7. competition
  8. Better / different
  9. Marketing plan
  10. team
  11. Traction / milestones
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What is a pitch deck template?

A. pitch deck template is a stock version of a company pitch that was previously outlined with slide content that can be customized by the user at will.

A good pitch deck template should contain the key areas of your business plan. It should be versatile so that you can share or download your presentation to a variety of audiences, ranging from investors to actual customers online. We have described pitch deck variants if you later want to delve deeper into the various pitch deck versions.

For the purpose of this article, we've reviewed the contents of the following most popular and well-known pitch deck templates:


Guy Kawasaki is a renowned presentation evangelist. He was an advisor to Google's Motorola Business Unit and Apple's chief evangelist. BOOM!

Kawasaki is very strict about the number of slides, he emphasizes that it should be 10 slides. We don't necessarily agree with this because you probably want 20 nice and clean slides versus 10 cluttered slides, but hey, he's the expert.

Its presentation structure looks something like this:

  1. title
  2. Problem / opportunity
  3. Value offer
  4. Underlying magic
  5. Business model
  6. Go-to-market plan
  7. Competitive analysis
  8. Management team
  9. Financial forecasts and key figures
  10. Current status, achievements so far, schedule and use of funds >> (really, everything in one slide?)

What we agree with is the overall structure and storytelling of the deck. See, it is organic to start with the problem you are solving, move on to the solution, talk about how you are going to do it, and why you are THE best person for it.

Download this template


500 startups is a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator headquartered in Silicon Valley and over $ 350M AUM.

This template is great for first contacting investors. If they ask to see your pitch deck presentation, this is the template to send. The outline of the presentation mainly focuses on your startup's growth metrics and traction.

These are 500 startups recommended slides:

  1. problem
  2. solution
  3. product
  4. Market size
  5. Business model
  6. Underlying magic
  7. competition
  8. Better / different
  9. Marketing plan
  10. team
  11. Traction / milestones

You can see the full list of presentation templates here, along with their comments and recommendations.

Download this template


Sequoia Capital is one of the best-known venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. They specialize in investing in private companies in the incubation, seed, start-up, early and growth phases. It also invests in public and private companies from all sectors.

If you haven't heard from them, you've probably heard of the companies that funded them ... these include Dropbox, Yik Yak, Airbnb, Evernote, KAYAK, Stripe, and Youtube. Anyway, you can say they know their way around.

This is the template they offer:

  1. problem
  2. solution
  3. Why now?
  4. Market size
  5. competition
  6. product
  7. Business model
  8. team
  9. Board of Directors / Advisory Boards
  10. Finances
  11. Fundraising
Download this template


NextView Ventures is a venture capital company that specializes in investing in seed, start-up and early-stage companies and invests in software, consumer and business-oriented technology companies and internet companies.

According to David Beisel from NVV; Typically, your pitching process with a VC firm starts with raising a seed round with a small number of meetings with just one or two team members - or you pitch angel investors individually. In these contexts, it is much less likely that you will want to stand up and "pitch" a deck. Usually, a more human interaction works better. You introduce yourself, talk about why you started your business, and then go into the details.

This is a summary of their slides. As David mentioned, this deck is great for investor meetings rather than pre-meeting emails:

  1. short version
  2. problem
  3. solution
  4. Marketing plan
  5. Market size
  6. Traction
  7. Fundraising
  8. team
  9. competition
  10. Use of the funds
  11. Underlying magic
  12. Testimonials from users
  13. Finances
  14. Business model
  15. Market validation

Download this template


The Airbnb original deck from 2009 has become an increasingly popular reference for business owners around the world. Company founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk used this pitch presentation deck to raise $ 600,000 from Sequoia Capital and Y Ventures. Since then, the company has grown into a giant in the travel industry, closing a funding round in early 2015 valued at over $ 20 billion.

Originally restored from a 2011 talk by Blecharczyk at Startup Bootcamp in Boston, we got a look at the exact slides they used in their original fundraising for pitch investors. The deck has been incredibly successful in summarizing the company's vision and the huge market opportunity it had before it.

Related Read: Airbnb pitch deck: teardown and redesign

These are the slides:

  1. problem
  2. solution
  3. Market validation
  4. Market size
  5. product
  6. Business model
  7. Marketing plan
  8. competition
  9. Competitive advantage
  10. team
  11. Press
  12. Testimonials from users
  13. Fundraising

Read about it:Pitch Deck Examples of Successful Startups


Let's look at the diagram again.

The most important findings:

  • All authors agree that the slides "Problem", " Solution", "Business model", " Competition", " Team" and "Fundraising" must be on your deck, making them the most important slides of your presentation.
  • Almost as important, 4 authors believe that Market validation, market size, go-to-market plan, traction / use of funds should also have their own slide.
  • Less popular, press reports / user reports and executive summary do not seem to be mandatory fields.

The ideal pitch presentation structure


The first two slides on your deck should be stunning to make sure you grab your audience's attention for the rest of the presentation. They should include your company name, a "hero picture" of your startup, and your elevator pitch or tagline. This text should be a 5-7 words long description Your product or service should be just enough to understand what your company is doing. Don't get greedy!

Also, choose a product image that really reflects and explains what your company is doing. Hero images often show a person who is actively using your product / service.


In the Problem slide on deck you should make sure that you can summarize the problem in 1-4 bullet points. If your investor can understand the problem you are describing, they will empathize with your product sooner which is great!

Next comes this solutionwhich of course is your product; On this slide you want to show the 3 most important advantages of your service.

The Slide "Market Size "Finally, it should refer to the actual addressable market for your company and give an estimate of what percentage of the market you intend to dominate.


This is an important slide in your deck. The business model should be very clear, so make sure you outline it in as few words as possible.


Recognizing the competition is good because it shows your investor that you are in control and that you have strategies in mind to beat them. Your Slide "Proprietary Technology "Should relate to your unfair advantages, intellectual property, technologies, and innovations that are unique to your business. List on the." "Competition" slide Your main competitors and point out their weaknesses.

The Slide "Marketing Plan "Another key element of any presentation is to outline your long-term customer acquisition strategies and answer the question," How do you plan to make millions of dollars in sales? "


Talk about your core team and let your investor know that you have all the skills to take your business to the next milestone. Remember that the combination of hackers, hustlers, hipsters is always ideal.

Unless your mentors are like Guy Kawasaki, you shouldn't be wasting a lot of time / space on them.


This should be the killer foil in your deck! The bigger and steeper the graph, the better. So be sure to choose your most relevant metric and state it here. In every pitch deck, the traction makes the difference!

"In every pitch deck, traction makes all the difference!

Basic storytelling

The best way to think about your pitch deck outline is to apply the three-act structure used in storytelling. Each act explains critical aspects of your value proposition so that you can build enough interest in the moment you sell your product / service.

Here is a brief overview of how to plan your presentation outline (your presentation trip deck, so to speak). As you can see, the outline allows you to organize your content in a logical way.

Related Read: Presentation storytelling


You have to establish the status quo and convince people that there is a problem that needs to be solved. There's only a narrow window of time to get people's attention from the start, so the intro of your pitch is crucial.


You get the chance to develop your story. This is when you work out what your solution is and why you and your team are the ones to make sure it gets implemented. This is the time to excite your audience and make them believe in your company. A startup deck has to be filled with mind-boggling numbers from the minute you step on the stage to the moment you step off the stage. The most successful decks are not based on visions and promises alone, but rather on traction and numbers that prove that you are undoubtedly up to something great! Keep this in mind throughout your presentation.


This is the moment the van moves in "Inception" touches the water. This is the moment when everything you've built on reaches its climax and you can do "The Ask". This can range from revealing your tiered pricing to announcing a sexy partnership with a big player in your market. This is when your audience needs to say “Shut up and take my money!” So ​​make sure you deliver.

After that, you'll get back down to earth, summarize your key metrics, and remind your audience who you are (i.e. startup name + one-liner).

Demo Day: Pitching your startup in 3 minutes

By the time you're reading this, you're probably halfway through a startup accelerator getting your deck ready for your demo day. I have a lot of experience with demo days, have participated in quite a few and pitched my companies from DreamIt Ventures in NY to 500 startups in Silicon Valley.

From Startup Chile to Y Combinator Demo Day, the format seems to be a standard everywhere: 10-30 companies pitching on stage in front of an audience of investors. Of course, it can be difficult to stand out from 29 companies of the same value and be remembered when pitching next to them.

Three minutes is a short time to say everything you want to say about your company. So where do you start?

Important guidelines to follow


Ideas excite investors and judges. You may hate it or love it, but the success of a good idea is still in the stars and depends entirely on how you do it. Even if they love an idea, they can't say for sure if you will be able to pull it off. In the past I tried to raise money for an idea and failed.

Well metrics are, oh, metrics are startup Viagra! Metrics are often indicative of a well-executed idea with a confirmed target market and great growth potential. For this reason, metrics should be on your first few slides.


Great design has become an essential part of any presentation deck. A deck is probably the first look people get at your product, so make sure you impress them from the start. (Good presentation software or pitch deck design service can help).


Your Demo Day is just the beginning. Make sure you prepare your strategy to get the most out of the exposure this event will bring you. You may find these tips from Andrew Ackerman (Managing Partner at DreamIt Ventures) very useful when talking to investors.

  • Do not forget, Your website url and your `s Twitter handle Mention at least a couple of times during the presentation. If you can get them to tweet about you, you will be exposed to thousands of potential users or investors with similar profiles and interests.
  • Keep a copy of your deck in the cloud and keep it up to date.
  • Do your best to get some press. (Here's how we managed to get featured on Techcrunch)

How do you create a pitch deck presentation for Demo Day? (500 startups style)

My approach to presentations has always had a lot to do with storytelling: telling a good and engaging story that makes an impression on the audience, both in their minds and in their hearts. This is now combined with input from the 500 Startups Team as we went through the program (especially from our great mentor Bob Neivert). You want to tell a compelling, exciting, and hopefully understandable story that your investors will get into, but in the end it all boils down to the metric.

Depending on the stage of your company, you may or may not have metrics to show, and if we all had perfect metrics, we wouldn't need to raise any money, right?

Here are some basic guidelines to follow. You can see how our pitch came about on the video at the bottom of the page. You might also want to check out the article on the best pitch decks from our Demo Day in 500 Startups.


At the start of your pitch presentation, you have about 5 seconds to get investors to pay you attention through the rest of your deck. This is especially true for pitch competitions and demo day events and less so for one-on-one meetings (unless the investor you meet is a real sucker). The point is that investors are busy people and if you don't get their attention they will go back to their phones or laptops and just pay no attention to you.

“You want to start with a question. People's brains are programmed to answer questions when they hear them, and this is often used as a starting line.


How long does it normally take you to create a presentation? "Was my question for the 500 Startups Demo Day, followed by a short break.

Be careful, rhetorical or overly complex questions will be perceived as annoying. Also, make sure that the audience you are speaking to is actually relating to the question you are asking. Finally, if you are presenting to a small audience, make sure your timing doesn't imply that you are actually expecting them to respond, this will only create an awkward silence.

Your question should be followed by a tagline for your product. Finding taglines is difficult (and your investor tagline could be very different from your website copy!), So be sure to test it out on random strangers who have no idea what your business is. That sounds crazy, but it's true.

You need to find 4-7 words that will grab your attention on the spot. Our example would be 'Slidebean automatically designs slides based on your content'.


The next 30 seconds are crucial. A good 5 second intro will get you an additional 30 seconds of attention, and that's when you want to highlight your greatest traction performance yet, and what performance is better than sales?

In 500 startups, founders usually name two of the following milestones. Start from the top and only go down if you don't have any metrics on that point.

  1. Annual run rate based on your ACTUAL sales for the last month. No forecasts.
  2. Month-to-month revenue growth, or MRR growth if you are a subscription business.
  3. Cost per user acquisition vs. LTV.
  4. Total user base (if it's a significant number).
  5. Month to month growth in user base.

Contrary to what you might be led to believe, an active user base doesn't excite investors (unless it's in the millions), so be sure to focus on generating income, even if it isn't scalable. Hustle is good!


Next, let's talk about your actual business. I am sure that this will be very easy for you, after all, you should fully understand the problem you are trying to solve and, even more, how your product can change the status quo.

Make sure you point out how many people are suffering from the problem and, if possible, try to tell a story that resonates with your audience, whether it be investors, other startups, etc. . acts.

"Jeff is the CEO of a New York-based startup called PhoneHorse. When he prepares his monthly investor update, he has to send his presentation to a freelance designer at oDesk, which costs a few hundred dollars and has a turnaround time of a few days." .

Storytelling tends to have a much better effect on people than just random chatter. Go to a solution ...

"PhoneHorse switched to Slidebean 3 months ago, it saved them hundreds of dollars in freelance fees and saved Jeff hours of work. He can now share his presentation directly on the web and update it at the end of the week without resubmitting it have to".

It is extremely important (I love that word, "extremely") to talk about your product in terms of uses rather than functions. A benefit helps the user achieve something, avoid pain, make more money ... a feature is something your product does. (When you say our product makes blah blah, you're talking about a feature, not a benefit).


If you keep going, your audience will want to know how you are making money. Explaining a subscription business or commission model is easy, but if you're a B2B2C company you want to make sure your point is made clear. If your model is complex, don't go into too much detail; keep it simple!

Now to the market. I used to pay little to no attention to these slides, but after experiencing 500 startups, I started to appreciate them. Market doesn't just refer to total annual spending in your industry; You also want to show your competition why you are better and why you are going to put them out of business.

Market size also relates to your company's potential valuation. In my experience, I failed to properly point out how much money is being spent in our category, which has led investors to assume the market is too small and therefore never give the company a $ 100 million valuation. $ + could reach. (I'll be sure to announce when it does: D).

Finally, a summary of your acquisition channels is also essential. It's obvious, understandable, and to be expected that you don't have a clear path to growth (you wouldn't be a startup if you had one), but this should be as clear as possible. Unit costs play a major role: How much does it cost you to acquire a customer and what is its LTV? These metrics are the heartbeat of most businesses, make sure they are there.


Now comes the team. Team members who aren't founders tend to be irrelevant here (unless they're rock stars), so don't waste time talking about your team. For short pitches, you should also ignore the board of directors or your advisors. Ultimately, they want to learn about YOU, your co-founders, the team culture and chemistry, how long you've been working together and why you are the best people to make this company you talked about.

Titles that come from Harvard, Stanford or the like are more useful here, it seems. I don't have any of these titles so I can't speak for myself what impact it actually has.


Finally, make sure to bring your audience back to your key milestones. You should have spoken about each of these during your presentation, but it will be useful to brush up on this point. Use the same priority list I mentioned above.

You want to leave a clear call to action. Is it to contact you? Is it to sign up for your product? Is it to talk to you afterwards? Highlight this and make sure this last statement highlights your passion for your business.

I hope this article has been useful to you. Please let me know in the comments below. Go now and get funded!

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